CES #4 – China Peak

This last weekend was the first stop of the California Enduro Series Golden Tour at China Peak resort. I camped in our usual spot along the river with my partner in crime, Brian Astell (aka Trail Works Brian, aka TW Brian), for the weekend and it was the perfect spot. We had a little wading pool all to ourselves in the freezing cold river which came in handy race day for sure!

I was pretty excited for this race, because I usually do well in the technical courses vs the more pedally courses and this one is one of the more rocky ones. I didn’t race this race last year because of mono, so I wanted to get a run in on all of the stages to refresh my memory from 2 years ago.

I was all decked out in GForm this weekend! So glad I had it on!

Stages 1,2,3 and 4 were the same this year and they added an additional stage 5 which was super rowdy! I decided to practice the course in order so we hit the first stage and boy was I surprised at all of the water on the course! The top section was a full-on mud bog and I wasn’t happy to get my bike dirty right off the bat! LOL! Stage 1 and 2 were pretty easy, straight forward stages without anything super technical. Stage three is one of the longest and starts off with some fun rock sections, a ton of pedaling, and then a rock garden before you pedal through the trees and creek crossings to the finish line. Stage 4 is the stage that you get to race on the rock slabs down the hill and it’s one of my favorite stages! Last but not least, Stage 5 was brand new this year and it was SO MUCH FUN! It’s exactly what I love to ride, steep, loose, rocky downhill section up top and then pretty pedally and fun to the end of the stage.

TW Brian and I going up the lift to get our Pre-ride on!


The first time I went down stage 5 I wasn’t sure what to expect, there were a couple of fun rock drops, off camber slabs and loose, deep corners that were SO STEEP! I crashed a couple of times on the first time down, but I didn’t get hurt because it was so soft. I learned I probably should have kept my speed up instead of going slow checking out the course, because that’s what made me crash…not enough speed.

After I re-fueled and TW Brian replaced my brake with his carbon brake I decided I wanted to run stage 5 one more time at a faster pace. Well to say it was a disaster is an understatement! I crashed so many times because there were so many people stopped all the way down the course and it had gotten so destroyed by so many people pre-riding it! I smashed TW Brian’s carbon brake on the rocks and felt so bad that I broke it!! OOPS! I decided it was time to call it a day.

We had a great spaghetti dinner and cooled down in the river before we watched Dillon’s gopro of the courses just before we headed to bed. I slept like crap that night, maybe it was because of Dillon’s derrièr, or it could have been the fact that I had hit the ground pretty hard and hurt all over!! UGH!

I woke up race day and did my morning routine with breakfast, yoga stretching and breathing and then got ready to go! For the first transfer we had to climb up to the top of Stage 3 which took about an hour, it was pretty warm and we got to the top just as the pro women were getting ready to take off. I usually like to get up there a little faster, but the climb was slower this year with all the soft dirt.

Stage 3 (our first race stage) was a complete disaster! I started off going off course through some rocks and couldn’t get clipped in and back on course, I should have gotten off the bike and ran it would have been so much faster! I tried to compose myself and to focus on staying up right the rest of the stage so I kept pedaling knowing I had to go through the technical rock garden. Caro caught me just before we went through the rocks (this girl can pedal, just in case you wanted to know!) so I tried to stay with her through the rocks, which I rode perfect, but then disaster struck again….my front tire fell off a wet bridge and my front wheel fell in the hole and over the bars I went. It happened so fast that I was still clipped in and pinned under the bike. I was stuck, I couldn’t move at all….luckily there was someone there who was able to help me get unstuck. When I finally got up, my bars were rotated and I had to get them straight again. It was awful, I was pretty much down almost 2 minutes after the first stage of the day.

Next we got to take the lift up to Stage 1. Remember that mud bog I talked about….well it was WAY MUDDIER on race day! I thought it might dry out a little bit, but oh no!! This girl got stuck in the mud and had to hobble through the muddy forest. HA! I finally got through the stage without too many mistakes after that. I should have done what Caro did,  her cyclocross skills kicked in and she hopped off and ran through the whole section!

On to Stage 2, it was just a short transfer up to the top of the stage. I tried to keep myself focused and look ahead through the stage so I didn’t have any more crashes. I managed…slowly but surely I got down. I felt so off, I just didn’t have the lungs or the legs and it was pretty frustrating. Once I got to the bottom, they said they weren’t opening the next stage for 2 hours (we had to climb up which would take about an hour) so I knew I had to cool myself down.

