This past Saturday over 200 rad women were summoned by the Sturdy Bitches, Tiger Mountain, and epic hero dirt to compete in the fourth women’s only Sturdy Dirty Enduro. For the past three years the event had been a single race, but this year with the help of Liv Cycling the Sturdy Dirty Enduro series was born. Tiger Mountain, known for its challenging features and trails was the first race of the series for the ladies to conquer and WE DID!
Lets take a look at the course!! Tiger Mountain provides the perfect mountain biker playground accommodating for multiple courses; beginner, sport, expert, and pro. With about 4500 feet of climbing for the expert/pro women… it was going to be a long day!
First and foremost, this race would not happen without the help of many volunteers, race directors, sponsors and lots of alcohol.
Thanks to Sturdy Bitch Racing, Roam Events, Liv Cycling, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, SRAM, Shimano, Platypus Hydration, DHaRCO, Girlz Gone Riding, Industry Nine, Endless Bike Co, Bell Joyride, Northwest Riders, 10 Barrel Brewing Co, Cascadia Ciderworks, and Sugar Wheel Works!!!
ALSO Thanks to the photographers running around taking our photos all day!!
Patsplit, @pspllc, patspilt.smugmug.com
Chris McFarland, @Chrismcfarlandphotography
Riley Seebeck, @flowphoto_co, flowphotoco.com
Every aid station has a theme and every volunteer must have a costume for the costume contest. Instead of trying to explain this amazing atmosphere of the race, let me just show you with photos.
Now lets get back to racing, or at least pretend to….
The first stage was fast and flowy on East Tiger Summit trail, starting at the very top after about 1000 feet of climbing. The aid station at the summit was on point with snow cones, bacon wrapped dates and pineapple. Most of us enduro riders are all about the downs, but with aid stations like this, the climbs are pretty damn rewarding.
Up next we were going Off The Grid, on a mission to descend to the cowboys and princesses below.
After ripping down two fun and flowy trails, it was time to take on Stage 3. The trails Fully Rigid and Joyride which embody the exact essence of anti-flow. With chunky rooted sections and tight flat corners, this stage was a tough test for keeping speed.
Fully Rigid is home to everyones favorite well known feature the “Vag” where two tree roots grow together into a V shape. This chunky short feature can catch your front wheel at any moment and send you headed for the dirt.
Liv Cycling donates a sick bike every year for one lady to practice, ride, and race on for the Sturdy Dirty. This demo prize is called “Liv for a Day” Mary Metcalf was stoked to captain the Liv Hail through the roots and rocks of Tiger Mountain!!
At the top of Stage 4 we were brought back to the 80’s, with the best ladies in the Biz. I was stoked and lucky to run into two of my favorite Liv ladies. Meg Valliant and of course the great Andi Zolton.
One Hail after another we were a ripping team down The Legend to MegaFauna.
Here was were my race got interesting… Through the last tree stumps of MegaFauna about 5 feet from the finish timer I got a little too stoked up and boosted right into a dirt sidewall. A cylinder inside my brake lever broke in the mist of this pretty comical snafu, as I tried to lunge for the finish timer while tangled in my bicycle. Andi being a great friend and mechanic tried to mend my poor brake, but there was no cure. With one stage left and 1500 feet left to climb I needed to find a fix so I could finish the race.
BUT first! tequila and a dance party
I climbed back to the pits in hopes of Shimano fixing my lever, but their crew was no where in sight. I was encouraged to call it quits because the sweeps had already been sent in front of me, and the race crew thought I was out. I was having so much fun and good stages all day, I couldn’t let this be the end. I needed to finish. I told the race crew I was going up to finish and tell the timers I was coming! Thankfully here I ran into another one of my favorite Liv Ladies, Katie Holden. Who was nice enough to make the climb up to Stage 5 with me in pure moral support.
It was time for the final stage of Tiger Mountain. Saving the gnarliest trail for last, Stage 5 is no joke. Legs burning, arms pumped, and fingers cramping pro/expert ladies needed to pull it together for one last run down Predator.
Predator is full of challenging obstacles and features, but there are a couple that stand out.
First, the three drop waterfall
Then, The Wall
And, everything in between
Riding Predator with a half working front brake, was probably one of the more horrifying things I have ever done on a bicycle. Even though this led to two crashes on this stage due to high speed and not being able to slow down for these features, I was stoked to at least finish!!!!
At the end of the day, it was time to party, dance, have a couple beers, oh and RAFFLE!
Karen O’Connel made everyones day here at the finish of the Sturdy Dirty. This lady knows how to keep the stoke alive while giving away free stuff and screaming in your face. She is also a rad downhill and enduro lady shredder who took 13th in Pro here.
Liv Cycling even donated a Liv Hail to raffle off to one lucky lady!! HAILYEAH!
Even though this event is a race, it never feels competitive or stressful. The atmosphere the Sturdy Bitches, Roam Events, Liv Cycling, and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance have built is something truly special for women to be a part of. There are no egos, drama, threatening looks, judging, or any other competitive intimidations. Joined together with smiles, bikes, and the raddest women out there, this community is one for the books!