Beti Bike Bash from the Inside


Photo Credit: Jendz Photography

My Beti Bike Bash: Race, Don’t Podium, Repeat. Why I Love to Race Even Though I Never Win.

My friends are amazed I race. It’s not that I race expert or that I always win. It’s that I don’t win. And I’m no expert. I’ve never won or been on the podium. Except once. Last year I placed first in my category at a race held at the Valmont Bike Park. O.K. So I was the only woman in my category. Oh well. It’s still the podium I guess. I think people think you have to win or at least come close to winning to want to race. That’s sort of like only trying things (like marriage, having kids, a new job,) if you think you’ll be good at it or be the best. Wow. Our country would go to hell in a hand basket if everyone operated that way.

The Beti Bike Bash was the brain child of Amy Thomas, team member/manager of the Yeti Beti’s. The race is designed to encourage women who love to ride on dirt to try racing. On the website for the race it says, “Race does not have to be a four letter word.” It is the only all women’s mountain bike race in Colorado (and we think in the country). Last Sunday, 252 women crossed the finish line and Amy figures that about 30% of those women were first timers. Of course there was pure awesomeness in the pro race; Heather Irmiger, Chloe Woodruff, Erin Huck, among others, but the beginner group was huge and I saw a lot of regular shorts (read no Lycra), t-shirts and tennis shoes on the starting line. It was a perfect day for racing with the air being a bit crisp and blue skies overhead. On the starting line, women rubbed their bare arms for warmth, tried to settle their nerves and said things like, “What was I thinking?”

But you might be asking yourself why does she race if she never wins (or even comes close to it)? I’m never going to be a professional mountain biker. I may never get to the podium and I routinely get my butt handed to me at short track racing. The reason I do it is simple. Because I can. Or as I like to say, “Because I get to.” My mom had a stroke at the ripe old age of 49 (sarcasm) that left her in a wheelchair until her death from ovarian cancer at 58. I’m 43 and 5/6th. What if that’s my future? What if these are the healthiest and strongest days of my life? What if? None of us knows what’s coming up or what’s around the corner. What if you go out and try a race and you don’t win and you never get close to the bee-hinds of the women who climb up on the podium. Who cares? You shouldn’t.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to win and I’d love to finally beat so and so out at short track. But if I never do, it doesn’t mean I’m not good. It just means someone is better than me. Racing is not for everyone. But for those of you are thinking about trying it, what are you waiting for? Tick tock. Tick tock.

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14 Comments

Awesomeness

Cheri Felix, you are a champion. The podium means nothing young lady, lining it up to race means everything, and you get that, and you are the reason I love to announce bike races, because there are so many damn cool people who challenge themselves and have fun at the same time on bikes. I'm sorry for your mother's early departure from this planet, but you have chosen the correct and noble path, take the good, move forward, and live for today! Simply signing up to participate in a race takes great courage and character. The Beti Bike Bash was put together so spirits like yourself can better experience life and meet people who also like the idea of facing a new challenge while meeting great people and having FUN. Sunday was amazing. SO MANY beginner woman smiling, fist pumping and psyched to be a part of something special with no pressure. GREAT job Sunday, and bring ten of your friends next year! One of the best events period because of what it brings to the table for a fantastic group of people....thank you for sharing your story. Larry Grossman

Beti bash

 i loved the race report you shared because when asked why I am attempting an Ironman next week, I answered exactly the same, because I can!  My cousin Mike dropped dead from a heart attack at 50, one grandmother died from Alzheimer's and the other is alive at 95 but is basically homebound.  Not sure what the future holds for me doing is far more worth for me then a podiun finish!  i can, I will, I do it!
While I did not do Beti Bash this year, I have in the past. The Yeti Beti's provide a wonderful opportunity for many for us to experience a type of event we would not normally do! They should be recognized for putting on a great event. Cheers to the Yeti Beti's!!!!

Awesome posts!

We love reading all the positive posts. It's why we host the Beti Bike Bash and will continue to do so. It's great to provide a needed race and we love seeing all the excitement for women's mountain biking! Cheers to all the happy finishers. Podiums or not, everyone is a champion in our book. With our team and our great network of sponsors and support we look forward to 2013.

Love it!

You capture the spirit of sport so well. The experience is so much bigger than a single result. And this is exactly why this event is so awesome and so important for the cycling community. Cheri your positive attitude is contagious!

Perspective

I've tried for years to articulate what you have so eloquently stated... I race because I can and because I get to. I enjoyed volunteering and seeing all the ladies (and girls) out on the course. Congrats to everyone who dared to 'toe the start line'. It takes a lot of courage to race for the first time (and sometimes for the hundredth time)... That's what makes it so fun, you never know what will happen, everything is different, every time you ride or race.

Great Job to the YetiBeti's and to everyone who made it all possible!

Thank You!

Great race report Cheri! You said it perfectly! As someone who has survived a stroke and faced the possibility of not being able to ride, or race again, I race for the same reasons; because I can. Being on the podium is a treat. But, racing is really about the experience, the challenge, the friends you meet and that feeling you get when you roll across the finish line. Thank you for your inspiriation! You truly are a champion!

beti bash

I've raced MTB's on and off over the years with never a thought of of being on the podium - it's just fun! It was a real treat just to line up this year after a badly broken hip 8 months ago. I'll keep racing so long as I'm smiling at the finish. thx Beti Bash for a great opportunity!

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