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Death Valley:
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BTC Daily 2004
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IBEX MTB Trail [Series]
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The Queen Bees

I've been fortunate to live in Steamboat Springs, Colorado for close to 19 years, and I don't plan on leaving anytime soon. Steamboat is a great community located in the northwest corner of the Centennial state, Colorado. Cycling and skiing are a big part of life here 365 days a year and that's why I'm glad to call it home.

Steamboat has played host to numerous cycling events; NORBA mountain bike races, the Tour de Steamboat Road Race, the ever popular City of Steamboat Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series, and the Mercury Tour just to name a few. Early last year there was a buzz amongst local cyclists that a new event was coming to town. The Rio 24 Hours of Steamboat (we all thought, 'the Rio is a yummy Colorado Mexican Restaurant,' so it had to be a great event). Previously, local mountain bikers had to travel to Moab (myself included) to feel the thrill (and agony) of 24 hour racing. Now, competing at home in our backyards on the world-class trails of the Mt. Werner ski area was going to be a reality.

The Course for The Rio

Rocky Peak Productions (a local bike event company) was the brains behind Steamboat's inaugural 24 hour event. The race was scheduled for June 12th which was early-early for the terrain… and… early for the riders. Snow on course and in the air was a possibility and pasty white legs were guaranteed. The course was steep, rising 2000 vertical feet in just over four miles. Riding multiple laps to the top of the Steamboat Gondola with little-to-no recovery time before descending five miles was going to be challenging. It was time to train.

While I would put in plenty of saddle time throughout the summer, an early season endurance race had me a bit unsettled. Telemark skiing, ice hockey and road riding were the main ingredients of my training recipe. I was psyched, but I needed some teammates. After chatting through the "Betty" (favorable term for bike chick) network, I found three stellar and very strong girls that were searching for a fourth teammate. Now I was committed (but still nervous about holding up my end of the team). You see these women have been on winning 24 Hour Moab teams, have won their division in local and regional races and were queen "Betties." I had casually met each one of them over the years and had great respect for their athletic abilities. I was delighted and honored to be a teammate.

We were the Queen Bees: Amy Harris, Kelly Boniface, Lisa Famiglietti and me, an easy name to come up with, especially with Honey Stinger as our sponsor. Honey Stinger bars and gel would keep us "buzzing" along all throughout our training and the race.

The days leading up to the race were filled with excitement, time in the saddle, and lots of thinking. Will I be in good enough riding shape? Will I be able to ride four possibly five laps to the top of the gondola? What other teams will we be competing against? What will the weather be like? I just kept reminding myself that I can't let my team down. I'll be riding in front of the home town crowd-I've got to be strong.

The Queen Bees trained individually, and occasionally in pairs. We met over dinner to discuss riding/lap order, strategy, and team logistics. Our "hive" (The Bridgestone Winter Driving School office) was located adjacent to the course. It was very comfortable complete with a staging area, mechanic area, sleeping area, kitchen and shower. Each teammate's own personal support system quickly became shared Queen Bee support. Husbands, Mom & Dads, and coworkers were on deck.

Night time: spinning through the dark hours

Luckily there were plenty of things I didn't have to worry about: My bike-My lovely Moots Smoothie Blend-the sweetest ride ever; my lighting system (Nightrider and Topeak); my nighttime clothing (Mountain Hardwear Transition Featherweight Zip T); and my support: husband Glenn. He was always so positive and encouraging through training rides, nutrition (he's a great cook), emotional consults and cheering me on each lap and every lap.

It's race day, a beautiful sunny day, cool temps and great trail conditions. The start gun sounded and the race was under way. Amy was first. She is an incredible climber so we thought best for her to set the pace. She completed the ceremonial run, hopped on her Moots YBB (Why Be Beat) and was off. Kelly was next to go, another incredibly strong climber. So far the Queen Bees were flying. As soon as Kelly left the transition area I could feel the butterflies (or maybe they were bees) in my stomach.

Slick trails after the hail

We each had a walkie talkie attached to our camelbacks. It was a great way to let your teammate know you're about to ride into the transition area. As soon as I heard Kelly say, "Coming in!" I thought, here I go. Breath deep, make sure your bike is in the right gear and don't drop the baton. Go! What a climb. I'd ridden it a thousand times, but not for a 24 hour race with teammates counting on me, knowing the other racers in front of me, behind me, beside me, with a friend's 15 - year old son riding past me like I was riding backwards. It took me awhile to get my heart to settle down. The comforting part was that I knew the route intimately. It was all going just fine... that is, until the thunder and hail storm. The hail started when I was in a section of the course that was sheltered by trees. Hail hurts, makes the trail really slippery and it's pretty darn cold. My head hurt, the hail pelted me through the vents in my helmet and left welts on my arms. The storm passed as I pedaled to the top of the climb but left the trail pretty slick. A sense of relief came over me as soon as I crested the summit-ahhhh downhill.

