Category Archives: MTB
Megan R. took 1st place in the Rocky Mountain Endurance series with her win at the Breckenridge 32 race! Read more about the grueling single track in this epically hard (but fun) race.
The days leading up to the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series Breckenridge 100/68/32 the weather was predicting a 40-60% chance of rain for almost the entire day. When I arrived the morning of the race, the sky was clear and welcoming. Checking-in at Carter Park I got to watch some of the amazing people doing the full 100 mile race coming through after finishing their first loop. I was only doing loop 2, for the CX 32 race. Having looked at the maps, I knew 32 really meant ~34 and that I couldn’t start my sprint too early. About 10 minutes before the start I was looking around wondering why I didn’t see other racers lining up to go. Turns out, Carter Park was not the start of the XC race, the Ice Rink a few blocks a way was.
I quickly made my way over to join the other competitors for our mass start. With no time to spare we were off, following our lead car up a windy, nicely paved road. A great warm up, and way to string out the racers. I ended up somewhere mid group as we made our way to the trail, the first climb up to Sallie Barber we rose almost 1000 feet, when things got steep and rocky many racers around me were getting off and walking but I knew if I could stick with it and ride it out I’d save a lot of time, and there wasn’t much room to pass besides. Finding myself in line behind two racers, the three of us ever so slowly rode past others walking up, I knew I could ride faster but didn’t want to risk trying to get around on the big slippery rocks. Towards the summit of our first climb the rider in front pulled off, I looked down at her calf and saw XC 24, my competitor! She was a formidable opponent, I could tell she was very tough and that I would have to work really hard to keep a lead.
The first descent was a rocky wide road with a few switchbacks, most racers took this opportunity to make up time from the climb (including my formidable opponent) but I just kept thinking, I want to finish this race, I don’t want to go over a cliff! Overhearing some people discussing how the 2nd climb is the worst I was eager to see what was in store. It was about 800 vertical feet but less than a mile to get there. So the hike a bike began, not 1 competitor riding up the super steep, very rocky climb to the top of Little French Flume. I could feel the lactic acid in my calves building up as we made our way up the rocks, pushing and pulling our bikes best we could. Upon reaching the top, you could hear a sigh of relief, and a reprieve from the heavy breathing, knowing the downhill and Colorado Trail were within reach. 1 tricky creek crossing later and we were on our way down sweeping single track to the first aid station. I stopped and stuffed as much of a trail mix bar as I could fit into my mouth and hopped back on my bike. The next climb was almost 1200 ft up to West Ridge, but it was over 4 miles and there were many switchbacks to make it more manageable. Every time I would pass a competitor or get passed there were words of encouragement, “keep strong you’re doing great! The Colorado Trail was gorgeous but I kept thinking to myself it was made for hikers not bikers as we made sharp turns and climbed over large tree roots. I was feeling good and half way up the climb I caught sight of the other XC 24 again. I realized we would be playing leap frog, with her tearing down the downhill, and me pushing through the climbs.
The next section was a long descent that was tricky with ziggy zaggying switch backs full of large rocks, and lots of sand. All of the vibration from riding down the rocks was making me feel a little sick, when the trail open up into a huge field with amazing views of the surrounding peaks a large grin crossed my face, it didn’t even crush my spirits that my competitor passed me because I knew we were on the last 12 miles! 1 creek crossing later and I was at aid station 3 where I proceeded to shove down 2 bars knowing I’d need all the energy I could get. The course followed a paved road for about a mile, I kept panicking I had missed an arrow somewhere and was off course but then came the next arrows and two volunteers guiding me to my last climb 800 feet up to Gold Run Road. That was the toughest climb of the ride. I was pedaling as hard as I could, my legs burning, my heart rate at 178 bpm and going 4 mph, ugh! I kept passing racers walking their bikes up, I wanted to get off and do the same so badly but I knew I had to push through if I wanted any chance of winning. I kept my head down and tried only looking at the next 20 10 feet in front of me, when I’d see a bend ahead I’d look up and get hopeful it was almost over, but it wasn’t. The mountain was taunting me over and over and over again, this is it! Nope, still climbing.
