Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Summertime means living to ride!

Transylvania Epic( TSE)

TSE was the big race on my schedule for the Stan’s No Tubes Team. I did the race last year and really enjoyed the terrain, the race organization and the overall friendly, fun vibe. Last year, I camped out under the trees that were raining pollen and cooked on a little camp stove. I was sad and introspective because my dad had very recently passed. He would of wanted me to do the race and enjoy myself as he was my biggest fan. It was good therapy. But it also felt like I rode with a heavy load everyday, his memory and my 28lb bike.

The 2012 edition was like riding with wings comparatively. I was in much better shape physically having spent a month in Sedona, ridden some long road epics with friends and had done more xc racing capturing several state championships along the way. Mentally, I was just starting to come out of the funk of the end of a long term relationship. The bike had been my savior during that time and I appreciated the mental clarity and sheer joy that the bike always provided for me.

Then add to that the top notch support from our Stan’s Family( Thank you Shannon, Kenny, Richie Rich, Strauber and Mike B!!!) and having my teammates Jenny and Sarah and Vicky and Shannon there…well it was amazing! I thrive on having my bike(which by the way was under 20lbs) taken care of after each stage with not only uber professionalism, but with a smile and a joke, too! And then having the girls there to make me laugh and offer encouragement is priceless.

I won several stages and felt good. I was missing some top end at the starts and didn’t have the fitness to attack eventual winner Cheryl “Churtle Le Turtle” Sornsen, but it was a successful stage race for me and full of good memories. Our team rode strong and made a big splash in our beautiful pink kits. I like a race that ends with winning a hatchet(aka Tomahawk), eating prime rib and then a three beer derby. Good times in Pennsylvania for sure.

Canaan MTB Festival

The heart and soul of my biking life started in Davis, West Virginia( aka Canaan Valley pronounced “KaNane”). Owing so much of my love for mountain biking to this place and wanting to share it with others, I started the Canaan MTB Festival four years ago. This festival aims to bring people together to ride trails, enjoy each other’s company, do trail work and support the Tucker County Trails Club.

I do a women’s skill tour on friday. We do skills drills and practice in the morning and then ride to my cabin for lunch. I cook the meal for these amazing ladies. I want them to have a healthy homecooked lunch because they deserve it for all their efforts and good energy. Saturday are free group rides led by the local characters. We have a nature ride, a championship loop ride and then an all day circumnavigation ride of Canaan Valley. Sunday was trail work in the morning where we fixed a wet spot at a local park by armouring it with rock. Sunday afternoon is a Bike Hash.

A Bike Hash involves two Hares leaving the start point with a 6-10 minute headstart. The Hares throw differing marks of flour on the ground for the Hounds to follow. They also carry beer that they stash along the way for the thirsty hounds. The sneaky Hares try to throw the Hounds off course with false trails and confusing markings. The object is to catch the Hares before they reach the end of the route where more beer and Sirianni’s pizza is waiting .

There is a limited and special language used like, “RU?” that means are you on the trail? and “Checking?” Then when you find the right trail you say “ON, ON!” And then when you find beer, you say “ON BEER!” At the end, Beer is drank out of the Sacred Vessel and songs are sung and toasts are made and most importantly, Beer is drank!

Tour de Burg

I’m glad that I got TSE under my belt because that prepared me for the infamous/mostly unknown Tour de Burg. Starting the same day as the Tour de France, the TDB is a 7 stage, six day race that has 2 road stages and 6 mtb days. The format is pleasure pace (PP) to the timed sections, then race a set section of trail or road, regroup and then PP to the next race section. Usually, there are two timed sections per day and a lunch stop. These are all day outings over rough, gnarly terrain in the mountains of Virginia. This is an off grid race that costs $175 dollars for lunch, dinner and a massive beat down with a core group of athletic weirdos and sadists. Jerseys include the typical Men’s Leader, Women’s Leader, KOM, Sprint and the much contested DFL.

These quirky, endurance, hard partying, inexpensive races are the memories that I will cherish when I’m in the nursing home more than any world cup!

What’s Next?

The second big race for me this year is at the Colorado Endurance Festival. I will be participating in the All Mountain Enduro at Winterpark. There are five stages, including a chainless downhill. I heard there are non stop tabletops and some very fast girls showing up. I’m so excited to finally try this format of racing that seems to be getting popular. I will be racing the Jekyll II with Kenda Nevegals, and Crank Bros. Zepplin seatpost and pedals and a Lazer full face helmet. So stay tuned!

Thanks for reading.