I went to the river and sat in it to cool my feet and head because it was so warm, I was struggling a lot. I got some food and ice for my water and headed up to Stage 4. We had to climb up to 4, so Lily and I stopped in the creek halfway up to keep cool. I was dying in the heat! I knew I had to just keep climbing or I wasn’t going to make it to the top. We had to wait in line quite a bit for this stage and it was open and exposed so I don’t think that helped me out at all. Stage 4 is one of my favorite stages, but for some reason I was so tired I could barely make it to the bottom of the stage. I was struggling to hold on to the bike and just tried to keep pedaling. I didn’t crash, but I was so done after this stage.

I went to go get my chest pad on for the last stage and I had a meltdown. I was so tired, my shock wasn’t holding air and I felt like crap. I started crying and Andrew Cavaletto and Ron DiNapoli were so nice and helped me fix my bike, they told me I had this and that I just had one more stage. I was seriously thinking about calling it a day because I knew that Stage 5 was the gnarliest and I didn’t want to get hurt. I missed almost the whole season last year and I couldn’t afford a broken bone to take me out. I wasn’t confident in being able to get down the stage clean because I was so tired. Anyone that knows me, knows that this pathetic, meltdown, crying Bri is not me.

I pulled my shit together, with the help of a pep talk from TW Brian and got on the lift to 5. I took some deep breaths and calmed myself down, I asked for a little help from the man above and decided that I would just walk the upper section of 5 since the trip up the lift I was watching several people crashing super hard just below me. It wasn’t worth it. So I did just that, when I got to the super steep stuff, I just hopped off my bike and ran, I can say I was proud of myself for making that decision instead of trying to ride it so I didn’t look stupid….I would rather look stupid than be hurt. I made it through the technical section and pedaled as much as I could to get to the finish, not before I took a hard spill off a small rock drop. It was SO STUPID! The dirt just took my front tire and I went down hard. I got back up and finished.

I was so thankful to be done. I finished without quitting and for the most part wasn’t injured too bad, just a little bruised and battered. I ended up 8th place for the day. When I got to my van to get ready to leave, I had a flat tire. UNBELIEVABLE!!! I just started crying and TW Brian came to my rescue, again!!! He and Ron were able to get my tire off and put the spare on after some quick thinking on tools since I couldn’t find all of mine. DOH!

After my tire was fixed, TW Brian and I caravaned to Reno. It was the longest 6 hour drive, I think we got there just after midnight. We woke up and decided to head to the lake with the paddleboard and kayaks with my dad, sister, brother-in-law and nephew. It was a blast, we ended up in the water for hours swimming and paddling, it was just what I needed for my legs. They were pretty messed up, I could barely walk they hurt so bad!


The next day we headed up to Northstar with Zach Waymire. TW Brian  had never ridden up there, so we took him down Livewire to warm up. It was pretty fun, I forget how fun those jumps are all the way down! We did a few more laps down it before I lost my phone and we had to turn on Find my iPhone as we followed it all around the mountain. Luckily someone grabbed it and headed to lost and found….we weren’t so sure if they were taking off with it or not since it kept traveling down the mountain. LOL

Overall it was a good weekend. I was pretty excited to get home Tuesday so I could just take a long nap!!! I was exhausted from the whole trip, but super glad to see my family for a few days!

Next race is the CES at Big Bear down south, should be pretty fun. I haven’t raced down there since Butler and I used to race the XC races down there with Tom from the Big Bear series! I’m hoping that Butler will be able to join me on this one! Fingers crossed!



CES #3 – Wild Wood Enduro

This last weekend was the Wild Wood Enduro in Fort Bragg. This is one of my favorite races that we do because it’s challenging in its own way. There aren’t any rocks or drops, but it’s super twisty with roots and you have the hillside going down the canyon on one side and the uphill on the other with a very narrow single track so there isn’t a ton of room for mistakes.

Sean, Dillon, Matt and I decided to leave super early Thursday morning to get to Fort Bragg in the morning to start our pre-riding. We had to do the tourist stop over the Golden Gate bridge since these boys have to take potty breaks every hour! LOL

This year they decided to run all 6 stages in one day! I knew we were going to be out there all day long this year, so I was prepared to pace myself for a long one. Luckily this race is at sea level, and for the most part it doesn’t get super hot. For pre-riding we were lucky to have local, Brian Astell (aka Trail Works Brian, aka TW Brian), offer to shuttle us for the day.

