Connors takes Filthy 50 Win

Mountain Biking

Larissa Connors Recaps the Mazda Quick N’ Dirty

Filthy 50 Mountain Bike Race

This past weekend was a doozy. A jam packed two day fiesta of bikes and ice cream, tacos, friends, suffering and fun doozy. And to prove it was an excellent, over the top, not a second wasted weekend I felt like I got hit by a train this morning, and I’m sure I looked more than a little haggard at school today!

BUT, you guys! This freaking weekend! Wow.

I’ve been looking forward to this double header of a weekend for a long time now. The ridiculous plan was to ‘race’ the Circle of Doom in Pasadena on Saturday and then Filthy 50 in San Diego on Sunday. There are not enough minutes to recap both before bedtime, so I’m just going to say that COD was 120 miles of gorgeous, harsh, brutal climbing and descending in the mountains just east of Pasadena. The ‘race’ had 5 times segments, of which 3 added up to the 3,000 ft climb up Hwy 39. It was painful, and glorious and everything I could want from a Saturday. And ice cream was consumed afterwards… 2 scoops of ice cream.

But the Filthy Fifty, a 50 mile out and back mountain bike race, was the main event this weekend. I’ve raced FF before, in 2013 and won, but that was a long freaking time ago and I wasn’t even an endurance racer then! This time it looked to be an incredibly painful affair, just the way I like it.

So our alarms go off stupid early and we are in the van driving south by 6am Sunday. My body protested every thought of racing because I hadn’t even begun to recover from COD, and I DEFINITELY didn’t get enough sleep Saturday night.

I choose not to warm up because you know I’m so good at making decisions, and after picking up some fresh new TASCO gloves and socks (all seasonal and orange and black!) rolled up to the line feeling pretty dull, like a butter knife.

After a nice intense discussion about staging and call ups and equity (more on that later because it was a LOADED convo, let me tell you!) we national anthemed and the gun went off.

Well you know me and my big ego wanted to ride with the lead guys, but less than 5 miles in and I was slipping off the back of that group. My legs didn’t hurt, they just couldn’t put out any power. This is where my usual endurance race panic began, at mile 5 of a 50 mile race.

So a bunch of dudes passed me, dudes who I DID NOT think should be beating me, and I had to swallow my pride and remind myself that I did indeed shell myself up Hwy 39 the day before because said ego wanted to take back the QOM on that climb which was stolen from me a month or two ago.

Well eventually I attached myself to the back of this group of 3 dudes who were hauling butt across the flat, sandy trails towards this random lake, and I did everything I could to stay behind them but not help them out at all (I couldn’t have if I had wanted to…)

Then, miracle of all miracles, we caught the lead guys!!!! Hallelujah, a bigger group to draft off of! Sadly, soon after we caught the lead guys (a group about 15 strong), we came across a sketchy bridge and some rando dude in the middle of the group fell off the bridge causing everyone behind him to have to stop. As I was in the back trying to NOT do any work I was also stuck. But I was quick on my feet and I pulled a quick a-hole move, rode THROUGH the creek and around all the guys who were held up, and continued to chase those crazy fast lead dudes.

Alas the lead dudes were much faster than I could go on my own. So I had to settle for letting 3 guys catch me and sitting in on their group while I recovered from trying to be a hero and failing.
Well this group turned out to be pretty fantastic, and I sat on their wheels doing NO work all the way to the end of the out and back… and then some. Cool fact about this group, Johnny O’Mara was one of them, I hear that guy is pretty good at riding motorcycles or something… 🙂

So these guys let me follow them around for a while, or rather they had no choice since I had attached myself like a fly to fly paper. Eventually, on our return trip to the venue two other randos caught us, and we became 6 strong. On the way back we passed Wonder Woman, and a bunch of other people and I got to cheer and stuff so that was fun.

Well I think my group was getting tired of doing all the work, and they may have been catching onto the fact that I was starting to feel good, and then someone commented that they had me to pull them all back to the finish. My first reaction was ‘HECK NO! I’m tired as crap, I cannot pull anyone anywhere. But eventually I did take the lead and do a nice long turn in which everyone learned that I cannot corner, nor can I follow course directions to save my life.

I tried to come off the front a few times, but the group slowed so much each time that I decided I may as well pull so no chicks would catch us (also I thought there was a girl up the road the whole time, so remember I was still panicking). So basically I pulled the whole group all the way to the last climb.

There was one sneaky jerk in our group who did the least work on the day (I’m pretty sure he was in the wind less than me), and halfway up the climb he passed me and proceeded to ride away from me never to be seen again. I don’t have appropriate words for how a feel about this sneaky, slacky… I know I know, that’s good tactics, but how do you let the GIRL in your group do all this work and then attack her on the climb?! That just seems… wrong. Anyway, I am proud of the work I did, so at least I have that 🙂

So we dropped everyone else in our group on that climb, and I do feel bad that Johnny and the other Baghouse dude did all the work on the way out just to get dropped by me, but what was I going to do? Wait for them?! Heck no! I drilled myself into the ground to get back, and crossed the line unsure of whether or not I had won. This is an awkward feeling, let me tell you. Do you put your arms in the air? Throw out a peace sign? Pop a wheelie? I had no idea so I half posted up, and then immediately ran into Nikki.

After rubbing dirt on Nikki’s face (she was WAY too clean to have just finished a race named Filthy) a guy hosed me down, and then Nikki and I went for a cool down catch up spin. That was followed by some awesome Acai, eating half Brendan’s tacos, drinking copious amounts of Badsea coffee.

And THEN they gave me champagne to spray and told me to lift this huge, rad, eagle trophy over my head. Pretty sure they just brought that thing to emphasize how weak my upper body is, but after a struggle and a half it was over my head, and then we were off to ride more bikes and eat more tacos (at my favorite taco place which happens to be in San Diego).

By Larissa Connors, Sho-Air TWENTY20 Cycling

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