Women MTB racers have long occupied a small niche within the mountain bike community, and elite downhillers remain a rare breed, but Urban MTB girls are probably the smallest niche.
This is why the downtown urban eliminator race had even fewer girls willing to participate. Imagine racing on concrete and hucking a big gap jump with hundreds of people cheering in downtown Missoula. F.R.I.G.H.T.I.N.G
However, I always sign up for stuff like this. I don't know why, I guess it sounds fun to me and I think I can possibly do it. (John says I can be too positive for my own good.) Anyway, I got seeded with the #1 Pro racer. This girl was all business, so when we lined up together to charge full speed through Missoula's downtown concrete parking lot with screaming fans, I was crapping my pants.
On the course were massive logs to bunny hop, a long skinny 2x4 tabletop with a drop and a big gap jump at the end. I was determined to ride every feature and not take the "chicken line" since it was slower. I figured since this girl was a pro, she would ride every obstacle with grace, so my race plan was set.
When the whistle blew we were off, I stayed on her wheel to the first obstacle, then I noticed she was riding safe. She was not aggressive over the logs and was avoiding the table top skinny, so I powered though the features and got the lead. All I had to do was jump the gap to the finish. Coming toward the screaming fans (which included kids I coach, kids I teach, all the bike shops, other pros and most of Missoula since it was "Out to dinner" on Thursday night) I felt confident. U.N.F.O.R.T.U.N.A.T.E.L.Y........I wrecked off the jump. Not sure what I did, but I jumped up imminently with a bleeding arm and ran with my bike to the finish line only to have the Pro wiz by after she took the "B" line and did not jump. C.L.A.S.S.I.C
It was a good show for the crowd however, and of course my husband was at the end with look of "Why do you sign up for this?" - Ha ha, well, I had fun. And really, it was a good example of what happens when the "A" line doesn't work out. The girl that played it safe wins.
Not that I had ANY expectation of beating any of the Pro Women, but hey, a girls gotta try. Kudo's to the organizers for putting on a fun event, the hope was to pull folks interest to the MissoulaXC Pro Race on Saturday and I think the Eliminator did the job.
Check out the Missoulian article featuring this race and on of the boys that I coached the whole week in MTB CAMP. It was awesome that Mason got to compete with the Pro Men on his giant downhill bike. H.I.L.A.R.I.O.U.S.
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