Napa Valley Dirt Classic

April 24, 2006 · Print This Article

by Kathleen

Napa Valley Dirt Classic
Weather: sunny, ~67 degrees
Course: One 22 mile loop. Some mud puddles and rutted sections but a super fun mtn bike course
Attendees: Sarah K., Teshia, Julie P., Kathleen, Vanessa, Piper, and Mo was the bella cheer leader
Place: Kathleen 3rd, Julie 4th, Sarah 4th(pro), Vanessa (2nd,category?), Teshia & Piper? Mo – 1st place for sharing her blanket and cheering.

I can only speak for my race. The pro elite/expert women all left together. I decided to do this race because my friend goaded me and because I really wanted to see this course. A friends comment kept resonating in my head, ‘it’s a real mtn bike course.’

I decided it would be a really scenic workout for my still tired Sea Otter legs. As we took off and made it onto the first flat section 3 gals were off the front, and then Paula Bock and I caught up to Sarah and Josie (Ithink it was Josie B.) and we worked together and then I settled into my own pace while Paula and Sarah took off.

Having few technical skills, I got passed by a few gals and lots of single speed men on the fun windy downhill single track. Sort of like riding in UCSC. Some of the rutted down hill I walked because I didn’t pick the right line and…I’m trying to stay up right these days.

Julie P. caught me a couple of times and nicely kept asking me how I was doing. I think I only grunted a reply. You always know you’re suffering a bit when you grunt instead of speaking. I was truly amazed when my carpool buddy, Emily, who was one of the 3 off the front, heckled me from behind and passed me yelling something about – wrong turn and crashing. She ended up catching all the gals in her class to win her race.

Ah to be 28 again.

I was waiting for the long, long, long climb out which was a combination of walking and riding and not as long as I had imagined it. Imagining for the worse was a good choice. At the very end I caught Sarah, and was feeling good until I crashed spectacularly on this small downhill. Me and the bike tumbling down the hill. My handle bars wrapped around mybike and my front brake sort of exploded and I had to do the last~1/2mile without a front brake. I’m hoping as Sarah passed me that she held up a sign that at least gave that crash a 10 for style points as my bruises today are rather colorful.

Paula Bock was 1st & Celeste McCarty 2nd in my race. It’s a fun race, nice organizers, shower afterwards, and Napa is oh so pretty this time of year. Definitely give it two thumbs up. Howell Mtn is in August in case you missed this one. That’s two loops of mostly the same scenery and fun swoopy trails. You don’t get the evil climb out but it’s much warmer.

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