Me and my bae <3

It took us about 5 hours to shuttle around the mountain and get to each stage once, it’s a pretty huge forest! Essence ended up joining us halfway through the day, so we got to show the boys how to ride the trails. Once we were done with the pre-riding we headed over to our house we rented which was SO NICE! It was on a private road just along the ocean and had a ton of room for all of us and our bikes! I will definitely be renting this house again for the next race!

Essence and I having fun out pre-riding

On Friday we just did two stages and got some lunch and then headed to the ocean for an ice bath….it was so cold! We did our ice bath at the famous Glass Beach, the boys were being a little sissies with the cold water, Essence and I had to show them how it was done…again! HA!

Race day was here, so we got all of our stuff ready to go and headed over to the venue. We had a fun transfer over to the Manly stage, it was mostly on this brand new single track which was super fun.

When we got to the top I felt a headache coming on, so I took a headache pill hoping that it would go away…it’s not my favorite way to start a race off! Manly was one of the longer stages and even though I felt like I was pedaling, I was making mistake after mistake and my super awesome badass Santa Cruz highschooler, Lily, caught me right at the end of the stage. I was pretty stoked she ripped that fast, but at the same time irritated that I let someone catch me.

Next we pedaled up to Moto, this stage is a super fast open fire road downhill that you have to remember not to grab the brakes on…I felt pretty good except for the little climb in the middle!! That was a bugger!Here are my shots from that stage.

From here we pedaled over to Endo-Ohno-Boiler which was a brand new stage this year and SUPER FUN! It’s steep with lots of switchbacks and fun little whoop-di-dos! I made it down this stage without any mistakes and just had so much fun!

After Endo-Ohno we headed up to Forest History, this was one of the longer transfers of the day. I just put my bike in the easy gear and headed up! This stage is another long stage similar to Moto with lots of tight turns. I focused on being as smooth as possible and tried to minimize my mistakes.

Next we headed over to Purple Skirt, this transfer is one of my favorite transfers along with the stage, which is super fun and twisty (basically all of the trails are! LOL). I had a blast on this stage and went SO MUCH FASTER than I did two years ago on it. It’s fun to see yourself progress over time with racing!

I then headed over to the last stage, Caspar Flats, which is another super fun flowy fast trail. I made it through this stage just fine except for when I got distracted by Melody from Called to Creation…I totally thought the trail went a different way and then I yelled back at her that she distracted me. LOL Here’s her shot from that moment. 🙂

When the race was done, I felt pretty good. I thought I had a pretty good day for the most part, just a few mistakes. I was happy with how I paced myself for the day. It was a total of 42 miles, 7000 ft of climbing and about 7 hours on the bike. When the results came out I was pretty bummed, I was 7th out of 7. Our times were pretty close, I was just a few seconds off the podium and considering the long day we had I was only about a minute and a half back from the leader. This being a fitness course, I realized I was very happy to have been able to be that close to the girls since I’m playing catch up from being off the bike last year. I compared my times on the stages that I could from 2 years ago and I’m pretty sure I could have won the race with this years times back then.

The girls are getting faster this year which is SO AWESOME! More women are getting into the sport and they are pushing harder than they ever have before. At times this year I have gotten pretty frustrated because I feel better than I ever have, I’m training more than I ever have and am really paying attention to my health, but I just can’t seem to quite get the result that I want. Brian keeps reminding me that I am getting my fitness back, which I’m doing great at, but the girls are just that much faster and keep improving so it makes it that much harder for me to try and catch up. I’m going to keep doing my thing and maybe by the end of the season, I will be able to get there. 🙂

Happy pedaling! Next stop will be the first of the CES Golden Tour at China Peak. I can’t wait to race there again since I missed out last year.



CES #2 – Toro Park

This weekend was such a blast!! Not only was it my birthday weekend, but it was the second race of CES!

Brian and I had a couple of super rad friends Brian Astell and Essence Barton staying at the house with us, so we got to trade training and nutrition tips and good stories all weekend! We only wish we had more time to just hang out with them!

Race day arrived quickly on Saturday and was clouded over, which I was happy about since that’s what I typically train in. All of us ladies got ourselves all ready to go and headed up to the first stage for the day.