Up ahead I saw the other XC 24, we rode together until the downhill where we stayed together until it got technical and she pulled ahead. When we dumped out on to Gold Run Road she had a half mile lead on me. I pushed and turned my pedals over as fast as I could and started regaining ground, able to pass just as we hit the last little climb before berm switchbacks to the finish. I didn’t miss a beat climbing the hill and quickly entering the single track to the final quarter mile. The large berm switchbacks were intimidating but fun and I knew I couldn’t let up. When I crossed the finish line I was ecstatic! That day I earned 1st place in the Breckenridge XC 32 race for the 19-29 but even more awesome I was awarded 1st Place in the Series Overall for the XC 19-29 Woo Hoo!! I was excited to be able to bring this accomplishment to Naked and looked forward to hearing about our other victorious in a weekend with such a large offering of races.
Megan tackled a 44-mile mountain bike race for her first one of the year. Yep-those Naked ladies are tough! Read her recap here.
For a mountain bike race, 44 miles seemed pretty long, particularity for my first race. After missing out on the first 2 Rocky Mountain Endurance races I decided to give PV Derby a go, despite the daunting length. Being all the way out in Elbert county it had to be a nice flat small rolling hills type course right? Wrong! Boy was I in for a surprise, with technical drops, and a couple of narrow rocky descents on the edge of a small gully that dropped down into a creek. There were 2 laps, on lap 1 I found myself alone for most of the journey, I didn’t mind (besides the small paranoia that I was going to be eaten by a mountain lion) knowing that I just needed to keep a steady speed to make it through the distance. The first third of the lap was fairly mellow except for one very technical rocky descent, which was of course where the photographer was, I chose to walk it, realizing when 35+ miles ahead of me, the last thing I needed was to get over confident. When it opened up into prairie grasslands there was an AMAZING view of Pikes Peak, I remember saying “wow!” even though I was the only one who’d hear it. Around 3/4 of the way through the loop was the “aid station” which I decided to pass up (big mistake).
The final leg of the lap was down near the gully with lots of narrow drop offs that made me extremely nervous. I remember coming up on a big rock that I was unsure off, next thing I knew I was still clipped into my bike getting dragged down a (fortunately muddy) side of the hill. My chain-ring caught part of my thigh and I could see blood on it but I knew I was fine. I was overcautious the rest of the lap but kept pace behind another XC racer through the end of the 1st lap. I could feel my body fatiguing and stopped at the aid station only to find they were out of food. The 2nd lap was much slower than the first, my legs did not want to keep turning the pedals over. There was a section of trail with two very tight rocks you could barely get your tire through that I decided not to attempt (good thing!), after I had climbed up and over the rocks another racer came up behind me and pinch flatted, with a loud pop! There were many people throughout that lap whom I saw headed backwards on the course which confused me until I got closer and realized they had flatted. I saw my main competitor about half way through the lap, I tried to keep pace but knew I didn’t have the energy. I stopped at the unmanned aid station and found a builder bar which I quickly ate, but for the next 20 minutes kept wondering if I had chocolate smeared all over my face.
About 10 miles from the end of the lap I came across a herd of cattle, all standing in the trail, making extremely angry cow noises, 2 coming towards me. I quickly turned around thinking I could find another racer behind me and we could get through them together, but 10 minutes later, I was still alone. I approached the location where the cows were and they had moved far enough away I felt comfortable passing once I had my speed up. The rest of the lap was fairly uneventful, except for the looming wall clouds that kept getting closer. I crossed the finish line as they were packing everything up to get it out of storms way and not 5 minutes later it started pouring rain. They cut off all racers they came through who had another lap to finish, but I had just finished my first XC mountain bike race! I placed 2nd in my category, it took me 5 hours 14 min to finish the race, but only 10 min behind 1st place.
