August Race Report

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Hi from the NoTubes Ladies!

While some of us are winding our race seasons down, others are just getting wound up for Cyclocross season! August was busy for us – none of this would be possible without all of your help! Thank you!

From Vicki:
My August has been full of 100-mile races in the NUE series. Having equipment and nutrition that is reliable is essential for 100-mile racing, as my bike and body take such a beating! I have really enjoyed racing my Cannondale Scalpel as the full suspension has spared my back, especially on the more rocky courses.

I have been fueling in every race with GU Ultra Endurance, mixed with elete Elecrolytes and water. I also eat 1 pack of chomps every 2ish hours. This has been working really well for me, and I am happy we have such great sponsors.

The beginning of August started with a win on my home course at the NUE Wilderness 101. I am always happy to win at home! The race started a little rough, as I hadn’t yet gotten over the jet lag from cross-country nationals in the UK. Thankfully I came around, and enjoyed another 100 miler (always more with hindsight).

A couple of weeks after the wilderness 101, I headed up to New Hampshire for the Hampshire 100. The course in NH is completely different to the W101, with lots of sharp, steep, single track and double track climbs. The race had some big mud bogs, where I unfortunately snapped my derailleur cable. I managed to push through 75 miles with 2 gears, so was even more relieved to see the finish line and grab another win.

Aside from racing, I was part of a demo video for Stan’s Notubes for the release of their new carbon wheels. I was honored to be able to test ride the wheels, they rode excellently, and I am sure will be a big hit.

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From Amanda:
I had a busy August, focused on my second main objective for the summer, the Breck Epic. On August 3rd, I tuned up for Breck at Pierre’s Hole, a National Ultra Endurance Series race at Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, WY. This year I opted for the 50 mile version and placed first with a time of 4:45.

Next up was Breck Epic, a 6-day stage race in Breckenridge, Colorado, one of my most favorite (and hardest) races I’ve ever done. As the defending champ, the pressure was on against a strong international field that included riders from Canada, Norway, the US and Belgium. Each stage varied from 3:45-4:30 hours of saddle time with 5,000-7,500 feet of climbing, all above an elevation of 9,600 feet. I was stoked with my performance as I rode a very strategic and strong race, slowly building my lead throughout the week. In the end, I held on for the overall win with a near 10-minute margin over 2nd place. I took home the “Stage Racing World Champion Jersey” which of course is an arbitrary, non-UCI endorsed title, yet pretty darn cool nonetheless.

Winning the Breck Epic for the 2nd time was definitely the highlight of my year. There were 5 women every day that could win a stage so it was by far the most strategic and stressful stage race I have ever done. It’s also one of my favorite places to ride a bike. It was also extra fun because Sue, Shannon and I enjoyed the entire experience as a team – plus, we had killer mechanical and feed support from our awesome mechanic Chris George. I think it was the best week of racing bikes of my life!

After a quick 2 weeks off (during which I completed the IMBA Level 2 Instructor Certification Course) I was ready to roll again for my last mountain bike event of the year, the Grand Junction Off Road. Although still a bit tired from Breck, the super-technical nature of the course lured me there, plus Stan’s was a title sponsor for this Epic Rides inaugural event. Although my downtown crit was cut short with 2 laps to go when I opted to stop to help a heavily crashed rider, I had a great day in Sunday’s main 40-mile event, finishing on the podium in 5th in 3:51.

It was a killer event – I was so stoked to be able to support it. It had a technical, hard course, big community support behind the entire weekend and equal payout for the pro men and women. It was an awesome way to wrap up my mountain bike season – grinning all weekend, fun times with the team and of course, killer support from the entire Stan’s crew.

I am now looking forward to kicking off my cross season on Sept. 18 at Cross Vegas, where I will be continuing to represent the Stan’s brand on the Stan’s NoTubes Elite Cyclocross team.

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From Sarah:
I started August with some East Coast XC racing and finished it off with a monster endurance race in my own backyard, here in Park City.

First up was the Catamount Pro XCT in Vermont. Having grown up right next door in Massachusetts, I was also able to turn this into a trip home to see family. The course at Catamount was some really fun singletrack mixed with some power-sucking grassy stretches, with a few gnarly gap jumps thrown in. I wound up 13th in the XC and 12th in the STXC the following day.

I spent a few days at home in Massachusetts, then headed north with fellow Stan’s athlete Erica Tingey for the only North American round of the mountain bike World Cup, in Quebec. This was the fourth time i have had the honor of racing a World Cup and it still feels like a totally new experience. It is so amazing to line up with the fastest women in the world, hear all the different languages and see the different cultures represented. Truly wild. The course at Mont Saint Anne is one of the most technical courses on the World Cup circuit and certainly more technical than we ever typically race. I love it! Though I wasn’t totally thrilled to finish near the back and to be pulled, the experience is such an amazing one, it is hard to be down about it.

After a whirlwind couple of weeks, it was time for the Park City Point 2 Point – a monster of a race right here in Park City. Unfortunately I came down with some kind of stomach bug in the days leading up to the race and suffered a great deal of GI distress during the race. But knowing how burly the race is, I knew that everyone would face their own adversity and that sometimes in endurance races, just holding on and finishing can be a rewarding result in and of itself. Those thoughts kept me motivated and I stuck with it to finish 5th.

Now I am just doing my final preparations for my last race of the year, the Pisgah Stage Race, a 5-day stage race in North Carolina. This is one I have been looking forward to for a long time and I think it will be a great way to close out this season.

