Like any bike racer, Kennon Roeber likes a challenge. This year, she is focused on the Firecracker 50, a bear of a race which begins in
Breckenridge on Sunday. The race is also the USA Cycling Marathon MTB National Championship.
Roeber, who races as part of the Women’s Mountain Biking
Association of Colorado Springs team, is aiming for a podium finish. PikesPeakSports.us caught up with her this week. Here is what she had to say.50 miles is a long way on a mountain bike, what is attractive to you about this distance, or race?
I picked the Firecracker 50 because it scares
me! It is 50 miles and 10,800 feet of climbing! I like having one event each year that I make my focus. It helps to motivate me and keep me centered. Last year it was the Pikes Peak Ascent. This year it is the 50. Another great thing about the Firecracker 50 is that Breckenridge makes a party out of it. The race starts the parade off in the morning and the town finishes the day off with fireworks.
We're talking the USA Cycling Marathon MTB National
Championships; what category are you racing, what are your goals and what gives you the confidence that you can reach them?
I am racing Open Women 30-39. My goals...I would
absolutely love to win my category and receive the Stars and Stripes Champion Jersey! I am definitely aiming for a podium placement. I am not sure about my time but hoping for something close to five hours. What gives me the confidence? I guess my results so far this season. I know that I can be mentally strong when I need to be and that is very key is a race like this.
If you were telling an average, recreational cyclist what
it's like to race 50 miles, what would you say?
I would tell them that the hardest part is staying strong
mentally, especially is a race like the 50 where you do two laps and can easily find an excuse to quit when you come through at the end of your first lap. In a point-to-point race, or one big lap, you have to do the distance to get to the end. This one, well, you have the option to quit half way through. It’s especially tempting when you see all of friends enjoying a cold beer. :) It is also very important to make sure that you don't go out too hard in the beginning, and that you eat and drink enough to keep you going.
The WMBA of COS racers seem to be very supportive of each
other, who else is racing from the team, or going in a supporting roll, and what does it mean to you to have them there?
The WMBA girls are so great! We have eight
members racing the Firecracker 50 this year! Three of the girls are doing it as a team, and five of us are racing solo. It will be awesome to see everyone out there! Jessica Conner (who just had a baby) will also be at the race with the WMBA tent and supporting us as we go.
So you're 42 miles into the race, everything hurts, you're
covered with dust and sweat ... looking deep inside, what keeps you pushing down the trail?
This is when I really have to think about the overall
goal. I have to remember that I committed to it and how disappointed I will be if I don't finish strong. But really, I think the hardest part is going to be starting the second lap. You come through, having just done 25 miles, knowing the suffering you have in store for you when you start back up the mountain. Plus, like I mentioned earlier, you get to see everybody else hanging out, drinking a cold beer, and here you are about to climb 5,400 more feet, with approx 2 1/2 more hours of suffering.
Other WMBA racers in the Firecracker 50 include: Tracy Hankinson, Cat 2 championship (30-39); Kim Bough, Cat 1 championship (30-39); Mary Hoyle- Championship (19-20); Melissa McMartin - Maveric duo; Betty Turnage and Stephanie Ward - Cat 1 Duo; Hillary Hienton - Championship single speed. More about the WMBA of COS here