The evening was perfect, the volunteers had set up the course, the trails were in excellent condition and everyone was converging at Enterprise South Nature Park for what was going to prove to be a wonderful race. To the left of the start, along the tree line, one could spot the white tent with a fox on a bike…the Vixens are out!
Sporting the new teal, black and red kits from Escadrille, the Vixens were looking great. The Vixens had representatives in the women’s duo class, co-ed team duo class and women’s open. We were out in force to support our local SORBA chapter and have a good time. As we set up under the tent, there were great goodies to partake in. We had Nuun hydration supplements, great strawberry muffins from Karen, homemade power bars from Craig, sandwiches from Famous Naters, and drinks from Double Cola.
Also present for the race were many bike shops, including Scott’s Bicycle Centre, bike manufacturers, local racers and racers who traveled a long distance, all coming together for the inaugural “Night Shift” race, part of the SORBA Chattanooga Lynskey race series. Everyone dawned their lights, attended the racers meeting and lined up at the start gate. The atmosphere was light, the sun was setting and the starting horn went off. The first part of the race was a fast paced 2 miles on paved road. Then into the woods everyone went. Each lap was just shy of 10 miles and included all three trails at Enterprise South Nature Park; Black Forest, TNT, and Log Rhythm. As the first lap was ending, lights started to turn on. The trail was transformed into a sea of traveling spot lights. During every lap you could hear the Vixens all greeting each other, checking on one another and motivating each women racing. Everyone started to space out. A few riders had some minor mishaps, mechanicals or just went back to the pit area to partake in some great conversation.
Set up along the route were some great reflector art pieces, cheering sections and photographers. As you road along you could see reflector smiley faces, trees decorated with reflectors, “Vixens” spelt out with reflectors and even a peanuts character embellished with reflectors. All the art work was graciously contributed by the great Henry Trent, AKA one of the original Mixens. As the racers crossed the double bridges on TNT, photographers from Caffeine Photography snapped some impressive pictures.
Each lap concluded on the pavement once again. As the riders picked up speed they were reminded that it was indeed spring as their lights bounced of the large pollen particles in the air. I sure hope everyone had taken their allergy medication!
The first glimpse of the pitting area was seen as beaconing light in the distance. As they approached, cow bells were rungs, cheers were heard and deep breath was taken. The gravel parking lot with the start/finish line was crossed and then began climbing the start to the next lap. As the 1 am hour start to clock down racers were coming in for their final time through the start/finish. The top riders in the men’s solo class and duo teams rode 7 impressive laps!
In the end, the Vixens dominated the podium. In the Women’s Duo class Healther Hamilton and Rina Handwerker, Velo Vixens Team #1 took gold while Lori Kopeski and Kathy Logan, Velo Vixens Team #2 took silver. In the Co-Ed Duo class, Team Wallis (vixen member Jamie Wallis) took silver and team Havana Nights, (Vixen team member Veronica Borne) took bronze. Kudos to Vixen Beth Lofgren, for her first mountain bike race ever, she teamed up with a random dude and rode 1:03 & 0:58 laps. In the Womens Open class Velo Vixens member Elizabeth Glas took Gold and Velo Vixens race team member Noel Lawson took silver. Monica Desjardins, Velo Vixens team member placed 4th. We also had several vixens win some great swag which was donated from several bike shops including East Ridge Bikes and Scott’s Bike Centre.
It was a great night of racing, sportsmanship, camaraderie, and biking. The Velo Vixens showed up in force, showed the community how strong we are, and made some great memories. Thank you SORBA Chattanooga for putting together such a great race. It was well run and enjoyed by all. I cannot wait for the next race in the series. See you at Raccoon!
– written by Noel NeSmith Lawson, follow her blog