Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Enduro Race! Hair of the Dog

Coach Jen with Jr Mt Alpha girl Hannah Wolf
 Montana's Enduro series has been selling out well before the race. Though enduro is a relatively new discipline, its popularity among both men and women is indisputable. While men continue to significantly outnumber the ladies, the women’s fields are growing. Last year when I raced Hair of the Dog it was a small field and I got on podium without really going all-out. I road a safe race because I was injured, this year the field was HUGE!  This is cool because for many women, the sport feels approachable. The emphasis on skill over cross country’s intense fitness demands makes enduro an appealing alternative. While downhill requires a specific bike, most trail bikes these days are enduro race-ready straight out of the box.My bike working since it is super light for XC racing and is full suspension. It is not ideal however, I would like to have more travel in the front since my suspension is only 4 inches, but it gets the job done. Also, I have a wish for small wheel size. Again my bike is rad for racing with 29 inch wheels that power up hills and over osticles, but in enduro having a 26 or 27.5 would be nicer on all the downhill cornering sections.

Honestly enduro feels like a return to my roots. I got into mountain biking in the early 1990s,and John and I would travel too races all summer and enjoy this great community of riders. Enduro races look a lot like the way many of us actually ride mountain bikes—suffer through the climbs in order to rail the descents. The 90's were good times.
Jen at the last stage
This year I was stoked to get a couple of my JR Girls onto Deadman's which is the first section of the Hair of the Dog stages. This trail is really rough, more of a giant rock, motorcycle pain-fest. The motor guys rip it up all summer, so when we get on it, it is usually trashed. But, this is part of the challenge and what I always expect, so it is ok.
Hannah, Coach Jen and Maddy at the top of Deadmans
My Jr Girls included Maddy and Hannah. These two love DownHill, and of course they slayed it. We also went up with some women on our MT Alpha team and they were impressed with my high school girls.

Hannah ended up racing the Enduro and did awesome. She was the only Jr Girl to sign up for the long day which included 3 stages and tons of elevation to climb. I hung back with her and waited at each stage, she rocked the course with only a few wrecks and won a metal at the end of the day during awards.
Hannah - Only Jr Girl to sign up

Montana Enduro Dudes - Love these guys out of Helena

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