Last weekend Rheannon and I met Stephanie in Seattle for the Sturdy Dirty, an all women’s enduro race at Issaquah’s Tiger Mountain. Racing enduro was new to all three of us; unfortunately Rheannon didn’t get to race (she would have killed it!) but she did a great job hiding in the corners of the trails, catching great shots of the riders!
The first thing I noticed about this event was the interesting mix of beginners, amateurs, and pros. I suspect a lot of them were like me – goal oriented, wanting to have a good time, but mainly wondering what the hell an enduro race actually was. It made for great people watching and mental note-taking for this newb.
The vibe was friendly and social, and the promoters were definitely angling for enjoyment (while the ladies stood in line at the Tiger Summit waiting to race stage one, a group of men walked around offering us bacon pancakes, energy bars, and blue sno-cones. This involved aprons. It was awesome).
After a few “enduro sized” pancakes and some friend-making in line, Stephanie and I embarked on stage 1 down E. Tiger Summit. This trail network has become one of my favorites. When I was a kid, one of my favorite places was the wave pool at Big Splash. After a day at the water park, my head would be swimming in the waves. The grown-up version: my sleepy mind drifting over rock gardens and root drops.
Honestly there wasn’t as much riding as there was socializing and fun-having. (Riding in a tutu: a characteristic of enduro??) Instead I’ll just give an account of my favorite aid station, “Little Mexico.” Rolling into the bottom of stage 3, we were met with dudes in sombreros and a tidy little tequila bar. I don’t even like tequila but hey, the timed sections were over..
Overall it was a good amount of climbing, which made Stephanie and I happy, a decent amount of descent, and a more than healthy amount of food, ending with a burrito and beer feed and fancy schmancy tiers of cakes. (Side note: my little Shredly jersey did a great job of stashing all the fuel food I grabbed at the aid stations – these products played second fiddle to the tantalizing junk food offerings. I drew the line at Kahlua pudding shots on a hot day but took a mental note to make that magic happen later.)
And the results: I didn’t come in last. This is good. The not so good: the volunteer who kept telling me to go faster. Thank you, sir. I forgot I was in a race for a second there.
Some day I will go faster. My new bike is helping me on this front. But for now I will have to settle for 36 out of 46 in sport class. And the knowledge that I was able to ride so much more since my first visit in April. I’ve got the Eye of the Tiger!
The verdict: While most of my riding experience has been cross country, I had expected, well, more riding. But I got something different from what I was expecting. My first enduro gave me insight about women’s events and excitement about where we can go with No Apologies. Perhaps coolest of all, I have a greater awareness of the different types of awesome ladies out there riding. I think the Sturdy Bitches were aiming for that, and they got me hooked!