Beti Bike Bash Race Report
4:40 wake-up call and time to head back up to Bear Creek Lake Park in Lakewood, CO (same place I raced Battle the Bear last weekend) for the Beti Bike Bash – Colorado’s first women-only mountain bike race. This is the 3rd year of the race, and my first time racing. They offer a sizeable pro payout so they had solid pros racing such as Heather Irmiger, Katie Compton, Amy Dombroski, and others. The Women’s Mountain Biking Association of Colorado Springs, of which I am a Club Team member, had a solid presence with somewhere around 20 women racing a variety of categories, from beginner to expert, and some on single speeds.
I left the house at 5:30 with a Generation UCAN, banana, and peanut butter smoothie. 5:30 isn’t so bad in the summer since the sun is starting to rise, and headed north. The fires up in Larimer county were definitely visible with haze.
At 6:25 I was actually one of the first people to arrive (Beginner category started at 8:00am). I hiked up the hill to pick up my packet and walked back down to get ready. It was a bit chilly, but the sun was shining, which was going to make for great racing temps – high was only going to be in the 70s.
After I got my bike ready, I rode up the hill and found the WMBA tent, to drop off my change of clothes, and decided it was time to get in a warm-up. I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to warm-up, but the legs were feeling decent, even after yesterday’s climb up Deer Creek Canyon.
Today’s race strategy was a little different because I now have 2 races under my belt and was somewhat familiar with the course. WMBA member Cami Stock (and also a tri coach) gave me some advice that jived with my thoughts. Get in front and be aggressive from the start. So I did. I lined up in the front row of the 30-39 Cat 3 women. We went off at 8:02 and I hammered it. We took the first corner and I was in front! This position gets the race announcer to call your name….my moment of glory!
I had the lead for a bit, and then got passed by a few people to chase. Then on the first climbs a couple of us ended up behind a few of the slower women from the 19-29 group that went off at 8am. That hill isn’t the easiest to pass on. We passed when we could. On the descent after the second hill (and these are pretty tame descents) the one woman in front of me wiped out. She got up and I asked if she was OK, she said she thought so, so I kept going. (I’d see her later.)
I figured I was in 5th position coming around to start the second lap. The field was more spread out and all I thought was “it’s going to hurt, just keep going.” at the start of the 2nd climb (these were short (~1/4 mile) but steep) something didn’t feel right at the back of the bike. I kept riding, but sure enough, I had a flat. With this short race, I really wanted to ride it out, but that wasn’t possible. The woman who had crashed in front of me had caught up. I stopped once to try to put air in it, but that wasn’t successful, so I decided to stop again to change the tube. I got to see about the entire field go by! Thanks to the guy at the corner who reminded me of a few things while I was changing it. Race stress gets to you, and what you can do no problem at home or on a training ride suddenly becomes a more difficult task! But I got it pumped back up (next time CO2!), wore the dead tube around my neck, and finished the race (on a nice steep uphill). Even though it didn’t end how I wanted it to, I know about where I would have placed, and am quite happy with that.
The first question I got when someone asked how the race went and I told them about the flat was “are you running tubeless?” Point made. I was, however, running with slime tubes. When I upgrade my bike, as right now I’m riding a heavy aluminum frame, I’ll definitely consider going tubeless! I did find a thorn or goat head in the tube, so root cause was found, and there were several flats out there today! In fact, as I was changing my tube, a gal was just walking with her bike to the finish area.
Here’s my Garmin file so you can see how high my heart rate got. I was definitely at and above threshold!
Now to figure out my next mountain bike race…