Photo credit: Jennie Wade
Photo credit: Jennie Wade

From Mical:
Wow, the end of the Transrockies Epic 7 day Stage Race….my 6th year racing, and it was absolutely amazing yet again. I’ve raced the the coed 3 times, twice with the super fun Mr. Tubby Butt (aka Jeff Neilson), twice in the TR3 (3 day edition) and my final time in the solo 7 day….grabbing my 5th Transrockies win. Really sad to see it come to an end, but really excited for the 2014 Singletrack 6 that is being spawned from the race. New format, new venue and exciting new trails! It’s going to be so rad…I already can’t wait!!

The first 3 days were in the beautiful Fernie, BC, easily my favourite place to mountain bike in the world! TR3 racers started with us, and this was a stacked field, keeping the pace for the first 3 days really high for all us 7 day’ers too. Day 1, I had a tough battle with Jean Ann Berkenpas to the finish line, attacking on the last long climb and running scared for the 20 mins of downhill back into the finish, opening up a 28 second gap. Day 2, Pork Blue, is never a great day for me….the hour 45 climbing kicks my rear end every year!! I can hold on for about an hour, then I start to crack. Petra Tlamkova, the European climbing machine living in Whistler crushed the day, beating most of the men to the top! I limited my losses to around 4 minutes, making up some time on the steep downhill, and Jean Ann took the leaders plate. Day 3 started an finished up at the ski hill and encorporated some classic singletrack………love, love, love. Super steep climbing and very fast right singletrack descents. I had a great start, slotting in between some men into the first singletrack downhill and rocked it! I really enjoyed this day and was riding strong. My Cannondale Scalpel was climbing like the billy goat it is, and I was holding on for dear life on the descents…using the full power of the Magura brakes! The last looooooong, and I mean never ending climb, I looked over my shoulder to see Jean Ann working hard to close the gap. She caught and passed me as we laboured up the climbs….my legs burning, praying for the end of the climb. Hitting the Mega-Sore-Ass with 2 guys between myself and Jean Ann, I watched the first guy crash hard on the wet wooden bridge right at the start of the trail….great way to start a technical downhill. Cyclocrossing around him as he yelled is was okay, I hammered the downhill…wahoooooooooooooo, so fun, and crossed the line 2 seconds behind Jean Ann

Due to the major Kananaskis flooding, the route was drastically altered and we ended up staying 2 days in Blairmore…camped out beside the busy railway track. It’s been a number of years since I’ve ridden the Crowsnest and I was really excited to see what Crowsnest Coffee master, Troy Misseghers had in store for us. Day 4 was a short fast day, I had a great start, managing to stick with the guys on the long road start, which made for a world of difference through the single track. Once we hit the super long steep hike-a-bike to the back side of Pass Powderkeg, the local ski hill, all that was left was to enjoy the fun new switchbacks into town. I had a great day on the bike, putting in 3 mins on Jean Ann and taking back the leaders plate. Day 5 brought back some memories of the more classic Transrockies days….longer with lots of climbing, epic views, and wide open descents…….55 km our longest day of the week, which is about half of the typical long TR day…crazy!! (can’t believe I did those 100 plus km days back to back). I had another solid day, just staying out of reach of Jean Ann, just over the next hill and just around the next corner, surviving the gnarly loose sharp and moving babyhead rock field….thank you Stan’s NoTubes and Kenda tires for not flatting!!

Day 6 was a long day, long transfer in the morning to Kananaskis, and big climb backwards on some classic big mountain trails. Honestly, I’ve never even considered riding up Cox hill downhill…it’s such a fantastic downhill……and it ended up being a lot of hiking and slow steep climbing. I got dropped pretty quickly on the road into Cox hill, left my legs in the Crowsnest Pass, Petra was gone, but I managed to keep Jean Ann in sight. We ended up climbing a long time together, but I managed to slowly put a little gap between us. 1 hour to the top, with some refreshing cold mountain rain, I was really hurting at this point. Once you hit the top, there are still a couple really good hard climbs….which I never realized having always ridden in the opposite direction. Once I hit the downhill I was in no mans land the rest of the day, a sorry place to be when I hit the road. Again, due to flooding, there was a major reroute and we ended up having to finish on 8 km of road…..and it just so happened to be sleeting and hailing and raining and windy and miserable….and I suffered the whole way in. Petra put some good time on my, but I held onto the leading position for the night.

The final Day 7, from Deadman’s Flats to Canmore was TT style, with 20 second gaps. Starting with some tight slow singeltrack, it was a grind to get the legs moving on day 7. Really big climb to the highest point on the nordic centre followed by some Canada Cup/Nationals fast technical single track……sooooooo fun! Long rolling hills out to the last check point and the slow log back into town. I took the win on the day, securing my first 7 day solo victory!!

It’s funny, racer brain kicks in pretty quickly, just about when we are sitting around the table at the banquet watching the footage from the week….can’t wait for Singletrack 6!!

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photo: Gibson Photos
photo: Gibson Photos

From Sue:
August was all about traveling and riding in Colorado with the highlight being the Breck Epic six day mountain bike stage race. I faired well at the high altitude winning three of the stages and ending up third in the overall and second in the enduro category. It was great hanging with teammates Shannon Gibson who won the 40+ and Amanda Carey who won the overall and is surely the queen of stage racing in the U.S. It was also amazing to have access to our team mechanic for a week. Chris George worked hard dealing with the heavy workload of supporting three women at a stage race. There is nothing like a stage race to utilize all our sponsor products to the max. I was supplied with the best tools for the job, from the sweet Cannondale Scalpel, Kenda Kozmik Lites, Stans No Tubes Race Golds, Magura MT 8 brakes, Fizik Antares saddle, GU energy products, Elete Hydration, Uvex helmets, Pro Gold Lube and Northwave shoes. Many, many thanks!

Thank you again for all of your continued support. We are so proud to represent you all – you make this possible!

Race shot courtesy of VAST Action Sports
Race shot courtesy of VAST Action Sports

Sue . . . enduro-ready!
Sue . . . enduro-ready!