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Bear Brook

by Kathy Ventura • July 02, 2019

Signing up for this race fell into place for a few reasons. Because it was Mother's Day weekend, we would be traveling south from Portland to CT to spend the weekend with my in-laws. Also, because I'm a mom, I could request a slight detour to do this race as a Mother's Day present to myself. To further justify it - I just HAD to do it because the 'Bearbrook' podcast is one of my all-time favorites! I love true-crime, and this is one of the best podcasts out there. The fact that we would be riding on trails where the infamous blue barrels were found intrigued and excited me. I had also heard great things about the race and trails.

I arrived early enough for a quick warmup and proceeded to line up with the other 28 Sport women. I began sizing them up and thinking that the juniors would go first, so I drifted to the back. I soon realized that we would all start together, so I tried to wiggle up a row or two having heard that there was a bit of a hole-shot to grab before we hit the single track. I'm not the most aggressive rider, and many times get in a situation of being held back when it's difficult to pass. As soon as the gun went off, I decided to try to get as far to the front as possible and ended up being the 4th woman to hit the first bit of single track on the course as we left the double track and headed for the trails.

The first part was flowy and fun, but I soon realized that I was stuck behind someone going at a slower pace than I wanted to go. The two women in the lead started to drift off into the distance and I already felt defeated. Eventually I lost sight of them and soon realized I'd have to make a move to try to bridge up to them. After tailgating the 3rd place rider for what seemed like way too long, I heard the words 'do you wanna' pass?' and I decided to make my move. I was feeling pretty good and even started to pass some of the guys to make up some time. I caught 2nd place! I passed her. I then tried to settle in and keep a good pace. But then we got to some hills and the incline and lack of early season fitness provided an opportunity for 3rd place to pass me back. Bummer! I stayed there for a while but didn't give up. I paced off various guys here and there and completely lost sight of the women. Once we got to the back side of the course the trails got technical and this made me happy. I caught 2nd and passed her as she had to dismount in one of the rough sections. I kept going and I was feeling great. I even took one of the A lines and cleaned it. Soon after, I caught 1st! She had also dismounted to make her way through a muddy section. I said, 'good job' and she encouragingly said 'oh, now I see what you're good at!'. Little did I know that I wouldn't see her again during the race. I picked up speed and enjoyed the last part of the course, called Bear Hill (I think). I came through the first lap feeling great and was excited to keep my lead. I figured they would catch me in the non-technical sections of the course, but I thought I could get them back on the techy sections prior to finishing. I was just hoping for no crashes or mechanicals, so I played it safe the 2nd lap.

I kept my lead and finished in 2:25:08, about 4 minutes ahead of 2nd place.

I thought about sending a picture of myself with my trophy to the makers of the podcast, but never got around to it!.

Kathy Ventura, Tall Sock Racing Powered by

2019 Races