I came into this race hoping to beat my time from last year by 30 minutes. With the change of course everyone was running a bit slower, but I was still very happy with my result, surprisingly hearing my name for the podium as my intent was a personal best, rather than placing as 100 mile endurance races are more a test of will and metal fortitude. I rode very well in the the first 40 miles, had some knee issues (had to walk for a few steep sections as I couldn’t turn the pedals – ouch) and then regained my composure on mile 60, took a Tylenol, drank some Naked Mighty Mango and carried on. Found Kristen Lazlo (3rd place pro) and rode with her nearly to the finish. I really enjoyed chatting with and commiserating with another woman on the final stretch. We were both in it together and gave up the competition for camaraderie. A good race and a great result, I am happy to have taken myself to the point where it feels like quitting would be the best thing to do, grit my teeth and continue on.
Why do squirrels, prairie dogs and rabbits love darting in front of your wheel like it’s an evil game? Sometimes they don’t always win as Susan found out last week.
Oh…the hazards of riding. I really do love riding my bike on the road and on the dirt, but I really dislike crashing. We have all been victim to it and the outcome varies. Not to make light of serious situations, but sometimes you have to laugh and move on. I feel like my crash number has been up for the last few weeks by narrowly being hit by car and almost nailing a tree while riding my mountain bike. There have been other things, too; I mean it has come close several times. Whether it was a groundhog or squirrel or bunny, ‘tis the season. And every time it has caused my heart rate has to skyrocket in a manner of seconds.
Well, my number was called this week and not quite the way I was expecting. It was a beautiful day, I had just finished a great workout and we were in a hurry to get home to make dinner. But somebunny had different plans for me; MINUTES from home a bunny, a rather large bunny, sprinted out of the bushes like Usain Bolt. I saw a fur ball out of the corner of my eye. Everything happened so fast; thump, flick, halt and fly. The thump was the bunny hitting my tire, the flick was his body being thrown in my front fork, the halt was his body jammed into my fork/brake and the fly was me performing a well-executed superman (without the cape).
Lying there on the pavement seeing stars, struggling to breathe and my husband runs up to me, asks “are you okay, can you move?”. Just as he bends down to touch me, I shout “don’t touch me”. I needed a minute to evaluate my body: left nipple feels like it’s been ripped off and I can’t take a deep breath (broken ribs??). Then I blurt out “stop my Garmin”, my husband said, “seriously, that is what you are concerned with?” So I must be okay, right? I stand up and start pacing back and forth trying to get over the pain. Nothing appears to be broken and my left nipple, still there (thankfully). In complete shock, I walk over to my bike to see the little mother f@#*$er. Yep, sure enough there he was all tangled up in my bike, blood, guts, and fur all over the place…suddenly dinner doesn’t sound so good anymore.
Megan gave Katie Compton a run for her money at the Beti Bike Bash. She was only 3 seconds off of first! Way to go! All the Naked ladies crushed it at this Women’s Only mountain bike event. Read more here:x
When I saw the start list for the Beti Bash, I was immediately nervous. Among other starters was World class racer Katie Compton,with whom I was mainly familiar with from watching on TV Saturday mornings during ‘cross season. Throw in a few other pros like Teal Stetson-Lee and I was officially intimidated. I like courses with some climbing so a flat, fast course more like a road race made me pretty nervous. At the start I tried to line up toward the back, but my husband, Taylor pushed me to squeeze in off to the left in the second row.
Coming into the race, I had a relatively easy week of riding recovering from the Gunnison Growler and just one moderate paced mid-week ride, but the day prior, I had been on my feet for over 8 hours getting my kids to their end of year school carnival and hanging out there all day. After about five hours in the hot sun, I showered and headed out to a friend’s 40th birthday party, complete with Super Diamond, a nationally-known Neal Diamond cover band. The last time I saw this band was pre-kids at a sold out show at the Fillmore, so now playing our private party, I opted dance the night away to Sweet Caroline and other familiar tunes. After all, cycling is what I do for fun and if I can’t enjoy a date night party then it’s time to reevaluate my priorities! After all this, I certainly didn’t have high expectations for performance the next day, but knew that I would do my best and hopefully have a lot of fun at a cool race.
