Naked Women's Racing Blog

Race reports, training tips, and our ladies' lives on two wheels.

Ode to Scree

Discover along with Emily Zinn, the true meaning of the word Scree.  

Scree. Screeeeeeeee. Scree, scree, scree. I scree, you scree, we all scree for ice scree. To the windows, to the walls, ah scree scree scree scree scree scree scree. The more you say it, the stranger it sounds. Come to think of it, is scree even the right word? Does scree always come in fields? Does it refer to the type of rock or the way its arranged? Is there a defined critical mass of scree where before it’s reached it doesn’t qualify as a scree field but afterwards it does? If someone asked me to define scree, what would I say?

Some parts of mountain bike racing require extreme focus and presence in every moment to be able to speed through technical challenges and make order out of chaos. Other parts of mountain bike racing don’t, and your mind can wander far, far away.

Scree is crunching and clicking beneath hundreds of cleats as racers who have been bested by Little French Gulch climb prod along in a seemingly endless queue in the Firecracker 50 race on the Fourth of July outside Breckenridge. So far, I’m the only person in sight still on my bike, and having never ridden this course before, I’m certain that means I’m going to clean it. The only trick is making sure people get out of your way, which, despite people’s best intentions, never happens.

And just like that, I’ve joined the march and my mind is free to wander. And wander it does. It’s sort of a funny thing about relays that you and your teammate have a special bond of single-day teammatedom, which is forged despite the fact that you barely see each other the entire day. You’re a part of a team — well, a pair — in a sea of hundreds of other racers, and yet here you are riding alone in a circle in silence, occasionally announcing that you’re passing left or right.

The course delivered many treats and periods of intense focus, as well as some more opportunities to plan my week’s shopping list and fantasize about burritos and other solid foods.

In case you’re wondering, I determined that scree refers to loosely strewn, sidewall-cutting jagged rocks ranging in average size from softball to ultimate-regulation frisbee, spread consistently over a minimum of a quarter mile. The depth of scree must be at least 2’ before hitting soil or bedrock. Feel free to correct me, I haven’t consulted with Siri on my definition, I just contemplated it deeply as my cleats clicked along it.