Naked Women's Racing Blog

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

A Championship Win at the Vail Outlier Offroad

For Cat 1 Racer Melanie Wong Henson Majestic Views Win Out Over Gnarly Roots and Rocks at the Vail Outlier Offroad Festival
When I signed up for the Outlier, I’d been looking for a fun, mellow mountain bike race to finish out my racing season. What I got was a tough-girl’s rough-and-tumble epic that had it all – 25 miles of crushing climbs (4,000+ feet, I was told!), panoramic views, scary hike-a-bikes and some crazy long descending.
The course started with what is essentially an hour-plus long climb up an unused cat track on Vail Mountain called Mill Creek Road. I started out with the group, testing out my legs on the first steeps, worried how my lungs would feel at 8500 feet and up. Good news – I was feeling good, and within the first few minutes, I put a gap between me and the rest of the field. I managed to climb away on MIll Creek Road, but after an hour I was wondering if the climb ever ended. Plus, it was FREEZING!


This climb ended at a point overlooking Mongolia Bowl called Benchmark with views of the Gore Range and Vail Mountain I’d never seen before  – and I lived here for 9 years! I wish I had not been racing and had time to take a photo to show you the majesty of the Gore Range and complete lack of pavement and people up there.

We finally did go down, and I surprised myself with having some balls that I don’t usually have on descents. There was a pretty gnarly hike a bike that surprised me and made me think I was giving away all the hard earned time I’d gained on the climb. We roared through a Back Bowl trail known as Grand Traverse that I love, and I was all grins.

As we descended down the front side, the roots and rocks started getting to me, and my arms began hurting. I tried to focus on looking ahead, letting off the brakes, and not losing that gap I had on everyone else. I was thinking I’d gladly trade my climbing prowess for some descending skills – it’s so much less work!
 I kept my lead, and as I went down the last section of single track, I knew I’d cinched the win for the Cat 1 category. What a fun way to end the season! Thanks to Naked Juice and all our wonderful sponsors for making it possible!