Getting back to the race, we took off and I immediately fell back somewhere into 10 or 11th place, but by the end of the first short hills I managed to work my way into 4th. I treated this as a road race b/c the single track is not technical and there are only 3 very short hills. I knew from experience that if a gap formed between me and other stronger, more powerful riders that I would be dropped. As such, I dug as deep to make sure I stayed with the lead group. I was pleasantly surprised that none of them gave me any grief about sucking their wheel. The pace was high for the first lap and on lap two I started to question whether I had what it took to stay with them for the entire race. Thankfully, as I continued to sit on their wheels in fourth place, the pace slowed on lap three as the gap had been established. Towards the end of the lap a small break formed between 2nd and 3rd and as we came through the start/finish area I heard the announcer say it looked like we were fading, so I knew it was time to put on the gas to drop 4th place. I quickly bridged up to the first two riders, Katie and Teal, and about halfway into the last lap a gap started to form between them. With several long flat headwind stretches left, I had to evaluate whether to go around Teal and try to battle Katie for the win or sit on Teal’s wheel and sprint for second at the end of the race. Feeling rather intimidated by these top competitors, I took the more conservative option of staying on Teal’s wheel. As we neared the end of the lap though, I could tell I was still feeling strong. I had spent most of the race drafting and knew I still had the legs to go hard. As we approached the final descent, I came around Teal and to my surprise, she gave me some words of encouragement. I raced towards Katie, but knew I had waited too long to try to catch her. I did manage to gain several seconds on the last hill, but was still excited to roll through the finish in second place. Lessons learned: mountain bikers are really nice and sometimes road racing experience comes in handy…
Race report from our Naked lady who hails from Breckenridge, Kerri! Read more about her 12 Hours of Mesa Verde Experience on her blog. Here’s a teaser:
We are off to the land of Cortez CO Phils World. I’m super excited for this race as the course is so fun, luckily enough I’m not doing it solo this year. I’m on a team of two with Zeke, our team name is Naked Stinger as he rides for Honey Stinger and I ride for Naked Juice, Its just makes sense to call it that. I have to say…. all week my nerves have been shot waiting for this race to come as its my first one of the year but now I’m here, think its going to be great.
Susan, our resident endurance mountain biker, went out for the Battle of the Bear 50 miler coming away with the third fastest time of the day for the ladies! Read her detailed report here.
The alarm clock goes off, I roll over…yuck 5am, already?!? I want to hit the off button, roll over and go back to bed, but my guilt gets me out of bed. I wander downstairs, turn on the espresso machine and find the detailed list of things I need to get done that morning. It’s a detailed timeline of my morning routine and items to take with me to the race. I force myself to eat, even though I’d feeling like vomiting all over my kitchen floor…race nerves. Focus on something else…okay…it’s a beautiful morning, looks like it’s going to be a great day for a 50 mile mountain bike race, plus I have some calories to burn (oddly this tactic helps me get over my race day nerves).
Running on time, but it always seems as if I’m running late…again race day nerves. I confirm with myself that I truly am “on-time” and not to worry. I arrive at the venue; get my bike ready and warm-up. At the starting line I’m looking around and don’t recognize anyone. Random thoughts are popping in and out of my head; I see a woman on a CX bike…impressive I thought to myself. I quickly redirect my thoughts to focusing on my start: am I in the proper gear, do I go for the hole shot, how much is this going to hurt?
