Words by Sarah Devriese. Photos by Martyn Photo & Rob Phoenix
The Hot On Your Heels race (August 04 2012) in Squamish was the first all-women enduro event in Squamish. Of course I had to register for this! In principle, I like the enduro style. It’s more downhill than cross-country but it’s not just downhill, meaning that race runs aren’t less than 10 minutes and smaller bikes are used. I like to think of it as “regular mountain biking”. You climb a hill, do some awesome descending, go for a second lap, another trail to come down, some single-track up and downs, some lung-busting climbs, and some smooth roads to link everything together. It’s basically the kind of friendly race that I ride with my friends every weekend.
The course combo in Squamish included Angry Midget, Another Man’s Gold, and Hoods in the Woods. We started in a mass start at the bottom of well-known Half Nelson. This fire road was the very first mountain bike climb I had ever done in the fall of 2010. This was where I got hooked on the sport and where I decided that come spring 2011, I needed to plunge into it further. Needless to say, I’ve had many memories of this fire road. I probably walked half of it my first time out. Anyway, there were about 80 girls lined up. Eighty girls! I recognized some from last week’s race in Whistler. We started at 10 am and began the first leg of this enduro. I decided to take it easy. It’s a decent climb and I didn’t want to burn all my energy on the first one. There were more climbs later and also lots of descending. I kept it in the middle ring up until the right hand turn into the steeper part. I popped it into the granny (we’re not all super climbers…) and chugged along. It was hot, hot, hot! For all these girls, we had the sun hot on our heels all day long.
This climb gets shorter every time I ride it and before I knew it, I passed the turn to Half Nelson. And just a little further, I pulled into the start zone for Angry Midget. I had only ridden this trail twice. Once last summer when I had just started mountain biking and had a lot of trouble navigating down a greasy trail. And the second time earlier this summer on my hardtail, which didn’t go too well. July had given this trail time to dry out and the dirt was loose and steep at times. The top of this trail is the most difficult, I find. I watched how two girls went down in front of me. Both were okay and laughed off the dirt. It makes me nervous, though, watching someone go down right before I enter that section… Anyway, the trail goes on. I got confused at the new switchbacks as the trail marker pointed to both ways. I could take the switchbacks or the chute? I wasn’t sure what to do… I took two switchbacks, found that kind of boring and slow and turned onto the chute.
Down down down! This trail is so much fun! Lower down, it’s like a Half Nelson that no one really rides that much. It’s flowy, it rolls, it’s super fast. Thank you to those that fixed the ladder at the end! And back on the fire road I was. I zoomed down and crossed the road, right into Another Man’s Gold. From here on, the course was brand-new to me. I never had a chance to pre-ride the course so this was anyone’s game. But holy cow, that’s a fun section. I almost wanted to push my bike back up and do it again! After this, I crossed the river and started a climb. A climb that never seemed to end… A climb I may have pushed myself on a little bit too much. A climb that left me in shivers and goosebumps. I wasn’t feeling well. It was above 30 degrees C this day and I don’t do well with heat at all! I felt weak and walked where I know I could pedal. Part of the course sent us through a valley. Beautiful flowers but so exposed to the sun. Not feeling strong. I eventually made it to Hoods in the Woods and ate some protein before descending a rockface. When I got to the timed section of Hoods in The Woods, I believe I asked how far to the finish… And that trail was on the techy side and it just wasn’t my day. I crossed the final bridge right before the finish line and saw that last hill to conquer. It was short but steep and I was in my middle ring. I forced the bike up and crossed that sweet line.
So far, I had felt awesome on the bike for every race. I know I’m now the fastest or the strongest but every race I felt great. I felt that I rode like how I always wanted to ride. Confident and strong. Today was not that kind of race. But those days happen, too. The trails will be there again tomorrow. I finished in 1 hour, 40 minutes, putting me in 59th place. I want to say thanks to my boyfriend Ryan and friend Rob for meeting me at the finish and lifting my bike into the truck. =) Thanks to all the sponsors that support the Muddbunnies Race Team! And thanks to the volunteers and organizers of the Hot On Your Heels Enduro Race!
A huge thank you goes out to our 2012 Muddbunnies Race Team sponsors! Our racers have the opportunity to race because of these wonderful sponsors, please take a moment to visit their sites:
Red Racer Beer: www.redracerbeer.com/
Reflect Sports: www.reflectsports.com/
Dirty Girl Designs: www.dirtygirldesignscanada.com/
Design Out Loud: www.designoutloud.com/
Caps New Westminster: www.capsbicycleshop.com/
Different Bikes: www.differentbikes.ca/
Velocity Cycles: www.velocitycycles.ca/