a long beechwood report

i had heard about the beechwood race the first year they put it on. it was 2 years ago and i was sick. bummed i couldn't take part in something that i knew would be a blast. a fun race on trails i've never been on, how could it not?
last year i had just had zoe and wasn't feeling the most fit (after racing it finally, the shape i was in last year i'm not sure i could've done one lap).
fast forward to 2007. i totally forgot about this race until brittany posted a comment on regina's blog. once i saw that comment i made it a goal to be there no matter what.
i had originally planned on doing 2 laps and of course john would do the 4. we could bring the kids. i then found out all the gals were racing the 3 laps, which i really would have liked to have done anyway. casey ended up sleeping at reese's house and my gram volunteered to take zoe.
it was nice to not have to leave at the buttcrack of dawn to make the 11am start for the 2 lapper.
beechwood is in the middle of nowhere. we took a couple wrong turns but made it with plenty of time to chat, pre-register and even warm up a bit.
my bike is in dire need of a tune up. new cables and housing along with a bottom bracket service. pre-riding made me realize how long it had been since either had been done. my guess is i'll get all that done along with the industry nine wheel put back up front, polish her up and retire her for the year. i'm thinking the walt will get the call from now on.
the weather was unbelievable. i thought i'd be racing in an undershirt, jersey, arm warmers, kneekers and wool socks. at race time i was in a single jersey and short. nice. it was perfect, i mean PERFECT weather for racing. i never got super sweaty and was never chilled.
anyway, there were 5 of us ladies- lori, brittany, meghan, i think her name was gabriela? and myself. they started us 3 lap people with the 4 lappers.
shot gun start. we're off. neutral roll out, which is really good for me. lori was gone never to be seen again. i was at one point in second in the start (how could this be). it didn't last long. i was passed by brittany and the other girl right away. i didn't see britanny for awhile, but i saw gabriela on the parts of the course that went back on itself.
my first lap had me feeling pretty slow especially not knowing or having any clue what was ahead. i was bunched with people at the start and ended up having to dismount a couple sections. the log drop was just that, a log drop. for some reason i had it in my mind that it was more of a logover. i popped over it a little unsure of what was going to happen. no problem and i was off.
i was trying to stay with bubba but he dropped me very early on.
i don't remember much of the first lap other than i thought it was a lot of climbing. grass climbing that reminded me of kewaunee but steeper and i think a bit more interesting. a couple singletrack climbs with switchbacks. one section on every lap got me everytime. the first time i went in my bar end grabbed a small tree and tossed me high and knocked me back down almost over the edge. then i had to foot scoot it around the really tight switchback. at the exit i saw gabriela ahead. it gave me confidence to see her and a bit of satisfaction that this might actual be a race. i ended up catching her on the last section of singletrack with the rock garden. i heard the superfans yelling and knew something good and probably dangerous was coming. i started picking my way through rocks, saw gabriela standing there?, passed her down into the rock garden. i was going a little too fast and not knowing the line had to slow it down a bit and had to put my foot down. i regained control and exited to start my second lap.
i saw bubba on the sidelines with a mechanical, i though he had a flat tire. at the time i passed him i didn't even think to ask if he needed anything. i thought about it when i hit the singletrack, sorry bubba.
the second lap had me enjoying the singletrack a lot more. i knew what was coming and i had my 1 lap warm up. the climbs seemed a lot easier. i had to walk one spot every lap. there was like a loose dirt climb with rocks. i just never found the line. no biggee. i tried to keep up my pace. i knew gabriela was behind me and so was meghan, not to mention maybe i could catch brittany. and if lori had a mechanical (not so far fetched ;)), well then anything could happen.
dropped the log okay on my second lap. saw gabriela a couple times. and saw glimpses of brittany.
going into the singletrack with the tight switchback i came in too high and almost went off the side again, wtf. note to self don't come in so hot next time.
i ate fine. drank fine. but wished i had made two bottles of electrolyte replacement instead of one. i could feel my left leg getting "that feeling". i made sure i sucked down plenty of water and just was super conscious of my pedaling stroke. i saw brittany a couple of times and less of gabriela. not saying she was that far behind, i just didn't see her. i missed the rock garden big time on the second lap. i overthought it and came in too far left. i should've reminded myself that they were little rocks and i had really big tires and wheels. i still loved the section leading into it and coming out of it. that's my favorite kind of riding. reminded me of blue mound a bit.
came out to the start finish area and waited for my bottle. thanks amy. off i went. i knew brittany was right up ahead. i figured lori was long gone. had no idea where meghan or gabriela were. i knew meghan could be a creeper and had no idea about gabriela. i just kept riding.
i was for some reason thinking that when i pulled through on my second lap to start my third i wouldn't see the 4 lappers. about a 1/2 mile later i was like, wait, i will see them. i then made it my goal to not let john catch me. there was a part of me that would've liked it because i could've said hi.
i felt like i was getting closer to brittany. i seemed to see her a lot more. i just stayed patient and rode my race. crossing the small road up into the singletrack to climb i passed her at the top as we were both gasping for air. i had to remind myself to pay attention. after that climb i was pretty redlined and you come around a switchback with a loose turn to a downhill. i could see her in spots and after awhile i didn't. soon after starts a lot of up and down. as i turned the corner to hit the climb, i dropped my chain. fucking great. i'm going to get passed because i lost my chain. luckily it went right on and i didn't miss a beat.
i could feel the elite riders coming. first up was ron. he passed me on the long climbing section. i followed him down and then up that really long uphill after the downhill and he was gone. a bit later bender passed me followed by carlos. i knew melcher was coming as i saw him when i glanced back earlier. as luck would have it, the timing couldn't have been less perfect. the exact moment where he was to pass was the entrance to the tight switchback singletrack (the one i cheesed on my first two laps). instead of redeeming myself i hit the brakes and let him go in before me. i wouldn't want him stuck behind me in there no matter how short it was.
after the double steepish climb the hard parts for me were over.
i hit the rock garden singletrack and was excited i was almost done. i cleaned everything in there including the rock garden and big ringed it to the finish waiting for people to jump up screaming yelling go, go go, like brittany or meghan or gabriela were right on my tail. luckily for me nobody got excited and i finished in 2nd place. brittany rolled in shortly after, then gabriela.
my whole body felt like it was going to cramp and i was getting cold. i cursed myself for not making another electrolyte bottle. but in reality that was a long race distance with the climbing for me. i was happy to have finished strong.
while back in the truck they announced meghan and bubba's finish. they rode together. how freakin' awesome is that! i hope casey and zoe want to ride and race their bikes with me.
john isn't sure how he finished. we think maybe 6th?
we both had an awesome time. thanks to the beechwood dudes and to everyone else who helped for taking the time to put this on. it truly was a fantastic day. we'll be back again next year.


Tom K said...

Nice job.

mountaingoat said...


Don't let Bubba give you any excuses like mechanicals or riding with my kid...you smoked his ass.

minigoat said...

Nice job Rachael! I knew you would like the course, even with all the climbing.

D A N O said...

Sounds like I missed a good one! Although the hills would have nailed me....


MTB Girl said...

That was fun. Even though I knew you were comming for me. . . .it was a blast. Thanks for making the hike out and racing with me!

Next up, Crystal Ridge night race? I'm "less of a threat" at night. . . . :-)

spicyride said...

i forgot about that! i want to do this night race.

joeyTWOwheels said...

Woot! Nice finish, girl.

Christine said...

Darn it, I missed all the fun. Look out everyone cause Spicyride is back. Nice job out there!

Ben said...

awesome job, sweet report!