True Grit Race Report
True Grit 50 Mile Mountain Bike Race Report:
It dawned on me that despite 29 inch wheels and a racy cross country bicycle, there was simply no way I should be going this fast down the this section of trail. No way. BUT, regardless of the circumstances, it was FUN! Glorious fun in fact! After just completing a flat tire repair, I needed some fun to revive my attitude after watching numerous riders pass me by...Now, ripping high speed rollers and corners, I was back to having fun, albeit ignoring the abnormal speed being carried.
As I made the U-Turn at the end of the canyon it became blatantly clear why the previous section was so enjoyable - being propelled by a massive tailwind was like having a turbo booster! The simple act of turning 180 degrees changed everything. Worse, even though I had never ridden the course, I knew the next section would be a lengthy trek up this wind tunnel devoid of fancy equipment and engineers to monitor my "areo" slicing abilities...or lack thereof.
However, on this particular weekend, the headwind had been blowing long before the race started as obstacle after challenge popped up and was conquered prior to the race. From a report of fraud on my credit card, and subsequent cancellation (looks like Bri is the sugar momma for the weekend now!) to a broken iPhone and last minute lodging changes, we were solving problems from the onset.
Fortunately, the town of St. George is a pretty cool place! It's much bigger than we expected and the surrounding trails and terrain are nothing short of spectacular - WOW! Pulling into town 2 hours later than expected after sitting on HWY 15 while they cleared a semi truck which literally burned to the ground (only the wheels, motor block and some metal remained, unreal). Fortunately, George's Corner is open late and serves great food...and was only a short stroll from the hotel. Score! Oh and they even have delicious gluten free pancakes, which Bri said were delicious after having breakfast there with her Mom a few days later.
Prior to the race, Bri and I were able to ride the most technical portions of the course - based on the initial riding, this was going to be a toughie! Very rocky terrain, several challenging sections to test your skills and generally very cool to ride in a new and different area!
In addition to riding, this area provides excellent access to a slew of incredible natural terrain and famous parks. While I was busy being a lazy sack of slack in preparing for the race, Bri went to Zion National Park with her parents who drove down from Reno and our new St. George family, John and Gretchen. Hiking the treacherous and stunning Angles Landing trail, they had a blast and captured some absolutely amazing photos!
Race day dawned a bit warmer, meaning no vests or warmers needed...but a little bit of wind. Hmmm...no biggie. As the Spectacular Spiersch Pit Crew prepared for a day of driving around the desert mountains, I got ready to race and have some fun!
Racing in the Open Male 50 Mile class, I already knew the competition would be strong. Out of the gate, the pace was brisk and it was apparent that these guys meant business! Having done as instructed by the race notes and pre-ridden most of the first 15 miles, I was prepared for a few drops and chutes that would have been quite surprising to race into "blind" and was moving up from my typical slow start quite nicely. After a course mis-cue climbing up Zen (following desert markings demands extreme focus!) I lost a position and wanted to gain it back on the decent! Unfortunately, having a bit too much fun resulted in a punctured rear tire. Darn it! On the bright side, I knew if I could nurse the bike down Zen, then Bri, Brian and Kim would have everything I needed to make the repair at the feed zone.
Fast forward - Repair done. Sweet Trail shredded. Headwind engaged in full force. Sometimes it a good thing, and according to Bri, it can be a bad thing, but no matter the opinion, I can be very stubborn. Pig headed you might say. In this situation, I was determined not to relinquish my mood to the wind. It paid off. After a while riders s l o w l y started coming back to me. AND, the course eventually cheated the wind a bit by changing direction and traversing wind blocking terrain. YES! The rock piles were relentless and as much fun as I was having, they demanded a ton of energy to ride fast without crashing or hurting the bike. After an over-the-bars excursion on Zen, I didn't particularly want to repeat the experience.
As the race drew to a close, I managed a few more passes and eventually worked my way back into the top 20. And while that was pretty cool...we had even more fun following the race...
Riding Gooseberry Mesa the next day was incredible! Bri and Brian were tearing up and down slick rocks like they had been doing it all their lives! I was content riding the infamous trail and watching them both progress as they challenged themselves on bigger and gnarlier rocks along the way - very impressive and cool day! Not only were the trails super fun, but the views are breath-taking as well! Especially if you are afraid of heights like me!
That night, we had another delicious dinner with John and Gretchen before they lead us on a post dinner hike to see dinosaur foot prints - Awesome! This are is so rich with fascinating geology and history, we didn't want to leave!
