Getting through the snow and mud at the top was definitely taxing but fun. I was even more wigged out at the start of Stage 1. It had sections that were -68% grade downhill in the most epic conditions we had seen. I am good with a certain length of insanely steep trail and features. This trail had no breaks in steepness. I was on and off my bike a lot and walking where I shouldn’t have been.
This was the case for the rest of the stages as well. My confidence was completely shattered from the day before, my brain had gone into neurological overload mode and I was unable to make those split second decisions. I was afraid of crashing on my hip again – the pain was excruciating. Day 6- I was not the same rider that I had been all week. Something had shifted. I was also nursing the mechanical from the day before that was unfixable. I did my best to get myself and my bike to the finish line in one piece, but it was not pretty. The adrenaline was gone and I felt overwhelmed.
I had found my limit. It cost me dearly. I hemorrhaged time on each descent. Huge props to my competition – 2 of them rode particularly well and thrived in the extra gnarly conditions, especially Gina Jane!
My reserved manner ended up causing me more crashes. I rode the final descent to the race with my handlebars crooked – no time to fix it! When we finished at the lakefront beach, I was totally exhausted – mentally, emotionally, physically. It had been awhile since I had felt that way at a finish line (well, actually …just since May, haha!)
Make sure you watch all the Trans BC Enduro videos. They are so fantastic and only about 2 minutes each.
So how did it end up? 6 of the most challenging days (downhill) I had ever ridden, major growth as a rider, a lot of learning, mechanicals and flat tires, trail running, and being pushed far past my adrenaline limits. AMAZING new friends and a SOLID group of women – I have never been at a race with so many encouraging and special ladies.
Results? I lost my 3rd place GC spot by a mere 15 seconds in the end and ended up 4th. I was happy for Gina who took 3rd- she absolutely killed it and deserves every bit of it (especially the last 2 days). It was inspiring and I hope to be that strong someday soon! However, I was completely gutted to miss the podium by that tiny amount after 4 hours of race time and 6 days of persevering through flat tires, crashes, and some of the craziest riding I’ve ever done. I did my very best, there were big mishaps along the way, but I couldn’t change what had happened. In the end, on day 6 I just simply cracked (mentally) and lost about 4 minutes. I learned a LOT about how to be faster without even needing to change anything about my riding style (simple equipment and clothing tweeks). I also learned how to change my riding style to get faster – on an XC bike, we are so used to braking a lot before features because if you hit stuff at that speed on 100mm of travel, you’ll die! On an enduro bike? You can RIP it! It’s a tough mental shift! I always expect the best of myself and it was hard to let it go. How did I get over my disappointment? I let myself be sad about it, I didn’t let myself make excuses, and I focused on the positives. It was my second ever enduro, the field was stacked, and I was being WAY too hard on myself.
That race will go down as one of the rowdiest, competitive, FUN, challenging, and cool adventures in my book. I got to see some amazing places that I’m definitely going to visit again, ride stuff I never thought I could, made some fantastic friends, and I can’t wait to do more enduros! That’s the special thing about trying a new discipline- the first ones are always the most extraordinary! If you want to read about my first enduro (the Trans New Zealand Enduro Stage Race – check it here).
Next up? Singletrack 6! A 6 day XC stage race. The hardest part right now is getting used to the XC bike and XC tires again!!
This Topeak SmartGauge was probably the most important tool for the whole race! Everyone was constantly checking their tire pressure and a bunch of people borrowed this beauty!