We’re off and I sprint and win the holeshot (first racer to enter onto the singletrack), which is my preference since I do not know the technical abilities of the other racers. Going hard but not too hard, after all this will be a long race and I need to save some for later. I find that three of us get a small gap on the rest of the pack. At first it looked like we were going to work together, but that didn’t last. One of the ladies pulled ahead during the first lap, but I reeled her back in, while all the time having another racer on my wheel. I found myself in the lead for 3.5 laps, stupidly letting the other racer sit on my wheel. There was a time where I thought she started to drop off, but the next thing I knew she was stuck to my wheel, like white on rice. It was my fault, I let her sit there not working. She was analyzing my every move; she knew my weaknesses and my strengths. I knew nothing of hers, except she was one smart cookie to hang on my wheel and let me do the work. I told myself I like it this way; I work harder with someone pressuring me from behind…I couldn’t be more wrong, but yet I let it happen. She knew exactly when to attack me and when she did, I didn’t respond. Frozen in time, I saw her pedal away in disbelief. Finding myself discouraged and becoming fatigued, I started to battle with holding my pace. I had to work hard to keep my head in the game and keep going, then surprise, a racer sneaks up on me with five miles to go. She passes me as we start the climb, this time I stay on her wheel but we get stuck behind another racer who was suffering. The rutted trail made it difficult to pass, she goes left, loses her rear wheel, but saves it. I say to myself I have to pass this guy, so I pass to the right, but by that time she was at the crest of the hill. I was about 15 seconds behind her, which is a lot of time in bike racing. On the next and longest climb on the course, she gained more time on me and I lost sight of her due to all the switchbacks on the trail. By now I was counting the miles to the finish and happy that I was almost done as my legs were on the verge of cramping. I have to be proud of myself for achieving the third fastest time of the day amongst all the women’s groups, but I am furious with myself for allowing someone to take advantage of me and not fighting hard when it was important.
Natalia, Rachel, Melanie and Ashleigh went out without much of a plan for 18 Hours of Fruita and came away not only with first place, but 3 additional laps on the closest team! Natalia sums up her FIRST mountain bike race below.
About three months ago my boyfriend told me that he signed up for the 18 hours of Fruita race. For those who are not familiar it is an 18-hour mountain bike race. You can race it solo or in a team. He signed up to do it solo and I thought he was crazy but at the same time I thought it sounded fun. My first love is road cycling but I got a mountain bike last fall and have been on it only a hand-full of times. It quickly grew on me so I decided to recruit a team of four. Rachel Scott and Melanie Wong agreed to join me but we couldn’t find a fourth person. Luckily, Melanie’s friend Ashleigh from Avon, CO wanted to race, so we recruited her to join the Naked team. This was going to be my first mountain bike race and first time riding at night. After I registered the team I realized what I got myself into. I was terrified. All ladies on my team are experienced mountain bikers and I was the most afraid of letting my team down. After a few months of anticipation and not knowing what to expect, the day finally came. On Friday morning, my boyfriend and I packed up the car and headed up to Fruita. We arrived at the Highline Lake State Park in the afternoon. After setting up the camp, I met up with my teammates to discuss the strategy. We agreed to start with 2 laps each and since Melanie has done the race four times we decided she would go first. We had no idea who our competition was and our goal was to get through the night first and just have fun on our bikes.
At midnight I went to the start line to cheer on my boyfriend and his team, but I could not find Melanie. The night was warm and clear and watching the stars and the lights go around the lake helped calm down my nerves. I didn’t feel tired but I went back to the tent to get some rest. Around three o’clock in the morning Chad came back to the tent as his light went out. He didn’t have a backup light and it wouldn’t recharge fast enough so he decided to take a break until the sunlight. At 3:30 it was time for me to head out. Rachel came through the transition area and was kind enough to let me borrow her clear glasses. The course was very dusty and without the glasses I would be in tears and not able to see very well. As soon as I was on the course I was pleasantly surprised to see how powerful my light was. One mile into the race I started to pass other rides, which gave me a nice confidence boost. I thought to myself that I didn’t suck that much and could do this. After all, I paid to be here and I reminded myself to have fun with it. I completed my first lap in less than 40 minutes, 5 minutes under what I estimated. I started my second lap feeling strong and confident. I had less than one mile to go when my light ran out of battery. It didn’t give me any warning and all of the sudden I found myself in the dark. At that moment I was going downhill at a good speed. I slammed on my breaks and hoped nobody was behind me. It was around five in the morning and starting to get light enough just to see the sandy single track. After my eyes adjusted to the dark I got back on my bike and started following the trail very slowly. I knew there was a bridge ahead of me and a half a mile climb at the very end. Finally somebody passed me so I sped up and followed them to the end. After all this I only lost one minute, so I was pretty pleased, but most importantly I finished the lap safely.
