Team ShredBettys Persevere in 24 Hour GP

GETMETOCA

Can't Wait For Tuesdays
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#1
Man, I am WORE OUT!!!!  I can hardly move today, stiff and sore.  But you cannot wipe the smile off my face that's for sure! 

The ShredBetty's (that would be Me, 4EverOrange (Leanne), MudnRocks (Kimberly), NEOregonKTM (Katy), and Emily) decided to enter the Starvation Ridge 24 hour Grand Prix up in Washinton State.  Turns out we were the only womens' team so we had to enter the Amatuer class which was 22 teams strong.  We have been so excited these past few months preparing, emails were flying back and forth for gear recommendations, weather reports, bike prep, pit crew, food, lighting systems for the night time, who's ridden the course before? All kinds of stuff!  This was one team that left no rock unturned for possibilities and info.

I flew up to Portland, Oregon on Friday and 4EverOrange picked me up at the airport.  My friend Mark (velosapiens) was on his way up to Washington with my bike and most of my gear and some other pit camp essentials like a coffee pot and table, and cook stove, tarps,. etc.  All of my other team mates were bringing stuff for the pit camp, so everything was covered.  I really felt like a factory rider flying in and having my bike driven up, hehe :cool:

So Leanne (4EO) and I drive the rest of the way from Portland to Starvation Ridge, near Eddieville, WA.  We stop at Gresham KTM for some parts, the grocery store for pit nourishment and then for Chinese Food cuz we're hungry.  It was a blustery cold day with no sunshine in sight.  We get to the ridge and velosapiens is already there setting up our ez up in our designated spot on Pit Row.  The hills are barren and slopy and the course looks like a wide dirt track, kind of an old MX style track.  The Over the Bars Gang is hosting this show and some of the members come over and greet us.  They point out the newly included "woods" section so we walk over and check it out.  Its about 50 yards of woods, pretty tight with overarching limbs that are adorned with christmas twinkly lights for the night time so no one slams their noggin - cool!  It actually is pretty tight in there but Mark jokes with some other teams that the ShredBetty's thought it looked like a freeway and that's where we were gonna pass people. :)  After you exit the "woods" there's a pond with some mowed down reeds next to it and originally I thought the reeds were gonna be snotty and slick, but that was the best traction we had all weekend looking back!

More and more teams arrive, including the rest of the ShredBettys, Kimi, Katy, and Emily.  Our pit crew consists of Mark/velosapiens, Kimi's husband Jeff, and Katy's husband Alan.  Leann's Dad Ken was providing night time lighting expertise and pit support to not only our team but to another team that both Leanne and Emily's husbands were racing on. 

We go sign in at the race office and we get a bag full of race goodies including a Barbie "Princess" fanny pack that will hold our transponder wand.  The Princess fanny pack must be passed from team member to team member when the "switch" occurs after so many laps.  THe scoring will be electronic. We also get blinking red lights that we are to attach to our outer self while riding at night, a map of the course, some coupons for biscuits and gravy between midnight and 2 am from the concessions stand and a coupon for pizza delivery between 9 pm and 11 pm by the local Pizza Hut - imagine that, pizza brought to your camp in the middle of nowhere! The OTBG club thought of everthing!  They even had one of those fancy mobile Expresso/Mocha wagons there for 24 hours and it was right across Pit Row from our camp!!!  Wooo hoooo!!!

We chat with other teams then all of us hole up in Kimi and Jeffs trailer to plan out our strategy for rider sequence and number of laps.   We all agreed to adjust and be flexible and its a good thing because the original plan of riding 3 laps each at night went out the window after doing only 2 each during the daytime.   We share a little wine and beer and get something to eat then we all head to bed for some much needed sleep.  We won't be getting much sleep from here on out.

Morning arrives and its a beautiful chilly day.  We attend the riders meeting and meet more people.  Looks like 50 teams are entered and 5 "Iron Men" have also entered - I can't wait to see how they fare, they are very brave.  We sing the star spangled banner and then are reminded that no matter how cold, wet, tired, miserable, sore and crummy we may feel over the next 24 hours, our troops over seas were feeling the same misery but they weren't there for the fun.  A sobering thought that I reviewed throughout my 24 hour experience.  :worship:

4EverOrange will lead us off, me 2nd, Emily 3rd, Katy 4th and MudnRocks 5th.  Leanne gets a great start and of the line we follow her off into the horizon before we lose sight of the riders in a cloud of thick dust.  The dust is so thick!!  I wonder what its going to be like.  Leanne will do two laps and she comes in at 35 and 38 minutes for each of her two laps.   I get the handoff in pit row and its a flurry of people grabbing the Princess fanny pack with the transponder off Leanne and buckling it onto me, my hands are in the air to give them room.  Snap, buckle, GO!!  I'm off and my chest is full of butterlies and anticipation.  The woods section is first and I'm in and out rather quickly with no mishaps.  Then the reeds and onto the main GP track.

