Audrey and I registered for the 1-lap “beginner” race at Rock Cut, and I’m glad we did. Audrey was riding singletrack for her first time ever- and on a singlespeed! Audrey and I decided we would ride together and just enjoy the day.

At go time, we took off. Audrey’s a really strong rider and was unafraid to roll over anything on that rigid fork. I was working hard to stay with her, struggling to remember how trigger shifters work (it’s been a long winter), and really hating the long slow uphills. I took Audrey’s lead and plowed over bigger logpiles than I’d ever taken before and I was breathing hard- audibly hard- trying to tail her as she powered uphill.

The mud was sticky and ankle-deep. Many of the dudes would walk it, and I’d try to power through until they got in my way. I was a mess. Once a guy slammed on his brakes right in front of me and I did a zero MPH wipeout into a thorn bush, drawing blood and making me look totally hardcore. The 10 mile lap was longer than the WEMS laps we’re used to, and I found myself impatiently looking for the finish way before I should have.

Ann from the Hayes team was on our tail the whole time, too, keeping us honest. We traded spots several times, she’d pass me when I dumped my chain, I’d pass her on the down. The final 200 yds or so was on pavement, and those slick tires and heavier gearing helped me power past and seal the deal. Audrey took 1st in our age group- what an accomplishment for a first-timer! – and I took second.

We ladies did handups for Helge, Mike, and Ben (and would have for teammate Jason if he needed it!) on the 2/3 lap races.  It was a sunny fun afternoon, and we ended the day sharing Half Acre in the parking lot with the XXX Bonebell crew.

 - Julie Eisenhart