Oh and did we forget to mention that OF COURSE Bri found the very best Yogurt place in all of St. George...or maybe even the Universe as she would point out :) Menchies frozen yogurt...
We just had to fit in one more early morning ride so Brian could crush a few more rocks!
Wed, Mar 19th, 2014 8:30:14 am
Lemurian Shasta Classic - Brianne's Race Report
It had only been a week since Sea Slotter and I was definitely a little nervous for Lemurian since it's about 28 miles and WAY MORE TRAITOROUS than any race we do all year! Not only is there a ton of climbing (including a fun hill called Satan's Crack!), but there are a ton of rocks and technical sections that you have to get through after all of the long hot climbs!
This is our favorite race we do every year, for me it takes about 3:20 minutes. I decided since I didn't have an extra clip on my bike for my Garmin that I was going to stick it in my back pocket and not even worry about time. I knew exactly what pace I wanted to set in each section.
This race starts off with a long, steep, loose climb with a super steep and rutty downhill. The only catch...you are riding this with about 300 racers all vying for positions. I let everyone climb right past me, out of breath and struggling, while I set a solid pace where I could still breath easily. As soon as we hit the rutty downhill, known as Gas Can, I just sat back and did my thing. You can't win the race here, but you can definitely lose the race! I made it through all of the racers that were crashed out due to brake failures and from riding way too fast and out of control!
The next section is my favorite, it's known as the flume trails. It is fast and flowy and has a few gnarly rock sections in between. As I went through the creek section, there were people changing flat tires about every 10 feet. I finally said, "What is this, Flat City?"! I passed quite a few people through this section, including a chick that kept asking what course I was racing and what age group I was in, because I'm sure she didn't want to lose a position! I just said, very politely, "When you get a chance, please pull over so I can get by, thanks!". It's a pretty narrow flume section, so you can't just pass. You have to work with the other person so you don't run into each other. She finally let me by! Thank goodness!
Next we started the climbing, I again just set my pace and rode it. At this point I caught up to my friend Amy and she asked if I had water, unfortunately I didn't. I told her the water stop wasn't too far up. Oh, and did I mention that it was 93*??? It was really hot! Luckily most of it isn't exposed, but it is still really warm even when you are in the shade! I was really excited for this last section of climbing because it meant that the descending was coming soon. There are a lot of people walking at this point because it's so hot and the hills are so steep, I choose to ride it because I don't like pushing my bike. Plus the signs that are posted everywhere are enough to keep me going, "Rattlesnake Dens, Stay on trail!". What?? I swear I could hear them, maybe it was just my chain? :) Just after this section the dh started. Yippee!
Now the fun begins! I just love this part, the more XX's I see, the faster I go!! It's a long fun, technical downhill with deep ruts, lots of roots and some sweet drops. Most people are walking all of these sections, so I have to yell, "Rider back!" and they usually let me through. I passed a lot of girls through this section, which made me want to catch more. So once we got through this section there is another mile of a fire road before we hit Brandy Creek, so I pedaled my brains out through this section and just kept reminding myself it wasn't that bad. I railed through Brandy Creek and was going up the very last single track before the finish and saw a girl that I knew was in my class, so like a Ninja, I snuck up very quietly. Once I got up to her I passed her on the inside turn of a switchback. I thought for sure she was going to fight me to the finish, so I just put it in the big ring and put my head down. I looked back to make sure she wasn't right on my wheel...she was NOWHERE in sight! Yes, another one down! I made it to the finish 3 1/2 minutes faster than last year, and was extremely happy about that! After the race, I took my shoes off and emptied my pockets and went straight into the lake. I was so hot it didn't matter that my socks and clothes were still on!
I ended up 5th overall out of about 25 women. It's nice to have so many women out there! It was definitely my best race of the season so far, I can't wait to go even faster next year!
Love what you do! <3
Mon, Apr 29th, 2013 10:43:13 pm
Sea Otter Classic - Brianne's Race Report
I want to start off by saying we had a fantastic weekend with friends and family (minus the part where the hammock snapped and my dad went head first on the cement!) We had the famous Clint Claassen and his awesome wife Jen, Steve Lewis and his fantastic better half Jolene, and my supportive parents all staying in our tiny house! This year we decided each couple would cook for the whole group one night… was a brilliant plan! We had Portobello Mushrooms, Quinoa Salads, Salmon and so much more!!