Cathy spinning to the end of a lap

Valley View is one of my favorite trails as a descent or climb. It's almost all winding single-track with just enough up and down, lots of turns and incredible scenery. Approaching the bottom of the course I could here the announcer's voice and music. One lap down-whew! After a mis-calculated right hand turn that resulted in a nose wheelie, I was back on my bike and ready to call Lisa on the radio, "Coming in!' Riding through the transition area and seeing Lisa, my fellow Bee was a great sight. We passed the baton... no problem... it was now time to regroup. I felt like an Indy car in the pits: someone took my bike; I was offered an Endurox banana and strawberry smoothie-yum, given a jacket and a big hug. Wow-all this attention for me-how sweet and how cool. I did it-one lap. I can do three more-this is really fun.

The remainder of the race went without incident (for the most part). The Queen Bees buzzed to victory in the women's pro/expert division. We had a blast and become closer friends. The race organizers managed a fabulous event from start to finish. The volunteers were stellar (especially the one group on the course that banged pots and pans as you pedaled by during the night.)



We were psyched for the awards ceremony. We put our jerseys back on and patiently waited. Along with the second and third place teams in our division we made our way up to the podium area, wondering all the time, 'what have we won?' There were countless generous sponsors who had donated tons of great product, including Ski Haus the best sport shop in town. Ski Haus is also home to Hot Cookies-super-duper-delicious-melt-in your-mouth-cookies. We enjoyed our 15 seconds of fame waiting to find out what 24 hours of successful riding would bring. And... it was a pizza-sized giant cookie!

It was serendipitous that our prize was something we could share with everyone who supported us during the previous 24 hours. After a few laughs and some snapshots we sat down with the entire Queen Bee crew and enjoyed the big cookie.

Cheering, cathy between laps, young riders

24 hour team racing is different. You realize you're not out there for yourself; you're out there for everyone who helped get you to the start line; your teammates, family, friends and sponsors. Self confidence and a solid support network are essential for competing in any event, especially a 24 hour mountain bike race in your hometown. And don't forget to have fun too!

12:00 pm June 12th - 12:00 pm June 13th 2004
1st Annual Rio 24 Hours of Steamboat
Steamboat Ski Area, Steamboat Springs, CO
1 Day, 24 Hours, 4 Women, 1 Team, 4 Laps each (1 gal rode 5),
1 Victory and 1 Very Big Cookie

The 2nd Annual Rio 24 hours of Steamboat
( www.24hoursofsteamboat.org) is scheduled for June 11th & 12th.
I know I'm already looking forward to it.
-Cathy Wiedemer
The Queen Bees

I've been fortunate to live in Steamboat Springs, Colorado for close to 19 years, and I don't plan on leaving anytime soon. Steamboat is a great community located in the northwest corner of the Centennial state, Colorado. Cycling and skiing are a big part of life here 365 days a year and that's why I'm glad to call it home.

Steamboat has played host to numerous cycling events; NORBA mountain bike races, the Tour de Steamboat Road Race, the ever popular City of Steamboat Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series, and the Mercury Tour just to name a few. Early last year there was a buzz amongst local cyclists that a new event was coming to town. The Rio 24 Hours of Steamboat (we all thought, 'the Rio is a yummy Colorado Mexican Restaurant,' so it had to be a great event). Previously, local mountain bikers had to travel to Moab (myself included) to feel the thrill (and agony) of 24 hour racing. Now, competing at home in our backyards on the world-class trails of the Mt. Werner ski area was going to be a reality.

The Course for The Rio

Rocky Peak Productions (a local bike event company) was the brains behind Steamboat's inaugural 24 hour event. The race was scheduled for June 12th which was early-early for the terrain… and… early for the riders. Snow on course and in the air was a possibility and pasty white legs were guaranteed. The course was steep, rising 2000 vertical feet in just over four miles. Riding multiple laps to the top of the Steamboat Gondola with little-to-no recovery time before descending five miles was going to be challenging. It was time to train.

While I would put in plenty of saddle time throughout the summer, an early season endurance race had me a bit unsettled. Telemark skiing, ice hockey and road riding were the main ingredients of my training recipe. I was psyched, but I needed some teammates. After chatting through the "Betty" (favorable term for bike chick) network, I found three stellar and very strong girls that were searching for a fourth teammate. Now I was committed (but still nervous about holding up my end of the team). You see these women have been on winning 24 Hour Moab teams, have won their division in local and regional races and were queen "Betties." I had casually met each one of them over the years and had great respect for their athletic abilities. I was delighted and honored to be a teammate.

We were the Queen Bees: Amy Harris, Kelly Boniface, Lisa Famiglietti and me, an easy name to come up with, especially with Honey Stinger as our sponsor. Honey Stinger bars and gel would keep us "buzzing" along all throughout our training and the race.

The days leading up to the race were filled with excitement, time in the saddle, and lots of thinking. Will I be in good enough riding shape? Will I be able to ride four possibly five laps to the top of the gondola? What other teams will we be competing against? What will the weather be like? I just kept reminding myself that I can't let my team down. I'll be riding in front of the home town crowd-I've got to be strong.

