The first round of the Scott Enduro Cup was this last weekend (5/3/14) in Moab, Utah. The race was only one day and 4 stages at the Mag 7 trails and was the first official race of my season. It was also my first race as a pro with a field larger than just Margaret and myself! The field consisted of XC U.S. national champ, single-speed world champ, EWS rider and NAET champ, Heather Irmiger, CX world cup overall winner, Katie Compton, overall super badass, Heidi Rentz, the Moab hometown hero, Beth Roberts, amongst other awesome chicas.
I had ridden 3 of the 4 stages last year as part of the BME series, but for some reason I don't remember it being such a sufferfest. Going into the race I wasn't expecting a lot, my ultimate goal was just to ride hard and keep the rubber side down, which I accomplished. I've never been much the one for flat, pedal-y, sprints--I like my descents on the steeper--and the average grade for each of the four stages was somewhere between -1% and -4%, between one and two miles, and between six and eight minutes. Not exactly my cup of tea but at least now I know what I really need to focus on.
There was a big group of us from Flagstaff and Sedona and we all pre-rode on Friday. I was having some major issues with dropping my chain due to a worn-out cassette, chainring, and stretched chain (oops). But thankfully my favorite mechanic happens to travel and race with me! Scott played with my chain guide the best he could in a hotel room, but all we could do was hope that it would work.
The Mag 7 trails are incredibly rough and bumpy combinations of dirt and slick rock; almost a combination of Gooseberry and Sedona, and the bumpiness and chain slap is only perpetuated when you are pedaling as hard as you can across it. My chain stayed on through stage one, but came off almost immediately during stage two. It wouldn't have been such a bummer but it dropped to the inside of my chain guide and go stuck. They ran 60 second intervals between racers and I ended up getting caught by two other women while trying to fix my chain. After that it took just about all the motivation I could find to push through stage two. I shoved my sour attitude to the side for the rest of the race and my chain stayed on through three and four, though I was constantly looking down at my drive train to make sure the chain hadn't bounced off again.
Unfortunately at a race like Moab there was nowhere to make up any time so the two minutes I lost were lost for good. I still ended up 6th, just under four minutes behind Heidi, the winner. All in all I was happy with how I rode. I was about 20-30 second behind the winner at every stage besides two, and for how little I ride like that I was impressed. Now I know that with some more high-intensity/interval training, I could be right there with the top girls.
I also want to congratulate all of the other Big Az peeps for shredding dirt in a major way. Two Flagstaff chicks in the top 10 for AM women, a third in AM men, and a big congrats to Jason First and Scott Countryman for a 5th and 8th in pro men amongst a stacked field!
My next race will be the first stop of the Oregon Enduro Series and NAET in Hood River June 8-9. I am very much looking forward to 1) getting to hang out in one of my favorite places ever and 2) getting to do some racing on some steeper and gnarlier terrain.
Happy trails y'all!
Writing is something I have always been passionate about. I love sharing my stories, my thoughts, my advice, but mostly, I write to record memories and express myself. So here are a few of my fondest memories, best and worst moments, my most profound and boisterous thoughts, and riskiest advice. Enjoy!