by: Emily Sabelhaus
The second annual WOMENâ€™S ONLY Sturdy Dirty Enduro went off with a bang when over 200 ladies showed up to shred the trails of Tiger Mountain near Issaquah, WA. It was a rowdy, fun-filled affair with apron-clad industry men frying bacon and flipping flapjacks at beginning of Stage 1, timers dressed as Elvis Presley, prom queens, and scary clowns, and a Mexican themed aid station complete with chips, salsa, and tequila shots. Thereâ€™s a reason this race sold out in less than a week! Last yearâ€™s event was a screaming success, and this year Ady, Julie, Katie, Angela, and Alison of Sturdy B*tch Racing put on an equally phenomenal event that focused on promoting womenâ€™s racing and growing the mountain bike community! Read on for the full race report.
The morning of the race we were greeted with local coffee and snacks, sunny skies, and perfect trail conditions thanks to some dry weather the previous week (PC Chris McFarland).
After the riders meeting, the pros were sent off in the first wave to begin the gradual 45 minute fireroad climb to the top of Stage 1, followed by the expert, sport, and beginner women later that morning (PC Chris McFarland).
Stage 1 included beautiful flow trail and some super fast and pumpy areas you could really open up and grab speed. Pictured above is Liz Miller pinning it through the trees (PC Chris McFarland).
After descending the East Tiger Summit trail, racers enjoyed a quick but steep return climb back to the top where they were treated to the ultimate mid-race brunchâ€¦ the bacon station (PC Chris McFarland)! The summit was the beginning of both Stage 1 and 2, so the Sturdies made sure there was plenty of entertainment at the top to keep the ladies occupied while they waited.
The guys at LivGiant were obviously slaving over the griddle all morning long to save us ladies from bonking. They had bacon, pancakes, and even snow cones (PC Liz Miller)!
I canâ€™t tell you how many times Iâ€™ve craved a snow cone in the middle of a hot, sweaty enduro. Dreams really do come true!
Stage 2 started fast and furious back at the summit, then hooked right with a brutal climb halfway through, which lead to more thigh-burning, unrelenting fun for the remainder of the 12 minute stage. My Juliana Roubion helped me snag a new Strava QOMâ€¦ It held super steady through the varied terrain while transitioning easily into and out of the climbing sections. Emily Sabelhaus pictured above (PC Chris McFarland).
Lucky for racers, there was no transition to the next stage, as 3 began from the bottom of 2. Stage 3 was the oftentimes frustrating combination of Fully Rigid and Joyride. These trails have flowy sections, but are generally more technical and bike-handling-heavy as compared to the other stages. This was the stage that included the infamous â€œvagâ€ feature that some racers cleaned, some walked, and some flew themselves into face first. Karen Oconnell cleaned the vag like a pro (PC Chris McFarland).
At the bottom of Stage 3, racers enjoyed the Crank Sisters Mexican themed aid station, complete with Tequila bar, then headed out Northwest Timber trail back to the staging area. For beginners and sport racers, that was it, but pros and experts got to drag themselves all the way back up to the tippy top to ride brand new steep, and rowdy Eastbound and Down (PC Liz Miller)!
This was quite a treat, as Eastbound and Down is not yet open to the public. The Sturdies, along with the Muddbunnies and Evergreen, sponsored a handful of work parties before the race to help get the trail crew finish up just in time. Thanks for all your hard work, ladies! Pictured above is pro rider Veronik Voracek ripping through a rooty section on Stage 4 (PC Chris McFarland).
Stage 4 included a number of chunky rock gardens, whoops, root bundles, and a sizable rock roll at the very bottom. Pictured above is Emily Sabelhaus putting her Juiliana Roubion through its paces (PC Chris McFarland).
Timing and race results were super fast and efficient thanks to the use of the Cascadia Dirt Cup timing system. Racers were given a receipt with stage times as soon as they turned in their timing chip, then they could watch the reader board as results rolled in (PC Chris McFarland).
Racers relaxed as they waited for the last of the riders to cross the finish line. They were treated to tasty tacos, beer, cider, free accupunture, and shade.
At the end of it all, there was a gigantic raffle with heavy hitting items from generous sponsors like SRAM, iXS, Dharco Clothing, iSSi Pedals, Ryders Eyeware, Dirtyjane.com, the Muddbunnies, and so many others. Tana waited patiently for someone to call her lucky ticket (PC Chris McFarland).
Jacob had a great time chucking raffle prizes into the eager crowd (PC Chris McFarland).
Best yet, the race and raffle helped the Sturdies raise some nice cash for the local trails! They were able to donate a fat check for $3000 back to the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance.
To make a great day better, turns out I won pro! I was honored to share the podium with some of my endure and DH race idols (PC Chris McFarland).
These girls made the magic happen. Thanks a million, Sturdies (PC Chris McFarland)!
It was a pretty dreamy weekend and I think it’s safe to say everyone had a wonderful time shredding bikes and making new friends. Thanks Sturdies, you truly outdid yourselves, and we are so proud to have been a part of this awesome event. Already looking forward to next year!
Race results can be found here
Special thanks to all those who make my race season possible: Juliana Bicycles, SRAM, ixs, Dharco, Element Cycles, Five Ten, Giro, Evoc, and Honey Stinger.