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.
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!
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.