I ended up getting out of the office for a few days to get a taste of Canadian singletrack at the TransRockies Challenge. While there I caught up with pro Giant rider Kellie Emmet—sort of. She crushed the field day after day. I was lucky enough to nab a podium spot so I had a few moments to ask her about the race and her new digs.
After this volume block of training, what's in store for World Cup training?
Lots of driving and recovery for the next couple of days. Actually, when I get back to Colorado Springs I hope to get in some speed work for shorter distance racing. But there isn’t much time till Windam World Cup the last weekend in August.
Why was stage one the most fun for you?
I had the most fun on stage 1 of the race. I thought the single track was extremely fun and it was nice to be able to ride the majority of the course. I am not a fast hiker so I really struggled on Day 3. I also liked how the slippery muddy conditions were an additional challenge.
So you did this for points and some training for World Cup?
Ya, our team went to Downieville this year and we missed out on UCI points at the Colorado Springs PRO XCT race. So, we thought this race would be a great opportunity to get some points and help our start positions for the World Championships. Being towards the front of the starting grid at World’s can really have a big impact on how you finish.
Was this your first stage race?
No, this was my second stage race. I raced BC 7 two years ago and had a blast! It was great to wake up every day and know I was going to ride sweet epic trails and be able to see some of the most beautiful countryside that most people never get to see or experience.
No surprise you ripped stage one, what tires did you run?
Ya, good mud tires were important on that stage. I ran a Michelin Rippers on the front and a new proto type tire that is coming out for 2011 on the rear. Both tires were a little larger volume at 2.1, but I was able to run a lower tire pressure and have been traction on the roots.
You walked away with the win each stage. Which guys were you chasing in stage one and two?
How did you know about that? Well, the guys on the Timex team. They started 3 minutes ahead of me on the time trail day and they told me at the start of the race that there goals was to beat me. So, of course, that was a challenge. I chased them down and caught them about mid way. It was just good way to motivate myself during such a long TT. Stage 2, I just tried to stay with the front group for as long as I could. I ended up with a Beligian and British team on the road and was able to work with them to the finish. It was nice to be able to be in a group since there were 25k of dirt road riding to the finish. I was just trying to race with some of the girls who were racing the mixed duo 7-day team since they will be racing at the World Cup at the end of the month.
Did you clean hyperventilation on stage one?
Heck no! That was tough! But, I was able to ride about 95% of it. I think I had to get off my bike twice for short bits. I was pretty happy about that since I am not great at steep climbing. I was really surprised how good the traction was out there. I would look at some climbs and would think, no way, but, would end up making the whole climb.
The last stage, did you clean the downhill?
Double heck no! That stuff was crazy. I even asked Adam if he did and he said he tried but didn’t make it. Ya, I am way more cautious at the end of long day of racing. And, I have broken myself several times of the years so I am not will to risk getting hurt. I am getting old!
For the hike a bike were you with a group or on your own? What was going through your mind during that march up the mountain?
You have got to be kidding me! I had that thought run thru my mind 4 times during the race. I couldn’t believe what we were hiking through and how much hiking there actually was. I thought they were over exaggerating in the course description the night before the stage. I was with a group of people at the bottom of the hike a bike and then I was alone. Did I mention I am terrible at hiking with my bike??
Was it a combo of shoulder and push to get up to the Divide?
Oh I never shoulder my bike. It’s much easier on your body, in the long run to push your bike unless it is thick mud. If I was in a shorter race I might think about shouldering.
Nutrition is key for the stage races what did you make for dinner? Or did you have TR menu?
I had my mom help with cooking dinner so it was awesome to have some home cooked meals. I heard the food
was good at TR3 but I brought my big 5th wheel trailer with me so we had a good kitchen to make meals. Adam is on a high fat diet so there was a lot of eggs and bacon for breakfast, Meatloaf, and my mom’s green chile with tacos, salmon, and potatoes. I am not on a strict diet and will pretty much eat anything. I just like to make sure I eat mass quantities of food during stage races. Oh, and we hit a Thai place in Fernie that was amazingly good. Who would have thought?
Was your Mom your support? How cool.
Yes, she was. I needed someone to drive the trailer to each stage and she had never seen this part of the country before, so she was up for the challenge. She was amazing to have around. I don’t know what I had done without her. The trailer is a lot of work and it was nice to know it was in good hands. She has done some long cross country rides on her road bike so she knew what we needed after the races and how to handle us when we were cranky.
