Chicks in the Sticks - womens only MTB enduro
Yesterday was my first ever “ladies only” mountain bike race. I’ve been racing for 10 years, and most of the time there is only a handful of women at the start line. So it was amazing to see 175 chicks at the Karingal 3 hour race
My favourite part was seeing all the Daddys on the sidelines with babies strapped to them! There were lots of Mummies racing, so the Dads had to kid wrangle for 3 hours.
As a family of 5, we need to be super organised to get out to a race. My lovely husband is getting better at packing kids lunches and snacks, so it meant I could spend more time focusing on my bike and nutrition preparation. Baby Z still wakes up multiple times during the night, so I’m running on very little sleep. But there isn’t much I can do about that.
We make it to the race headquarters on time, and there are fairies and tutus everywhere. Lots of ladies have made an effort to dress up.
I have ridden at Karingal before (back in 2008), but I didn’t remember the track. I managed to do a very short warm up, but I didn’t ride the whole course. My legs were not thankful.
I overheard my 5 year old talking to his little friend before the race. Master F said “I want my mummy to win”. His friend said “I want my mummy to win too!”. Then they agreed “maybe both our mummies can win”.
Lining up at the start with 175 other mountain biker ladies was pretty cool. You could tell there were lots of nervous people, who were doing their first race. The organisers had clear signage on the tricky sections and there were marshals placed all over the course to give assistance to riders if needed. It was a completely different vibe to a ’normal MTB race’.
The start was delayed by about 20 minutes, which didn’t suit me. I knew I was going to be cutting it fine to finish the race in time for Baby Z’s next breastfeed. I didn’t want to be still racing at 12:30pm with boobs full of milk.
I changed my entry at the last minute to race in Elite. I knew I wasn’t fit enough to finish on the podium, but considering the range of abilities of other entrants (lots of newbies), I figured that I should be in A grade.
Racing started with a half lap. For some reason I could never actually remember what section was coming up next on the track. I felt like I was riding it new each time. Perhaps this was related to my sleep deprived brain. Because I’m breastfeeding, I really had to make sure I drank lots of water and ate.
It was tricky at some points when trying to pass riders. The single track didn’t have many ‘safe’ areas to pass. So I had to do some bush bashing to safely overtake people. I really didn’t want to scare the new riders, so I made sure I passed with lots of space and said please and thank you!
I loved the “steps” section of the course. I had a clear run through there for a couple of laps and got a bit loose and wild. It was awesome to see the guys cheering with cowbells! Just like at a downhill race.
My Garmin decided to turn off part way through the race. But I think I did about 43 kms, which is the longest ride I have done in ages…. (the last long one was probably back in 2006 when I did a 100 km race, which got cancelled mid way due to the rain). I have not even been on a bike for 3 hours for almost 10 years (2006 or 2007). So I was pretty happy with this achievement!
After I finished I didn’t get a chance to stretch straight away as Baby Z needed a feed. It is super tricky to breastfeed a baby while wearing a sports bra….
I did 8 laps, and finished in 8th place overall. I was feeling pretty happy with my efforts so we went to Bachuss Brewing
for a celebration beer and ginger beer. Thanks to my husband and my family cheer squad for a great day out.