Bike Doctor Sheduro
by Jessica Buch • September 07, 2023
Sunday, August 20, 2023
Bike Doctor Sheduro
Fredrick Watershed, Fredrick Maryland
It has been a long summer for me with no racing after a calf injury in January kept me in recovery mode for most of the year. It felt great to finally be back behind a number plate just in time for the Bike Doctor Sheduro.
Lucky not only to be healthy in time but to have secured a place in the race. This top-rated event, only in its 6th year, sold out hours after registration opened, and it was easy to see why.
The trails at the Shed are chunky, rock-laden, and rugged, easily some of the best-kept gravity hills in the area. They have climbs to push your legs and lungs, rock gardens to test your skills, and full-on DH trails to challenge your guts—all the good stuff.
The race started with a rider meeting at Thorpewood, a beautiful venue and home base for the day. Then it’s just a 2-mile ride to Stage One along some paved and gravel road. You’ll want to head out to stage one as soon as possible after the meeting or end up like I did, at the back of the pack and waiting in line for 2 hours to start stage one!
Stage 1 is “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” it is a fairly flat stage compared to the rest at .95 miles with 340ft of elevation drop. You are challenged with rock gardens that you approach slower than you’d like and lots of pedaling in between. I couldn’t make it through the main rock bed on my pre-ride but sailed right over the rocks in my race run, only having to dab once as I navigated around a rider opting to walk this section. This stage was a sprint, and I was gassed after the long wait to start, which forced me to cool down much more than I would have liked. I finished stage 1 in 9 minutes 29 seconds—the 7th fastest time in Women’s sport.
Transfer 1 takes you on “Blue,” “Buck Flats,” and “Huggy Bear” and was broken up by a well-stocked aid station, where I enjoyed some jelly beans and pretzels while topping off my water bottles and refocusing before heading for the start of Stage 2.
Stage 2 is the longest at 1.85 miles with 775ft of elevation drop and takes you on “Lawnmower “and “Catovid.” This stage was fun but tiring; by the end, my arms were starting to feel like jelly. Steep shoots and lots of rock, staples for the Shed, kept you working hard for the entire stage. I finished this stage in 11 minutes 26 seconds, the 11th fastest time in my group.
Transfer 2 is “Three Saws,” a trail that zig-zags back and forth up the mountain and seems like it goes on forever after the length of stage 2 is still wearing off in your arms and legs. Halfway up this transfer is the end of stage 3—a fun spot to rest and do a little spectating.
Stage 3 is on a trail called “The Nose” and was another fun stage at .63 with 340 ft of elevation drop; it was also the shortest. The Nose gives you a break from the gnar and a chance for freeride, with a pump track feel and a few tables. I kept things close to the ground and tried to make up some time. This trail was recently rerouted; the new section was a beautiful sticky loam running fast and felt good on the arms and legs. The end shoots you quickly down over some roots and chunky rocks and out onto the middle of the transfer stage, where you head back up to the start of Stage 4. Thankfully, you only have to climb halfway back to the top this time. I finished stage 3 in 3 minutes 55 seconds 11th fastest.
Stage 4 was my final stage. I was tired, sweaty, and hungry. The day caught up to me; I was getting close to being out of water. I was anxious to finish up and get on the shuttle back to food. The last stage for the sports category takes you down “Boundry Line,” a steep rocky trail at .95 miles with 600 ft of elevation drop; this trail was loose and fast. It empties through a chunky rock garden shoot that brings you to the bottom of three saws again, which is also the base for the end of the other stages and the way out to the shuttles, so it’s a busy spot. I wanted to nail this line for the hecklers but shoulder-checked a tree and dead-stopped, thankfully recovering without crashing and being able to reset and finish the line. It's not perfect, but it's entertaining nonetheless. I finished stage 4 in 6 minutes and 51 seconds for a total race time of 31:43.444, enough to barely make the top 10 with a 10th place finish in women’s sport out of 14 super fast women—our times sometimes only fractions of a second apart.
Stage 5 was not for the faint of heart and only for those racing the Open Category. I initially registered for Open, but after pre-walking stage 5, I decided it was a bit more than I could handle. With high consequence features and massive drops, I knew It wasn’t for me, especially at race pace, but it gave me something to work towards.
After you’ve finished your stages, it’s a very short ride down a paved hill to a cute cabin where snacks and drinks await you to enjoy while waiting for the shuttle to take you and your bike back to Throrpewood. This was another almost 2 hour wait for us at the end of the race group, and by the time we arrived, I was pretty much spent and headed home instead of hanging out and enjoying a brew. Overall, it was a fun, challenging day full of PRs and good vibes all over the mountain. The Enduro racing scene is full of great people. I enjoyed meeting many of them at the Shed.
My Kona Hei Hei CR, the XC machine, was a champ at handling these rough and rugged gravity trails. It was a blessing in the transfer stages and, without a doubt, saved me as my energy ran out toward the end. The extra room for water without lugging a pack around was great, too. Big thanks to Bikeman.com and Bath Ski and Cycle for setting me up with this sweet ride back when bikes were hard to come by!
Next is my first Mid-Atlantic Super Series race of the season, Blue Mountain Enduro.