Friday, October 29, 2010

Bittersweet BT Epic

I call this race bittersweet because its the last mountain bike race of the year, that makes me bitter. The sweet part is the Berryman Trail and the folks from Springfield Bike Shop who make it possible. Jim and I have done this race the past 2 years and were not about to miss its 3rd run. I signed us up on the 1st day of registration, May 1, so we would get t-shirts and a bonus pair of socks{ which are awesome}. The t-shirt would have been been awesome if it had the womens winner on it. Maybe next year.

The week of this race Jim worked very hard to get our VW Vanagon legal to make the trip. If you get the opportunity to ride in our "STELLA" I highly suggest you take it. You will return a better person, I guarantee it. She had been sitting ,taunting us daily,in the driveway for 18 months. We are all happy to have her back with the family.

It is not a secret that the Burnin' sucked my soul outta me, and quite possibly ripped off my legs. The only goal was to finish this one. On the start line, I looked around at over 200 bikers. Impressive! I then realized that I was not the only wounded soldier heading out to this war. Seconds before they set off 'the bomb" I decide to ride carefully and try to break 7 hours. I was familiar with the course and really wanted to ride 32x19, but, honestly I could not have pushed it. I believed that Connor still had the Farinella Magic and that was set at 32x21.

I actually enjoy the 1st climb to the trail. Mostly because its fun to mash past so many people in their granny gear. Around mile7 I saw my brother. He had ripped his derailleur off. He was pissed and done . A mile later I passed Jim, who was off trail helping Beau Moneyham with a flat. I figured he would catch me sooner than later so I rolled by. A short time later Beau passed me while I was struggling. He said"Dude, your legs are ripped if that helps" That comment helped me to the very end.

I had planned for cool temps and a semi wet trail. Wrong!! Mr weatherman. The temp was about 85 and the trail was desert dry and super dusty. I'm not a fan of "dusty mouth" so I carry Lifesavers. Because they are life savers. I rolled through CP1 , there was no reason to stop. I am very glad I put the Small Block 8 on the rear, it was perfect. I passed many a rider fixing flats. A few would catch me, but only to have me pass them again while changing another flat. I played " trail angel" and made sure everyone had what they needed. I gave out some CO2s, lifesavers, 1 tube, and helped those lacking superior attitude by giving encouragement. I reached CP2, Berryman Trailhead, and refilled my camelback{ only half way, I hate wearing a pack} and replenished the supplies I handed out. Where the heck was my husband? He should have caught me by now. This next leg would have been faster with a 32x19. I still would have walked a few climbs, but would have crushed the road.

My favorite part of this race was the road climb back to the trailhead. Passed several in their granny gear. At the picnic tables I say, very seriously, " Hey, anyone want to go climb that again?" Not one of the 8 or so fellas answered. Their eyes said it all. I quickly hopped on the bike and got outta there before they hurt me. This is where I saw Jim again, already changed. He had to call his race due to a sliced tire. Lucky for me, he handed me his extra H2o and fuel bottles. They had run out of H20 and the other racers had to decide to go on without or wait about 20 mins for the volunteers to return with some. The last 17 miles I needed to finish in about 2 hrs. Feeling confident I pedaled on. That was until I reached the road portion. All of a sudden the wind kicked up and was blowing right at me. I was going to spin my brains out and fight the wind. Wonderful! It took everything I had to do 10 mph. For about 6 miles. Not kidding. I think if the wind had been behind me I would have been so close to 7 hrs. I missed by 13 minutes 44 seconds. I did beat last years time by 45 minutes, had zero mechanicals and no crashes. Not even a scratch. What a great way to end 2010. Connor still had the Farinella Magic and I was able to make peace with myself and finally let the Burnin' go. I will be back next year , will push a 32x19, and kick the shit outta 7 hours. If you wanna be there to see it I suggest you sin up early. 2011 will sell out. The after party, the beer, the food , and the band made this event even better.

Enough said. I was fitted for my 2011 Jake the Snake yesterday. It is one sexy cross bike. It has gears, which I need to learn. He will make me even faster on my single speed. Rest assured, once I learn how to ride it, I am gonna ride the hellouttait. Hope to see you at a cross race. The bike and I will be making our debut at this Sat nights Bubba Cross. It will be my first ride so please be gentle with me JTS.


  1. Sounds like a solid performance:) I wanna see some pics of the JTS!!

  2. Thats a solid improvement - way to go!

    Also pick up a 33t ring. From a 32x19 to a 32x20 it is a gear inch jump of 48.8 to 46.4 - but 33x20 will put you right in the middle at 47.8 - or roughly a 1 gear in. jump. It works that way all through the gearing chart.

    Go to and make a gear chart. I have one in my garage with 32,33,34 x 17,18,19,20,21,22. It pretty much shows that 34 is redundant to 32, but the 33t closes the gaps.