Month: August 2011

12 Hours of Humboldt- 4 Woman Team

A dear friend and riding buddy of mine from Humboldt threw out the idea to do a 12 hour race in Humboldt a few months ago and I casually consented without giving much thought to the kind of shape I might be in or the difficulty of the course. But, Rosada stuck to her guns and kept the motivation going for months. Originally we were thinking of doing a 3-person team (Rosada, me, and Amy- another friend and rider from Humboldt). But, when I mentioned the event to my friend Stacy who I raced with on the Cal Cycling team, she was super interested and we decided to do a 4-woman team. Stacy and I drove up to Arcata from Redway on Saturday morning and registered ourselves while Amy and Rosada started the race and did the first 4 laps. Ro and Amy had an awesome start and were pulling lap times of right around an hour. Our plan was for Stacy and I to do the next 4 laps, alternating back and forth, then rotating Amy and Ro back in for the last set. Our hope was to complete 12 laps total in 12 hours, or about 3 laps per person.

The weather was perfect up there for a race in July. The temps hovered right around the upper 70s and there was a nice coastal breeze. The morning fog burned off by noon and it was sunny, but not too hot. On my first lap out I was struck by how difficult the course was. You start out pretty much right away with a steepish climb and then head into a beautiful Return on the Jedi-esque redwood forest. The trails were all fast-rolling and steadily climbed up. There was a section of newly cut trail that was kind of bumpy, but mostly the course was fast and steep. Over 8 miles, there is about 1300 ft of climbing per lap and some fast, loose fire-road descents. On my first lap, I focused on warming up and getting a feel for the best lines. I came through the start/ finish in under an hour and handed off the baton to Stacy. Stacy set out for a first quick lap. As an ex-pro roadie, she is always in amazing shape and an incredible athlete. She came through the start/finish in under 50 minutes and I was off again to try to keep her pace. My second lap went a little bit smoother than the first now that I knew the course and what to expect. Back at the start/finish it was a lot of fun to catch up with Amy and Ro and cheer and support eachother. It was also fantastic to have Ethan as our awesome pit crew and he helped make sure our bikes were running smooth. After Stacy and I did our 4 lap set, Ro and Amy headed out for 2 more, and then I was back on the trail. I got the chance to test-ride a 29er that some folks from Adventure’s Edge had for my 3rd lap. It was super neat to ride on the bigger wheels and I was surprised by how quick it was on the descents. I’d definitely like to own one at some point. Then Stacy headed out for her 3rd lap and as she left we guestimated that we would have the opportunity to do one more lap if she kept her pace. We decided it would be fun to do the last (13th) lap together, so as she came through I hopped back on my bike to join her for the last parade lap as the day winded up. It was a ton of fun to be out on the course together and we were able to ignore all the pain and soreness from being in the saddle all day. We were keeping a strong pace until my chain jammed on a short climb and I was unable to shift it out of the big ring. I don’t what exactly happened, but we pushed and pulled on the front derailleur for at least 5 minutes and it wouldn’t budge. A couple of riders went by and we asked for help, but no one knew what to do. I had all but given up and told Stacy to finish it without me when she man-handled the chain into the middle cog with all her might. Amazingly it worked and we were able to power our way back the start/finish with a few minutes to spare before the cut-off time. Phew! All in all, it was an awesome day on the bike and a fun event with friends. We were all impressed with our consistency in lap times and stoked to exceed our goal. Lap times below:

SOHUM WOMEN 4-RIDER amy – Women Expert/Pro 1 01:02:43.30
SOHUM WOMEN 4-RIDER ro – Women Expert/Pro 2 00:59:14.68
SOHUM WOMEN 4-RIDER amy- Women Expert/Pro 3 01:02:28.85
SOHUM WOMEN 4-RIDER ro – Women Expert/Pro 4 00:56:58.49
SOHUM WOMEN 4-RIDER emma – Women Expert/Pro 5 00:49:14.72
SOHUM WOMEN 4-RIDER stacy- Women Expert/Pro 6 00:48:40.93
SOHUM WOMEN 4-RIDER emma- Women Expert/Pro 7 00:49:41.87
SOHUM WOMEN 4-RIDER stacy- Women Expert/Pro 8 00:48:39.01
SOHUM WOMEN 4-RIDER amy- Women Expert/Pro 9 01:00:44.88
SOHUM WOMEN 4-RIDER ro- Women Expert/Pro 10 00:56:34.32
SOHUM WOMEN 4-RIDER emma- Women Expert/Pro 11 00:48:47.86
SOHUM WOMEN 4-RIDER stacy- Women Expert/Pro 12 00:50:38.90
SOHUM WOMEN 4-RIDER emma- Women Expert/Pro 13 00:59:21.20

Women’s Skills Clinic Ride

This summer I taught another series of mountain skills clinics for women in Chico. Last year’s clinics were a great success and I had requests from people to do it again so I threw up a poster at the shop with some dates and the slots started to fill up. The July clinic this year was a particularly awesome one. The clinic was pretty much full with 9 participants and we got lucky with unusually mild temperatures. Sandy Rosas joined us as another ride leader and shared her knowledge and encouragement. Everyone got together at the bike shop where I covered the basics of what to bring on a ride, what to wear, and how to set up your bike. Everyone got a chance to check their tire pressure and lube their chain before we cruised through Lower Park. In Lower Park we practiced track standing on an open section of trail and everyone picked up quick and easy. We then tackled the first climbing section of NorthRim trail and talked about line-choice and body-positioning for the ascent. I was super impressed by everyone’s strength and determination. There were lots of encouraging cheers and helpful suggestions by other participants.

We then cruised along Middle Trail and tackled another technical up/down section. Everyone made it through comfortable and got a chance to practice getting their weight behind the back wheel. Further along Middle Trail we worked through the last technical section involving tree roots, a rock slab, and a small drop. This section tends to be the most intimidating one we practice in the clinic and the first couple ladies who rolled up on it pulled off to the side instead of doing the drop. But, as more women worked their way through it and rode it, others felt inspired and went back to try it again. Eventually everyone cleaned the section and the cheers of encouragement could be heard echoing throughout the park.

We then rolled further along middle trail and connected back to the road for one last group shot. As we cruised back along the road towards town, everyone seemed to be in a cheerful mood and shared tips and asked questions to each-other.

Teaching these clinics is always a wonderful experience for me and this summer’s series of clinics was no different. Huge thank-yous to everyone who participated. I am always impressed by the level of skill and determination out there. Hope to see everyone again next summer.

PS- here is a note from Linda, one of our participants:

Elsie and I had a blast. We were truly inspired to make biking a part of our lives and explore more trails in lower and upper park as well as other areas. We learned about the tire pressure, the attack mode and changing your gears to accommodate the terrain and more ….and all and all we loved it. We are so appreciative that you took the time to hold this class.
Thanks Emma and Sandy