As for my race, all I can say is you don’t win them all! I can only improve this time going forward! It started with 6 minutes to my start finding out I had a major mechanical, which took out a few gears when I only had 10 to begin with. YIKES! The SRAM guys helped make a quick change, but said that I had to be really careful, so I just got on the start line and went! I lost my Hammer bottle on the 40mph down hill and by this point, my small group of 6 really spread out. I let them go, knowing that we had a lot to still do. As soon as I topped out on 50 I started feeling really sick so I decided to try and spin to see if that would help… not so much. Ugh! From there it just got worse and I knew that the day was going to be about finishing. A few friends that saw me said I didn’t look my normal, happy, cheery self. Of course not, I was trying not to curl up in a ball on the side of the trail! I had another run in with the same guy that ran into the back of me at a CCCX race, after he finished yelling at me he said he wasn’t trying to be a jerk…yeah right! I made it to the finish and went straight to the car and had to fight the nausea. The most important thing that I always tell my girls, is that they need to do their best and have fun doing it. While I didn’t have fun that day (sigh), I did do my best. I dug deep and finished a race that I wasn’t sure I would make it through.
On to the awesome part of the race….Brian had a kick ass day on his $80 frame! He finished 8th overall and had his best time yet! His race report will come later.
Thanks to all of our friends that came to support us! In case you haven’t heard before, I have the most awesome boss, Erin Fogg, who came with her little man, Row. They were there cheering us on and even brought flowers!
On Saturday, I had a fantastic opportunity to be a mentor for the Little Bellas camp. It was such a fantastic day and I got to work with some really great girls as well as some great mentors! I can't wait to be a part of the Little Bellas next year! Woo hoo!
Mon, Apr 22nd, 2013 11:04:52 am
Keyesville Classic Race Report
Brian and went down to the Keyesville Classic this weekend to race for the All-Mountain titles. It started off with a long drive, finishing the last hour with the twistiest mountain roads we have ever been on. It was really dark so we couldn't really see anything but the ginormous rocks on the hill looming down on us.
What bike to bring...I decided to roll the dice and bring my hardtail, I kept going back and forth but ultimately decided this was my bike. Brian rode his awesome Tallboy.
Short Track...We got up early Saturday morning because my Short Track race was at 9:30. I don't have any idea what I was thinking, but I didn't get on my bike until 9:12. I quickly learned that was a mistake on the first lap of my suffering. There were only 3 of us Cat 1 women on the start so I thought how hard could this be.....The first lap we were pinned, the 3 of us stayed together and I thought...okay I can do this. Then one of the girls went off hard. I tried to stay with her but I had no boost in me whatsoever. She just kept pulling away slowly but surely. I knew I wanted to finish 2nd so all I had to worry about was Karin (my new awesome friend) who was behind me. It took all I had to race forward and not keep looking back. Karin was right on my tail and I knew I had to focus all of my energy finishing this damn short race! I ended up 2nd with Karin right behind me about 6 seconds. Race one done, time to pre-ride the DH.
It started to get pretty cold and windy, so Brian and I bundled up and took Karin with us to head up to pre-ride the DH course. It was an interesting climb up, I was walking half of the steep hills and I got a little glimpse into the DH life of walking up hill to get to the start. Wait I was on my super light hard tail, why was I walking? Oh, that's right, because I blew all my energy on the short track! :
Brian took off to start his short track race and Karin and I continued to pre-ride the DH course. We heard that there was a technical section called the "snake pit" where all of the spectators stand and watch, presumably because the majority of the people crash, so we were anxious to see what it was like. At this point I was a little envious of Karin's full-suspension as I was getting a little caddywhompis through the rocks. We got to the snake pit and I decided just to get behind my seat and try it...I made it 90% of the way and started to yell with excitement then I hit the side of the rock wall and almost crashed. Whoops, little premature screaming was not happening until I made it all the way through the section! I walked back up and did the section 3 times so that I was confident that I could make it during the race. (Here is a video of Graeme Pitts taking the gnarly rock line, I took the crevasse to the left of his line.)
We got to another little obstacle where you had to get up this wall of granite rock...I tried and almost crashed the first time. After watching a few people hit it, I realized I just had to go into it fast and keep my momentum up. Karin totally nailed it on the second try, it took me a few more times to get it. Once I got it, I knew I would ride it during the race. It was all pretty easy from there, just fast pedaling the rest of the way downhill! I was now ready for the race.