When we were at the top of stage 1 we realized there was no timer, so we had to wait for the timer to get there which took about 40 min! It was awful because we pedaled up and were warm and sweaty…. and then we had to just sit in the cold. It was not good for my legs! The first stage was a pedally one and I kept trying to push, but I couldn’t get my legs to go even though I was breathing super hard and my heart rate was pinned. I got to the bottom feeling a bit bummed about not going faster!

After that we headed up to stage 2, which is one of my favorite stages. It’s what we locals call Rail Trail because you pretty much rail the whole way down! Once we got to the top of this stage I knew that I had to pin it as fast as I could, so I made it down this stage without making any mistakes. When I finished, I was super excited to see my good friends Kelsey and Zach and Momma and Papa Linder at the bottom of this stage, they came out to support me and it meant the world to me! <3

As I was filling up my water and getting food we checked results and I was sitting in 3rd. I was just a few seconds off of Essence and almost tied with Janea. I knew that I needed to have nearly perfect runs on the next two stages to stay in that group.

I saw the 100% tent set up on the grass and headed over there to tell them about my gloves that I just bought that had already started coming apart. Jason was super nice and hooked me up with a BRAND NEW pair of gloves. THANKS Jason!!

Next I headed up to Stage 3. This stage was the more pedaly downhill of the two DH courses. I pinned it on the top fireroad section, but as soon as we hit the switchbacks I basically had a cone head. It’s like I forgot how to ride a bike!! On one of the switch backs there was a new line and I slowed down to take it, but then I was like….no, don’t take a line you didn’t practice…so I practically stopped to go around the other side that was the line I practiced! CONE HEAD!! I am the one that tells all of my kids, it’s faster to ride a slow line fast than a fast line slow. Ride what you practice!! DOH!! The mistakes continued on down the trail….I was super bummed when I got to the bottom. I knew I messed it up and that sucked!!

Photo by Zach Prater

I then knew I had to make no mistakes on 4 which was going to be difficult as this was the most blown out stage out there. We go after all of the beginners and sports do, so since this is the “technical” trail out there there are a lot of lines that go straight off the trail because the beginners don’t have as much control. So you have to try and stay out of their ruts as much as possible. I think I got myself a little worked up for this race since it’s my home course and I wanted to do well. I again just started making mistake after mistake on this stage and I almost flew off the trail because I got so out of control in the loose “poof dust”. I had to get back on course and make my way down to the finish. I didn’t have any crashes for the day, but I knew all of the mistakes I made cost me a lot. I was happy to have Kelsey, Zach and Momma Linder there waiting for me at the bottom!

Shot by Melody from Called to Creation

Overall it was a great day! I got to hang out with friends and ride my bike, which is always awesome!! I ended up 4th place just a second and a half behind Zephyr, with Essence and Janea on the top two steps.

Brian and I were sitting on the couch after the race talking and he was looking at a magazine, he handed the open page to me and it was the perfect quote for me at the time, “When you have good legs but don’t get the result you want, there’s disappointment. It’s okay though, It’s all part of cycling. Next week we go again!” – Alena Amialiusik, Pro Rider – Canyon/SRAM Racing

The ladies are riding fast this year and I am excited for the next race at Wild Wood!

Thanks to all of my sponsors, this wouldn’t be possible without them!


Love this girl!

Our crew for the weekend!


Girls Rock Race Curious Program

Last Saturday I worked with Girls Rock and California Enduro Series to put on the #racecurious course preview out at Toro Park for CES Round #2.

As most of you know it’s a passion of mine to mentor folks on bikes, especially ladies and young women! We need more of them in the sport that feel confident and empowered to know they understand what they need to if they decide to start racing.

We started out going over how an enduro race works, race etiquette (helping a hurt rider if they need it), nutrition (eat and drink Skratch!), bike check and most important, HAVING FUN!!!

The trails were loose and it was super hot! Us peninsula folks aren’t used to the heat!!!

Since the trails are so loose and will only get worse, I gave some recommendations for going through the switchbacks… look through the turn, lean the bike, strong arms and be confident on where you want to go!

Even though it was a long day, I think the ladies loved it!! I know I did! Nothing makes me happier than being on my bike and riding with rad ladies!!

Huge shout out to Skratch Labs for sending us goodies for the day. We needed the electrolites and recovery after the long hot day on the bike!! You can learn more about their awesome products here.