This dirt is WEIRD!!!  Its silty and thick and dusty and there are lots of corners and I worry about going too fast and washing out and my back end fishtails a bit.  The course is 11.67 miles and I'm faily timid the first few miles because I'm not sure how to ride this dirt.  The course was nice and wide so I didn't get nervouse when people passed me ,but it sure made it hard to see with all the dust that ensued.  About half way through the course I start feeling a lot more confident and step it up a tad.  There's a vacant farmouse we must ride through to the other side - three doorways about 30" wide.  Its like getting your bars through two trees that are not quite wide enough, three in a row.  They give you the option of parking your bike outside the house, running through the farmhouse and retreiving your bike before you could continue (wuss option - LOL!).  I got through the farmhouse with a little banging of the ascerbis barkbusters, but through I went no worse for wear. 

After the farmhouse was an uphill/downhill, sharp right hander then back uphill and I could see two bikes crashed on the latter uphill.  I figured I'd better hunker down and stay focussed, try not to get squirelly.  I did NOT want to wrestle my bike off that hill, the soil was loose, rutted and whooped out.  I wanted to do it right the first time SO BAD!   I take a good deep breath, position myself on the ktm and take a stab at it.  The first uphill wasn't so bad, the downhill was pucker-y and then the longer uphill climb came.....Up, up, up I went!  I motored in 2nd gear right past fallen rider #1, right past fallen rider #2 - YAY I made it to the top!!!!  I was so happy and proud but the thought of doing that same hillclimb at night was now weighing heavy on my mind.  :ugg:

The rest of the course was uneventful except for one get off that left my right knee scabbed up from the impact of landing on a rock.  I'm so glad I had on the knee guards!  I was going too fast and hit a whoop and got thrown off my bike.    On my second loop I really got into a groove and even hit 5th gear in some of the wide open fast places.  Okay, I was in 5th gear for maybe 50 yards before I got scared and shifted back down to 3rd gear, my "comfort zone".  I was really feeling pretty good overall.  I was finally figuring out the loose silty deep dirt, dealing with the ruts and corners and whoops.  There were some funky jumps that you could not see what was on the other side and they had warned us about strategic ponds that one might end up in.  After the first loop I knew which ones to slow down on, which ones had the right hand turns at the bottom and which ones you could just fly off and have a good time. 

I pulled 45 minute laps both times and I was feeling good about that too.   I knew I was the slow one, but my times were not as far off as I thought they would be, they were pulling times of 35, 40, 42 and 39.  To give an idea of how the pro's were doing, they were pulling in 23 minute laps for the 11.67 mile track.  Most teams were averaging 28-35 minutes I think.   I met one guy who was pulling 45 minute laps just like me and I felt like I found a kindred spirit! The night time laps were a different story....ug!  Katy was the only one who amazingly pulled the same 41 minute night time laps as her daytime laps.  WOW!  The rest of us added anywhere from 12-25 minutes onto our daytime laps (guess who added 25 - DOH!)

We get through the day and everyone comes in from their laps estatic.  We were all feeling great, very energetic.  I took out a hay bail coming into the checkpoint, but managed to keep it on two wheels and made the handoff to Emily.  Emily is shy girl but she RIPS on her RM125!  Katy and Kimi both rode kTm400 exc's and Leanne tears it up on her kTm200.  OUr pit crew is taking very good care of us.  Our bikes are whisked away from us to be re-fueled, checked over, staged for our next laps.  We are handed water, soup, snacks, coffee, blankets, mittens a portable heater is kept there for warmth, our every need is met!

Night time falls, temperatures drop, and everyone is starting to slow down mentally and physically.  We're layering ride clothes and I go for the thermal sweater, raingear, longjohns, two pair socks routine.  It even starts to snow a little but it doesn't stick.  It would be nice to wet up the silty dirt a bit, but its just plain cold and the track just gets dustier to boot.  At 10 PM I grab a few winks in the front seat of Mark's truck.  I can't figure out why I'm so cold even though I have two blankets. I realize my layers of gear are all sweat soaked wet so I go change into fresh gear and finally grab an hour of rest.  Leanne is rapping on the window with her knuckles and informs me that she's heading out and I'm up next.  I remember the troops overseas.

Leanne comes back in to the pit area after just one lap, her light system has run out of juice and she can't see very well with just the ktm headlight.  I'm on it!!  The fanny pack is transferred to me, I adjust my Nite RIder lighting system and I'm off!  My light system will run for about 4 hours so I get in two laps with no trouble and 2.5 hours later I hand off to Emily.    I go recharge my light system in one of the trailers,  I will need it once more later in the night.    We adjust the schedule and have Leanne and Emily pull two laps later on when it gets light out and Katy and Kimi  pull additional night laps.   They come back in reporting a lot of riders whose lights went out, its all chaotic.  Team ShredBetty holds steady.