When the night was behind us we checked the results and discovered that we were in first place, one lap ahead. The competition was on! We continued to ride as fast as we could and quickly were two laps ahead of our opponent. We safely completed 28 laps or 204.4 miles, in 17 hours, 51 minutes and 42 seconds. In second place were the Dirty Phat Chubbettes, four ladies from Carbondale, CO riding fat bikes who made for a fun competition.
The race was an amazing experience and exceeded my expectations. The weather cooperated and I couldn’t ask for better teammates. Also many thanks go to our amazing support. Our guys were there for moral support, they made sure we had food, water, and took care of our bikes.
On a cold, ominous day, the Naked ladies on fat tires met up at Valmont Bike Park to learn skills ranging from bunny hoping to manualing and hucking. Check out our slideshow and video. Watch out for us this mountain biking season!
Big thank you to our instructors for the day, and you should definitely work with them in the future!
David Holshouser is an IMBA Level 2 certified instructor. After 22 years riding a mountain bike, 4 years ago David took a 3 day clinic and discovered how important skills education is. Since then David has studied with Gene Hamilton (BetterRide.com), Lee McCormack (LeeLikesBikes.net), and Shawms March (IMBA lead instructor). 2 world champions and the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) Skills Development Director. David has been a Boulder Mountain bike Patroller for 6 years. Thank you for the time you’re giving yourself and for allowing me the opportunity to work with you.
Dawna Graham is a fitness trainer with over 13 years experience working with cyclists to improve both their fitness and their skills. Dawna is on the board of the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance, where she functions as Programs Coordinator, helping to create rides and clinics for cyclists of all abilities. Her specific passion is working with people who are new to cycling to help them discover their “inner athlete”, and growing the cycling community by providing opportunities for all levels of riders. Dawna is also an IMBA level 2 instructor.
Lisa Tharp, an IMIC certified coach, was a late-comer to cycling. At age 21 she fell in love with mountain biking and rode just about every day in her twenties. She quickly progressed in the sport of downhilling and accrued titles such as National Collegiate Champion, Mountain States Cup Champion, US Open Champion, placed top 10 at World Cups and was part of 2007 World Champs team. Now-a-days you’ll find her riding XC, dirt jumping, skatepark and her Schwinn Breezer. Lisa is honored to be your instructor and is eager to help you unlock your potential as a cyclist.
Sometimes it is just as fun to not race, though we had plenty of opportunities with the Maverick Stage Race and Rumble at 18 Road MTB race. Camp was the great kick-off to the season and a reminder that being a team can still be fun even without racing.
Team camp top 10:
- Wind sucks but it is better to ride in a team, especially behind Katie
- Criteriums are more fun when you are watching from the beer garden
- Wardrobe malfunctions do not happen just in superbowls
- Costco is a wonderful bartender
- Jen is still gluten free after 27 hours (only because we include sleep time)
- “If you can’t ride it, walk the next 5 feet” Cathy (when mtbing at Mary’s Loop). Best advice of the day.
- Nadiya takes the 3rd step in the Grand Junction crit
- Pigs are smarter than dogs
- Surprise rain storm turned to gorgeous day on the tacky trails and road
- MTBing requires just as much commitment as skill
Kerri, Jen, Cathy, Elizabeth, Katie and Amanda