The Queen Bees trained individually, and occasionally in pairs. We met over dinner to discuss riding/lap order, strategy, and team logistics. Our "hive" (The Bridgestone Winter Driving School office) was located adjacent to the course. It was very comfortable complete with a staging area, mechanic area, sleeping area, kitchen and shower. Each teammate's own personal support system quickly became shared Queen Bee support. Husbands, Mom & Dads, and coworkers were on deck.

Night time: spinning through the dark hours

Luckily there were plenty of things I didn't have to worry about: My bike-My lovely Moots Smoothie Blend-the sweetest ride ever; my lighting system (Nightrider and Topeak); my nighttime clothing (Mountain Hardwear Transition Featherweight Zip T); and my support: husband Glenn. He was always so positive and encouraging through training rides, nutrition (he's a great cook), emotional consults and cheering me on each lap and every lap.

It's race day, a beautiful sunny day, cool temps and great trail conditions. The start gun sounded and the race was under way. Amy was first. She is an incredible climber so we thought best for her to set the pace. She completed the ceremonial run, hopped on her Moots YBB (Why Be Beat) and was off. Kelly was next to go, another incredibly strong climber. So far the Queen Bees were flying. As soon as Kelly left the transition area I could feel the butterflies (or maybe they were bees) in my stomach.

Slick trails after the hail

We each had a walkie talkie attached to our camelbacks. It was a great way to let your teammate know you're about to ride into the transition area. As soon as I heard Kelly say, "Coming in!" I thought, here I go. Breath deep, make sure your bike is in the right gear and don't drop the baton. Go! What a climb. I'd ridden it a thousand times, but not for a 24 hour race with teammates counting on me, knowing the other racers in front of me, behind me, beside me, with a friend's 15 - year old son riding past me like I was riding backwards. It took me awhile to get my heart to settle down. The comforting part was that I knew the route intimately. It was all going just fine... that is, until the thunder and hail storm. The hail started when I was in a section of the course that was sheltered by trees. Hail hurts, makes the trail really slippery and it's pretty darn cold. My head hurt, the hail pelted me through the vents in my helmet and left welts on my arms. The storm passed as I pedaled to the top of the climb but left the trail pretty slick. A sense of relief came over me as soon as I crested the summit-ahhhh downhill.

Cathy spinning to the end of a lap

Valley View is one of my favorite trails as a descent or climb. It's almost all winding single-track with just enough up and down, lots of turns and incredible scenery. Approaching the bottom of the course I could here the announcer's voice and music. One lap down-whew! After a mis-calculated right hand turn that resulted in a nose wheelie, I was back on my bike and ready to call Lisa on the radio, "Coming in!' Riding through the transition area and seeing Lisa, my fellow Bee was a great sight. We passed the baton... no problem... it was now time to regroup. I felt like an Indy car in the pits: someone took my bike; I was offered an Endurox banana and strawberry smoothie-yum, given a jacket and a big hug. Wow-all this attention for me-how sweet and how cool. I did it-one lap. I can do three more-this is really fun.

The remainder of the race went without incident (for the most part). The Queen Bees buzzed to victory in the women's pro/expert division. We had a blast and become closer friends. The race organizers managed a fabulous event from start to finish. The volunteers were stellar (especially the one group on the course that banged pots and pans as you pedaled by during the night.)



We were psyched for the awards ceremony. We put our jerseys back on and patiently waited. Along with the second and third place teams in our division we made our way up to the podium area, wondering all the time, 'what have we won?' There were countless generous sponsors who had donated tons of great product, including Ski Haus the best sport shop in town. Ski Haus is also home to Hot Cookies-super-duper-delicious-melt-in your-mouth-cookies. We enjoyed our 15 seconds of fame waiting to find out what 24 hours of successful riding would bring. And... it was a pizza-sized giant cookie!

It was serendipitous that our prize was something we could share with everyone who supported us during the previous 24 hours. After a few laughs and some snapshots we sat down with the entire Queen Bee crew and enjoyed the big cookie.

Cheering, cathy between laps, young riders

24 hour team racing is different. You realize you're not out there for yourself; you're out there for everyone who helped get you to the start line; your teammates, family, friends and sponsors. Self confidence and a solid support network are essential for competing in any event, especially a 24 hour mountain bike race in your hometown. And don't forget to have fun too!

12:00 pm June 12th - 12:00 pm June 13th 2004
1st Annual Rio 24 Hours of Steamboat
Steamboat Ski Area, Steamboat Springs, CO
1 Day, 24 Hours, 4 Women, 1 Team, 4 Laps each (1 gal rode 5),
1 Victory and 1 Very Big Cookie

The 2nd Annual Rio 24 hours of Steamboat
( www.24hoursofsteamboat.org) is scheduled for June 11th & 12th.
I know I'm already looking forward to it.
-Cathy Wiedemer
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