VNTRbirds has been pushing to get more women into the racing side of mountain biking. For us, the goal of racing isn’t to be the fastest, but to complete the race with our friends and with big smiles on our faces. With this goal in mind, VNTRbirds created the Rip Roaring Mini Enduro hosted at Arapahoe Basin on July 30th. For the first inaugural race, we were pretty nervous. Not only was it the first race we ever put on, but it was also OUR FIRST TIME RACING.

First time racers with their hands up! P: Katie Young

After previewing the venue of Arapahoe Basin’s trails, Argentine Fork and Wheels Up, we knew, this was going to be a fun and fast race. VNTRbirds created a unique race system with an enduro basis. Enduro racing is where the rider needs to pedal the entire course, but they are only timed for the downhill segments. VNTRbirds stuck to this rule, but instead of creating multiple stages and having various trails, we made it a repeater. Racers pedaled up Argentine Fork trail, an ascent of 2 miles and endless switchbacks and incredible views, then raced down the 1.8 miles of Wheels Up timed by OmegaTrackr off of their Strava profiles. They could take as many laps as they chose in a 3 hour timeframe. Some riders were one and done, ready for a beer from Broken Compass and others rode until we closed the course off.

The fun wasn’t over when the laps were finished. RMU Breck hosted a track stand contest and Buttnski followed up with a hoola hooping contest. Both were filled with laughter and impressive times!

Mykim Dang making their name plate and grabbing snacks before warming up at the starting line. P: Katie Young

The Rip Roaring Mini Enduro race is meant for everyone and anyone who loves to mountain bike. Whether you have been racing for years or never time a ride, this race is for you. Ride it fast or ride it slow – it’s your race and we guarantee it will be fun! You can be crowned Queen of the Mountain with categories like: Leisurely – Sporty – Spicy!

Cassie Wallace, first time racer in the Sporty category ripping through the rock garden. P: Katie Young

The race sold out with over 50 riders, most of whom never raced before! Women came from all over the state to compete in three different categories, Leisurely, Sporty or Spicy. VNTRbirds also hosted this race for the Rider to Racer program’s first taste of honing in their race skills with professional and certified coaches Anne Galyean and Tori Royle.

Kayla Miller who took first in the Sporty category catching air on the rocky rollover. P: Katie Young

There was constant hooting and hollering as the racers rode through dusty corners, over rocky terrain and down steep rooted sections. With smiles on everyone’s face, we knew that this is just the beginning of something great. A women specific mountain bike race that is more encouraging than intimidating. We cannot wait to host it again in 2024. Keep an eye out for registration and if you’re interested in the Rider to Racer program, you can put your $100 deposit down NOW to hold your spot for 2024.

Natalie Dustman and Mariko Totten who took first and second respectively in the Spicy category slapping fives on the podium! P: Katie Young

2023 Rip Roaring Mini Enduro Podium + Times:

Spicy –

1st: Natalie Dustman 6.10
2nd: Mariko Totten 6.26
Sara Hamme 6.33

Sporty –

1st: Kayla Miller 6.26
2nd: Michelle Cooper 6.30
Mia Barbieri 6.31

Leisure –

1st: Julie Doellingen 8.22
2nd: Suzy Bauer 8.28
Kimberly Potter 8.30

Leisurely category podium shot with a celebration champagne spray! P: Katie Young

This event was hosted on Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) and Tséstho’e (Cheyenne) native lands.

Thank you to all our sponsors that supported this event:
Yeti Cycles, Shimano MTB, Broken Compass, Buttnski, RMU Breck, Ride Wrap, PNW Components, Skratch Labs, Shift Human Performance, Inner Wild Nutrition, Nuvita CBD, Mountain Flow Wax Co, Slopestyle, Fly High Fire Starters, Hand Up Gloves, Dakine and Wild Balance.

Words by Kelley Wren – @krellbird
Photos by Katie Young – @kaytii