The downhill course finished right next to the short track course, so I hurried over to see Brian racing. It was the Pro/Cat 1 first lap and Brian was nowhere to be found...oh wait, there he is dead last!! His favorite place to start. I think he finds joy in starting last and trying to catch as many people as he can! After a couple of laps he already moved up to top 10, then 8th and then on the last lap he was in 6th not too far behind the famous Tinker Juarez!!!! I could see there was this guy just sitting on Brian's wheel the whole race and I knew he was going to go in for the pass on the last lap, which he did. Brian tried to cover the inside line but he didn't want to crash either of them out, so BB finished 7th overall. Not too shabby for someone that hasn't raced at all this season.
Downhill...Next, was our DH race. I raced before Brian so Karin and I rode up to get to the top. We got up just in time for our start without having to sit in the cold wind too long. Karin was up first, then the other gal racing our class and then myself. Perfect! That was just where I wanted to be so I didn't feel rushed on the HT! I was ripping, it was so much freaking fun I can't even tell you. I made it all the way through the first rock section which led into the snake pit, all of a sudden I started seeing a ton of people near the snake pit and just kept repeating my mom's advice, "remember to stay on the bike!!". I got back behind my seat and kept my shoulders balanced and made it all the way through the pit without making a fool of myself in front of the crowds! I ended up feeling really good with my dh run. Checked the prelim results and I was #1 (13 seconds in front of 2nd place)! Yippee!! Brian came down not too much longer after I finished and he looked good. He then proceeded to tell me that he scared himself on the run and ended up smashing into the rocks, he didn't crash, but he had to get off which took quite a bit of time so he didn't have the fastest run he had hoped for. He ended up 17th, right behind Tinker Juarez again! :) When it came to the podiums, I saw that both Karin's and my time were 5 seconds slower. WTH? I went and found the official and asked why. Turns out they said we both "crossed the line" before they said go...(There was no line up at the top of the dirt hill, the offical said apparently some chick drew a line with her finger in the dirt, which NONE OF US EVER SAW! It's a really long story that I don't want to get into anymore, but I quickly learned the fun politics with USA Cycling.) Luckily it didn't change the final finishing places.
It was super windy and that night it got down to 25*!! When we woke up everything was frozen! Clark's water, our camping pots and everything were frozen solid. Thank goodness we didn't race xc until later in the afternoon.
Cross Country...We didn't race until 1:00pm which I am not used to. It was seriously one of the hardest races I have done in a while! It was about 1500ft of climbing per 8 mile lap and we had to do 3. After the first lap, all I could think was that I hoped my bike would break so I didn't have to do all 3 laps. It ended up being about 70* for the xc so it was a challenge since it was so cold the day before and just that morning. I ran out of water on the last lap and I didn't eat a ton of food. All mistakes! I finished, but I was totally bonked. The first place girl beat me by 14 minutes, 2nd place was right behind her and 3rd place was about 4 minutes in front of me. Karin ended up 1 minute behind me. I was looking back at every chance I had to see how far back she was and she was always right there on every lap. I thought for sure she was going to pass me!! The best news about me finishing 4th was that I wasn't going to have to do the "Death Sprint" for the all-mountain title. If I had finished 3rd, the first place gal and I would have been tied for the all mountain title and we would have had to battle it out in a 50 meter sprint. I was okay with getting 2nd place for all mountain, in fact I couldn't have been happier!! :) Karin ended up 3rd for the all mountain title.
Here are our finishes:
Brian finished in 7th place
I finished in 2nd place
Brian had a small get off...so he finished in 11th.
I got 1st place!! :)
Brian finished in 6th place
I finished 4th
Brian finished 7th overall (technically 1st in Expert, but they didn't break out the experts from the pros)
I finished 2nd overall
I won about $110 from the races, so that was pretty cool. We then had a really fun, exhausting, but fun drive home talking about all of the fun memories that we will have for years to come. And driving down that twisty road during the daylight was so beautiful! The Kern River is quite a site, the mountains are covered in green grass with big boulders. I am assuming this is what it's going to look like in heaven, so AMAZING!
Here is an awesome picture of the Kern Mountains courtesy of Graham Owen
Wed, Mar 13th, 2013 11:55:06 am
2013 CCCX Race Series
The 2013 Race Schedule for CCCX has been posted, here are the dates:
You can get more information by visiting the CCCX site here.
Mon, Jan 7th, 2013 2:20:33 pm
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