After moving to New Hampshire in January, I made it my goal to get back in shape and race the collegiate mountain biking season in the fall. I had about 8 months to make this happen. To accomplish this goal, I signed up for two very challenging races over the summer, each with a different race format. The first race was the Attitash Enduro in the Vittoria Eastern States Cup. For those of you who are not familiar with the enduro race format, basically you’re racing to get down the mountain faster than your competitors (but it’s not a downhill race). You have a timing chip that records all of your descents, but not the climbs, and at the end of the race you turn your chip in and the computer figures out the fastest rider. These races take place on ski mountains that have long, technical descents and usually have some sort of true downhill course. Because this was my first enduro race, I didn’t really know what to expect and was a bit nervous.
The second race that I signed up for over the summer was essentially the opposite of an enduro. The Hampshire 100 is an endurance cross country mountain bike race. Don’t let the names fool you — an endurance mountain bike race is really different from an enduro. I’m not really sure of the etymology behind the word “enduro”, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. At any rate, the Hampshire 100 is an endurance race with several categories to choose from. There’s the 100 mile race, the 100K race, and the 50K race. In addition to the mountain bike race, there was also a foot race with distances of 100K and 50K. I signed up for the 100K (basically 60 miles) in the women’s sport category. This race was structured around a 32 mile course, so the 100 mile riders went for three laps, the 100K two laps, and the 50K one lap. The racers lined up at 6:45 am Sunday morning and had until 7:30 pm to complete the course.
PART I – ATTITASH ENDURO
I arrived on a Friday evening to check in and try to get a few practice runs in. I got there later than I expected, so I only had an hour and a half to practice. Practicing some of the runs required that I purchase a lift ticket, which was expensive and I couldn’t justify buying it if I was only going to use the lift two times. In addition, they recommended a full face helmet for the race, which I needed to rent and the bike shop at the ski resort was closing. (FYI – When a full face helmet is recommended or required, that probably means you’re going to be riding on some burly terrain). I ended up not practicing Friday evening, but rather relaxing and trying not to let my nerves get the better of me.