Sue Haywood.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I love my friends, I love my bike

I want to thank my friends from the bottom of my heart for helping me through this rough patch of my life. The silver linings to my personal crisis have been my friends and loved ones and my bike. I've cried on many shoulders and surfed some couches and rode some long miles. It was hard and sad and a little pathetic. And I read a few self help books, so I know all the right stuff to do and I try to do the right thing. But, honestly, with such cool people in my life, I can't be too sad for too long. And I really love riding my bike with my friends and realize how lucky I am to be able to do that. I am so grateful that I have you in my life. Thank you my friends in Harrisonburg. Thank you, my friends in Canaan. Thank you my family. Thank you, web friends. I feel your good vibes and got to pay them forward.

Let's never break up, Okay?

Pink makes me happy


Yea, I like whiskey and ramps

Never underestimate the power of laughter and endurephines!

And dogs are the best creatures on the planet

What can you do but smile?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Canaan MTB Festival 2012

Thank You, Ruth Melnick, for designing this year's Festival poster!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Ah, Spring! The eternal hope of better things, pretty things and freshness. Also the time to renew, clean, and move. As, there is one thing for sure in life, its change. And as much as I would like to hold back that change, I can't. I must move, move forward.

The Summer Day

by Mary Oliver from The Truro Bear and Other Adventures

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Monday, March 5, 2012

24 Hours of Old Pueblo...fast tracking on kitty litter

Back in the fall I inquired to a couple of friends in the bike industry, if there might be a little sponsorship available for a person like me. I wasn't planning on coming out of retirement and conquering the world, but I wanted "help" to get to some of the great, though expensive, races that I like to do. And really, I wanted to be part of a team again. I missed the friendship and shared experiences of being on a team. And, as you know its hard feeding a bike racing habit without some great equipment easily available. Lucky me, because Stan's No Tubes Elite Women's Team was looking to pick up a diversified rider like myself. The team is filled with really great gals who will be at the biggest races in the country. They are true journey women of the sport. They are racing and training for the sheer passion of it. Its so great to be surrounded by women with that kind of drive. But its a balanced, healthy drive that you see among female mountain bike racers in this country. They are happy to put in the training work, work their jobs, work for the sponsors and work for their families. Its a positive influence for sure. And I'm really honored to be part of their family this year. A contingent of the team met at the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo. I've done this race before on a 5 person team and on a female duo. And had a winning streak going! And of course the girls wanted to win and win we did. It was a solid win for February, most of the girls coming from cold climes. It was such serendipity, that Susan De Mattei, needed a team to be on, and we needed a rider because of illness. Every year the race gets dedicated to someone in the mountain bike community that has made an impact or difference. This year, "Sue Demo" was the honoree. Todd Sadow asked me to say a few words about her. I was happy to recount the time that I first met Susan in Slatyfork , WV in 1997. She was doing a women's singletrack weekend and I was a guide and helper to her. She was the first pro rider that I had ever met. She gave me tips and encouraged me to turn pro. She encouraged and mentored all the women there that weekend. She was exuberant. And she still is. And she is still really fast, cranking out a fast lap of 1:11! She thought that she might only have to do three laps, but the course was fast, that she ended up doing four and most were night laps! Sorry Susan! It was a cold night and the shivering and tense muscles had me questioning why I was doing this again? It never changes for me...the night racing laps are brutal. Its not that I don't like night riding. I actually think it is a magical experience that has so many benefits. And our light sponsors, Light and Motion, gave us some really bright and lightweight lighting systems, so seeing was no problem. I'm a creature of comfort and crawling out of a semi warm tent to crank a fast lap, is just uncomfortable. But never the less, it got done and I had the fastest night lap! So its a reminder, its okay to be uncomfortable and the quicker you go, then the quicker you will get it done! The 24 Hours of Old Pueblo is a great opener season race for all. There is great melding of industry supporters, regional fast pinners, and members of the tribe of the wheel. The course was incredible fast this year, with the fastest time for 16 miles, being 54 minutes! That is so fast for flat tracking on kitty litter. I look forward to getting equipment from sponsors, especially the wheels from Stan's No Tubes, bikes from Cannondale, tires from Kenda, energy from GU and Elete, packs from Ergon, trainers from Jet Black, air from Geniune Innovations, Adidas Sunglasses. Also check out our website

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sedona Pics

These are some pics from Sedona! I was lucky enough to get to spend four weeks out there this winter with my good friends. The riding is ledgy, edgy and mostly grippy. The scenery is so amazing and gives out good energy.