Author: Cheri Felix
(Photo Credit: 303Photo)
There’s this great line in a song by Phillip Phillips. It goes like this; “Hold my head up just to keep it clear. I want a chance to face my fear, face my fear.” That pretty much sums up the Big Mountain Enduro for me. I signed up not really thinking too much about the fact that I would A) have to ride up the chair lift multiple times and B) that I would scare myself like I did and C) that I would make such cool new women friends.
The Big Mountain Enduro is a five race series. The first two are done but it’s not too late to get in on the action. Keystone, Durango and Moab are still to come. So let’s get to it cause I know you want to know if I peed myself on the chair lift. Cause if you know me you know that I have a severe phobia of heights. And I’m also not a fan of peeing myself.
So, here it is. Enduros are multi stage and multi day races. For this particular race we had six stages over two days. Everyone races the same trail. The pros, the young ones and the old ones. The girls and the boys. That means it’s tough. But in a good way. In a good scary way. I’m not going to lie to you. There were parts of the race that I honestly thought, “What the hell am I doing?” Some parts were hard. Some parts (a lot of them) were flowy just like I like it and some parts were just ovaries out tough. And although quitting wasn’t an option I did feel a bit in over my head at times.
But let me tell you what. It was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. I tested my mettle. I saw what I could do. I saw what I could do when I pushed fear aside. I saw that I could trust my skills. I saw that I’m pretty good. Not the best but definitely good. And I made friends. There was Jeff who said “Sit by me” on the chair lift so I wouldn’t be scared. And there were all the cool women that I raced with; Sylvia. Roxy, Debbie, Shona, Jacque and Marcy. Very cool and very strong and very good. And there was Gavin and David that took me under their wing in the Elevation Cycles Tent. All of them combined as well as the folks at Big Mountain Enduro made it a stellar weekend.
The way it works is you race your stage and then you wait until the next one. That can take a while but Enduro is unlike any other race I’ve done. Normally you ride your heart out for 20 minutes, an hour or two hours and you pack it up and you go home. Enduro is like a sweet long date. It’s like a simmering stew on the stove on a cold winter’s night. It’s like the night you met “the one” and you stayed up all night talking. It takes time. There’s no rushing it. And if you’ve got the time and the patience, it’s worth it. A million times over and over.
Women and Enduro do go together. I loved racing with the other women over 40 and I LOVED meeting the 19 year old girls and everyone in between. If you like to ride fast and you think downhill is fun, check it out. You might just end up with some new friends and some new found respect for yourself. Like I did.
And no I didn’t pee in my chamois. Apparently I’m not afraid of chair lifts anymore.