Eagle’s Schulte will participate in the tough and dangerous Red Bull Romaniacs bike race

Eagle’s Jamie Schulte will race the Red Bull Romaniacs – the self-proclaimed “world’s toughest hard enduro rally” July 26-30 in Romania.
Special for the Vail Daily

VAIL – When Eagle enduro rider Jamie Schulte revs her engine on the start line of the Red Bull Romaniacs – the self-proclaimed “world’s toughest hard enduro rally” – on July 26, she will carry a certain inherent confidence. This is, after all, a woman who skateboarded from Santa Barbara to Mexico, a “pretty awesome and gnarly 16-day trip” just because.

She fearlessly broke gender barriers in her sport – first as a trailblazing racer who beat the boys and now with her Ovary Motorcycle Gang (OMG), a contingent of local bikers working to make cycling off-road as accessible as possible to women.

She’ll also pull a wheel towards the starting line with a hint of justified fear.

“The miracle isn’t that you’re done, it’s that you have the courage to start,” says Nicole, friend, co-founder of OMG and Eagle-based veteran of prestigious international events at six-day enduro and six-day Scottish trial Bradford recalled Schulte.

Schulte’s commitment to the five-day Romanian race is certainly proof of his courage – physically and financially. As well as raising funds for the international event, there is of course the reality that her adventure could be over in 10 minutes if she crashes on the notoriously steep and sketchy European ledges.

“No, I try not to think about it,” she said of the risk.

“It’s a race where every finisher gets a finisher pin because it’s supposed to break you down before you finish.”

Peeling back the fascinating layers of the 42-year-old rider, who only took up enduro seven years ago, reveals why the risk – and all the fear – is so worth it.

A perfect birthday present

Schulte is perhaps best known locally for owning and operating Wrap Colorado with her husband, Matt. A former snowboard instructor in Beaver Creek, she grew up in Breckenridge dreaming of becoming a professional snowboarder.

“I totally thought that was going to be my way of life, and then it just wasn’t,” she said. A brief detour brought her to Kansas City before returning to the Valley 10 years ago.

“I was chasing winter all the time and I hated summer and was like, ‘Okay, I have to figure this out; what am I going to do to stay busy in the summer? »

For her 35th birthday, she bought herself an off-road motorcycle.

“And it took over my life,” she said in a type-like tone the rest is history.

Her freshman year, she just rode. Her sophomore year, she started racing. “When I decide I like something, I’m all or nothing,” she said.

Schultz competed in the Rocky Mountain Enduro Circuit, a local (Texas, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona) race series featuring one to two events per month, each ranging from 60 to 120 miles. Similar to the cycling gran fondos, timed test sections placed throughout the course determine the classification while the intermittent “transfer” sections are simply to go from A to B. There is also a point classification throughout the course. season for different capacity classes.

Eagle’s Jamie Schulte will race the Red Bull Romaniacs – the self-proclaimed “world’s toughest hard enduro rally” July 26-30 in Romania.
Special for the Vail Daily

Her rookie season in Women’s C – “the lower class” as she described it – went well and she won the season title in her second year. She climbed in class B men, because at the time, there was no option B women. She won again.

“I beat all the guys and I was like, ‘Oh!, OK!'” she remembered winning another overall crown.

Once active on the RMEC board, Schultz immediately advocated for more advanced women’s divisions.

“I was like, ‘Hey guys, we’re here, we’re getting good, we’re getting fast,'” said Schulte, who successfully trained in the Women’s A and B divisions.

This year, she and Bradford face off at the top of the A Division for the second straight season.

“She’s the fastest rider around,” Schulte said of her friend, a seven-time ISDE gold medalist, who took her under her wing throughout her seven-year career. “It’s great because we just feed off each other.”

The couple recognized the barriers for women wanting to try mountain biking and decided to do something about it.

“I would say I’m kind of a rare breed when it comes to tomboy, you can just throw me around with 50 guys and I’m comfortable, whereas a lot of girls getting into the sport need a lot girls camaraderie,” Schulte said of forming OMG, a group that organizes women-only hiking days.

“There are tons of girls on dirt bikes in Eagle; I don’t know where they’re hiding, but as soon as we put something on our Facebook page, they come out of nowhere,” she told Blake Conner, who wrote about OMG for Mountain Lifestyle Magazine this spring.

According to Conner’s story, up to 38 women showed up to ride the Bradford endurocross track and received help with equipment, bikes, skills and even entry fees at the race.

Their efforts are paying off.

“I didn’t realize the community around dirt bikes, and especially these women, was so great,” said Heather Mathews, who got into dirt biking because of her 18-year-old son. , to Conner.

“I didn’t expect this. They’re so encouraging and generous. There’s so much angst and negativity in the world right now, but when I’m with this group of women, it’s all about s encourage each other.

Don’t wait for life to happen

For Schulte, looking around the corner for another challenge is more than just a way of life – it’s the surest way to get the most out of life.

“I have now been sober for two years. So, riding a mountain bike is a bit like chasing…adrenaline. I am a drug addict. So it’s almost like chasing an adrenaline addiction, maybe. I do not know. But that’s part of it. I’m addicted, honestly,” she said, searching for words to explain how sport has both a positive replacement for past habits and also a way to fill a void that can never go away.

“Anyone who’s been there will understand,” she said.

“In the beginning, honestly, riding a mountain bike took so much brain power because everything was so new. It was like I couldn’t think of anything else, which was really helpful for mental health, because addiction comes with anxiety and depression.

Eagle’s Jamie Schulte will race the Red Bull Romaniacs – the self-proclaimed “world’s toughest hard enduro rally” July 26-30 in Romania.
Special for the Vail Daily

The satisfaction of coming back exhausted from a long drive protects her, she says, and provides a better alternative to altering her mind in other ways.

“I’d rather get up in the morning and ride my bike than be hungover any day,” she said.

Schulte has lost his mother, stepfather and brother in recent years, two other motivating factors.

“My family is gone and I’m not waiting for life to happen to me,” she commented, seemingly answering the question “is it worth it?” question regarding the tough summer race sponsored by Red Bull in the process.

“I’m going to make the most of what I have, because I’ve just suffered a lot of losses and things are clearing up quickly and I’m just trying to live. One hundred percent, that’s where I’m at. YOLO.”

Stand in line

The five-day, 600-kilometre hard enduro begins July 26 and will take competitors, who must navigate by GPS, through Sibiu, Romania and the Southern Carpathians.

“Sometimes, even here, I go an hour without seeing anyone in the woods and it will be a bit strange,” Schulte said of the route-finding component. “So doing this in another country, navigating by GPS, sounds pretty scary.”

The terrain is his other concern.

“The Romanian mountains are huge,” she said in a firm voice.

“They go up and down very steep. I go up anything, and then I’m afraid to go down. So that will be the biggest hurdle, and it’s mental, so I’m going to overcome it. But I’m a little nervous for a super exposed descent.

Her goal is to finish – and anything less will leave her wanting a little more.

“There’s no doubt in my mind, I know I can do it,” she reflected. “Honestly, that’s what it will take to make me happy.”

Her friend’s words – that having the courage to start is the real miracle – replayed in her head.

“It’s kinda stuck with me because a lot of the time, running or doing something scary for the first time, you’re super amplified, then you start up and I don’t know, a few pedal strokes in it, you’ I’m like, “Oh, that’s cool, that’s what I do,” Schulte said, almost inadvertently dealing with the other facets of her existence where she faced things head-on and preserved success.

“It’s the toughest hard enduro in the world. People basically say, ‘You’re crazy’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I know,'” she summed up.

“It’s just about lining up and doing it.”

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