What was your recovery plan right after the stage?
Recovery drink, eat, sleep. Get stuff ready for the next day..
I see you have a pimpin RV. Is that a new acquire?
Yes! I bought a big 5th wheel toy hauler in May this year. I had plans of taking my motorcycle and 5 bikes around the country for the year and live it. Well, I have taken it many places but had to cut back on the toys based on the trip I have planned and the number of people staying in the trailer. I had 6 people in it for T3 and was glad motos where not on board.
I know you rode the last two stages of the TR. Day 6 was pretty burly. Did you ride the entire loop? What was the hardest about that stage?
Day 6 was one of the toughest days I have ever had on a bike. The first 30 teams were sent to do the full 72k and the rest of the teams were sent down a dirt road that cut out about 30k of the course and did not climb nearly as high. It was raining and freezing cold. We were above treeline were there wasn’t much protection. People had started to become hypothermic up there. My only thought was to keep moving forward and not stop. Rain/snow mixture is about the worst conditions to get caught in because there is just no way to stay warm. That day took us almost 6 hours. Later, one of the Kona guys admitted to me that he peed on his hands to warm up so he could zip up his jacket.
I know you used bottle for TR3, what about for TR?
Ya, I used bottles for TR3 because we had a soigner in the feed zones so we were able to get bottle during the race. The last 2 days I was on my own so I used my Fox hydration backpack and was able to take extra food and clothing, which saved me on day 6.
We know you are a great descender and have the results at Downieville and SD in Ashland to prove it. Does your moto riding transcend into sharpening those skills?
Yes, I started riding motos about 5 years ago and have really noticed the difference in my riding style. Because speeds are higher on the moto, you have to be good at finding lines at higher speeds and using more of your core to steer your bike. Plus, it’s soo dang fun! It’s like descending all the time and never having to climb up hills. I feel both those activities really compliment each other. The toughest part of doing both sports is balancing your energy levels. Too much time on the moto causes me to be slower at biking so I have to limit the amount of moto time during the season. But, I really just enjoy descending and pushing myself to hang with guys.
You have plans to do more moto riding? What kind of ride do you have?
Oh yes! Big plans. My brother is coming out to visit me in September and we are looking to ride in Crested Butte, Aspen, and Gunnison for a week and then there are a few more Enduro races left on the calendar that I hope to do this fall. There are soo many places I want to ride and check out, but I have limited time while I am still racing. I really enjoy riding town to town on single track and over mountain passes with just a dry bag full of clothes and a credit card. So, I see a lot more of that in my future, once I cut back on mountain bike racing.
How long have you been riding for Giant for Women ? Why them?
I have been with Giant for 4 years and then I started riding under Giant for Women my second year with Giant. Giant is really a great company to be a part of and race for. They care more about us having a presence in the media then race results. It takes a lot of pressure off when racing isn’t going well. So, I feel soo fortunate to be apart of a company who cares about their riders and feels they can offer more then just race results. They also support us doing other activities and allow us to show our individual personalities.
I also really like how Giant For Women is starting to take the initiative to get more women involved in cycling by doing mechanic and skills clinics and organized rides all over the country. We need more women on bike and they are working hard to help make that happen. I’ve notice less women racing these days and I think it is really important to try and get more involved. They are also sponsoring more women’s groups and race teams.
How did you like your Anthem? Do you ever ride a 29er?
I was soo greatful to have the Anthem at TR3. It handles great and made it soo much easier to ride those rooty muddy conditions. I couldn’t believe what I able to climb with that bike. It tracked so well on the steep climbs and kept me comfortable on the downhills. I can’t even try to imagine riding a hard tail at that race. You would be so beat up by the end of 3 days.
I have ridden a 29er and do like riding them but have not ridden any of the Giant ones yet. It wasn’t until this year that there was a high-end model that would be good enough to race at the top level. So, hopefully, next year I will be able to check one out.
5 days on the bike. Any rear end damage. If so whats the cure?
No, actually. I was really surprised. I usually do during mountain bike stage races, but this year was not the case. Using a good chamois lube before every race can really help to prevent chaffing in that area. But, I had this coach when I first started racing and he wouldn’t let me use any type of chamois cream. He told me I would get addicted and never use it. So, I never really use that stuff very much. Just in stage racing emergency situations.