Monday, July 14, 2014

Steel City Enduro

I made a last minute decision to race Steel City Enduro last week. I had done this race two years prior and was sick day of the race and did not quite get the lines on the famous "Boulder Trail". I have been wanting to go back and master that trail for 2 years. I love technical riding and anything that gets my mind off of training or suffering is a good thing to me. Some may dread and fear rocks, but I see them as an opportunity to challenge myself while not noticing the suffering. There are times to suffer and that is good too, but I'm just not feeling the suffering part of racing these days. Perhaps I just need a break or a change of pace. This is where enduro's are a good fit for me.

For those that do not know much about them, enduro is not short for endurance. Enduro's are more like a stage race of short Super-D's. They are mostly, but not solely downhill and can often have super technical features or downhill features. Some include lift access and some are ride transfer. Being a XC racer, I prefer the technical and ride transfer type over the downhill and lift access type.

I headed over to Bethlehem on Friday afternoon to ride the park and face the Boulder Trail. I spent about 30-40 minutes going over various lines until I got them just right. Wow, there are a lot of rocks on that trail! It was pretty cool just to session that section. One thing I like about being a racer is that I will make the extra effort to master something like this. I don't know if I would do that just riding by myself. I get much more satisfaction from mastering a rock garden than I do from doing hill repeats.

As for my race the next day; my rear DR cable snapped 5 minutes into my race, where I managed to single-speed a 26x11 to my time out in stage one. I tried my best to salvage the cable by pulling it towards the bolt, but it did not reach so my race was done. I figured a way to SS out catching the last of stage 5 so that I did not have to walk my bike up hill. Somehow I did not feel like my weekend was wasted. I mastered the Boulder Trail, donated my entry fee to the local trail builders/promoter and had some good beer at the local brewery.

I was taken back when the promoter prized me for third place when I did not finish all the stages. I was reluctant to go up on the podium, but the other girls were waving and calling me up. It is easy to get hung up on yourself, and I am glad I had the sense to realize that a full podium is better for them. I let my self involvement go and jumped up to get my medal and prize money. I hope that more women will come out to explore the challenges of technical riding in the future, as you can see there are open spaces waiting to be explored. I am looking forward to the rocks at Bear Creek next week!

Quinoa 'boulders" for dinner

Steelworkers Stout

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