The night riding was so weird!  Riding through the farmhouse was so funny, people were all huddled around a campfire drinking beer, cheering you on as you flew through the house.  Sometimes I would smell bacon frying in the house too.  That hill I was talking about earlier was now the debil......yep, I bit it on that uphill, the one I was so smuggly passing downed riders on during the daylight hours.  Damn!  Not only did I crash, but I got roosted left and right by all the other riders struggling to get up the hill.  Wamp wamp wamp, wrrrrrrr wamp wrrrrrrrr vvvvrrrooooom!  During my moment of despair and frustration, I did take note that everyone making it up the hill was most difinitely making their way to the left side lines and getting traction off the not-so-chewed up weeded side next to the fenceline.  Okay, I yank my bike in that direction, get it upright, start it and baby it over to some weeds.  Then its my turn to wamp! wamp! wrrrrrrrrrrrr vrooooom!!!!! and off I go.  I wasted soooooo much time getting off that hill, it was such a relief to get going.  Unfortunately, my goggles were toast.  Full of dirt and sweat and no amount of spit and wiping would clean them up.  I rode the remaining 7 miles with no goggles.

Dust at night was a nightmare, I HATED getting passed cuz I knew it was gonna be one big dust bowl.  Had to slow way down, sometimes even stop completely til it cleared.  There was one zen-like period of about 3 miles when I saw no one whatsoever.  No one ahead, no one behind.  It was like I was in my own little dark world.  Me and my kick-ass light system.   I was pooped out by the time I completed two laps.  3:30 am and I begged for couch space in Leanne's parents trailer.  2 hours later and the knuckles are rapping on the door again..... time to gear up again, this time I'm sore all over and groggy for lack of true sleep. I think of the troops overseas yet again.

My last lap is in the daylight and the coffee is kicking in and I'm planning to have a great final lap for my 24 hour experience.  I get into the "woods" section and promply drop my bike and get it wedged good between a tree and a big rock.  I have jammed up the trail and even Zio's colon blow can't unclog this drain.   A pro rider flys up and looks at me struggling with the bike.  He doesn't offer to help so I offer up the bike like its the yellow brick road and he takes that path.   I can't really blame him (there was a $2500 purse for the pro's in this race).  No harm done to the bike, its all good.  I just want to get the bike out of the way, I hate holding people up.  Then next guys stop and help and its all good again.  All is well, I continue on my way.

A few miles later I come across a guy who has fouled a plug.  I pull over to see if I can help since people have been really nice to me in my times of need.  He does not have a spare plug and asks me if I can ride him back to camp.  I say "sure" but ask if he will pilot, I am convinced that I will somehow kill us both if I am at the helm.  I can see from his number plate that he's in the 30+ Expert class.  I tell him not to go too fast because it will make me nervous, he says "OK!" and off we go two-up on my kTm.  Its amazing to realize just how slow you really are when an Expert guy's idea of slow is twice as fast as you normally go.  We bottomed out a few times and I thought we were gonna go down in the silty corners and ruts but he kept the bike on two wheels and maintained control the whole time.  Had us both laughing a couple times in the whoops.  What a ride!  We decide that he'll get a ride from one of the crew at the farmhouse back to camp.  Me and my bike continue on in our 2nd gear mode, back to normal for us.

Emily brings in the final 2 laps and we complete 29 whole laps as a team!  Whooooohooooo!  We place 19th in the Amatuer class and even though we were the only women's team entered, the Over the Bars Gang award us with a big first place trophy for the Women's class and thank us for coming out, hoping our success will attract more women to the event next year.

I took a shower in Kimi and Jeff's motorhome and what a sweet shower it was.  I think there is dirt permanently engrained in my chin, however and no amount of scrubbing helped.  Leanne dropped me off at the Portland airport and I was asleep even before the plane took off.  I kept dreaming of the Starvation Ridge course; every turn, uphill, whoop, rut, corner.  I kept waking myself up with a startled jerk just as  I dreamed of washing out or blowing a corner.  I am sure the guy sitting next to me thought I was nuts.  I am very sore today and the bruises from a few falls are showing up now. 

This was an event I will definitely want to do again next year!   It was tough and tiring and really pressed my limits physically and mentally, but it sure was a lot of fun!  My special thanks to Mark for driving my bike up and to the rest of the pit crew for for all of your superb support!  And a GREAT BIG HIGH FIVE to my Shred Betty team mates - you ROCK!!!!

Natalie

 
 
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RockyRoads

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#7
Natalie,
You truly are an inspiration!!! Thanks for sharing such a GREAT ride report! WOW!!! :worship:

Kathy
 

RetSenior

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#8
Damn, normally I don't read anything that long but because Nat wrote it I did. Awesome Nat, great report and great ride. Yep the girls rock.
 

Danman

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#9
WTG! Have a nanna :yeehaw: That should help the bruising. As JP said :worship:
 
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#11
Wow, Great write up, that was an awesome ride report Natalie!!!

It was great being one of the team members, it was such an incredible experience! Wahoo, we DID good!

Kimi
 

BSWIFT

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#13
Great Job Shred-Betty's!&nbsp; Excellent ride report. :aj:
 

BSWIFT

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#14
Originally posted by Kiwi Bird
:worship: you rock!
Funny I detect a slight accent with your posts now. :think: :laugh:
 
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#15
Way to go! You certainly did yourselves proud. Hope to see the shred betty's out there again next year. I didn't realize you guys were there until the end. Congrats from ThumperTalk team 1!