Thursday, February 26

Chilling and shilling

Tuesday I finally got around to checking the tension on the new IndustryNine/355 wheels.

After the first three to four hours of riding I'm happy to say my wheels just needed a little spoke turning time. For all you people that care about "tire talk" the Mountain King 2.4 got pulled off and a Rampage went on. The Rampage just has more "visual volume", and since I stare at my front tire quite a bit that's very important. I did put the MK 2.4 on my "training wheels" (which have Flow rims) and it plumped up like a Ball Park frank. Good times.

Now here's some nice-nice promo talk for the Breck Epic:

This is the time of year when most folks have made their plans for the "season" or are at least firming them up. So far the Breck Epic has filled about 50% of the allowed spots. Comparatively the Trans Rockies and the BC Bike Race (which in the past have been full or near full by now) are also lagging slightly behind their normal blistering registration pace. I realize it may be a sign of the times, and I certainly understand folks wanting to sit on their nut for as long as possible before jumping in.

Here's what I've been thinking. Since my first stage race back in 2004 (La Ruta) I've heard a lot of Americans say the same thing, "Why can't we have something like this in the states?" We all came up with a laundry list of excuses; liability, location, expense, logistics... you name it. I'm talking about a full-on, week long, epic days, fun nights kinda stage race. Well now we got a guy (Mike McCormack) who saw the opportunity to offer something totally unique, and he didn't look think of all the reasons there can't be a stage race in the U.S he thought of all the reasons to promote a stage race somewhere up in the purple mountain's majesty above the amber waves of grain (cue music and display flag to provoke patriotic feelings now).

So let's see what Mike is offering:

Breck Epic is a six day race where a team of two can sleep in an already set up tent and eat two squares a day for @ $1,330 a person* (if you're racing on a team).

BC Bike race gets you seven days of racing and all the above listed amenities for around $1,800 per person* (+ 5% GST @ $90 and any conversion charges your credit card company inflicts on you).

Trans Rockies is also a seven day race and includes the same stuff for @ $1,500 per person* (+ the same 5% GST and credit card crap), so it's safe to say more than $1,600 per person.

*All entrants get a free number plate included. Shazam!!!

So we finally got a pure, week long mountain bike stage race in the US, with a huge purse ("$10,000 plus a ga-jillion dollars in merchandise"), in the mountains of Colorado loaded with singletrack (one of the biggest complaints I hear at the other stage races: "Too much fire road, not enough singletrack"), and people aren't falling all over themselves to get their asses to Colorado this July? What are you waiting for?

Now sure, the Breck Epic doesn't have the traveling circus feel that you get with the other races. Everyday we'll be staging right outta Breck, and every night you'll go back to the same tent in the same place every night. I've always liked the traveling circus style races like BCBR and TR, but they have their drawbacks. Packing and unpacking your shit into a "not quite big enough duffle" everyday is a PITA. Hauling 75lb duffel bags across two football fields after seven hours of riding is hardly a treat. Finding out that the quaint little town your staying in only has one shower for the men is always a bit deflating as you find yourself in a long line with a bunch of stinky, skinny, naked guys. Finding out that the water truck got stuck on a mountain road hours from the "remote" finish, and that you'll have to go without a shower for a day was really fun. Having no breakfast because you're out in the middle of nowhere and the gas griddle stopped working was certainly sheer joy. Not to mention all the late shuttles (or non-existent in some cases), having to figure out where all the important stuff is when you're dog tired (supper, awards, showers, the next day's start...). It is all part of the adventure, but for that certain somebody who's looking to get their feet wet in stage racing without worrying about all the things that fall through the cracks (ever had a bus break down in the middle of Costa Rica the night before you're flying home, and nobody really knows how they're gonna get back to the hotel because there's a mudslide between you and San Jose??)

I'd love to go on and on, but I have to go to work now. I think if you're someone who's been on the fence about doing a stage race this is the one for you. I'm not saying it won't be hard (it will), but most of the things that will cause you the greatest amounts of stress (outside of the actual riding) have been reduced or eliminated. Wake up, ride, repeat. It's gonna be sweet. Mike has a great reputation for putting on some stellar events out west, so I have no doubt he's gonna pull this one off in a super duper manner.

And don't forget, if you can't find someone stupid enough, er... I mean willing to partner up with you Breck Epic does offer a solo category, so even if you're the world's biggest misanthrope (by biggest I meant fattest) there's a place for you.

At Work BTW: I am in no way saying that I don't treasure every little mishap or adventure I had at La Ruta, BC Bike Race, or Trans Rockies. Since I lived through them all I can look back and laugh at the river baths, hard boiled egg and tiny pie breakfasts, midnight bus shuffling, hitch hiking, and all the other logistical pitfalls I fell into. They are all great races, and the promoters do/did everything they can to make sure the same mistakes don't happen twice.


the original big ring said...

Don't forget the Intermontane Challenge (in Kamloops) too - five day stage race, cloverleaf style - just like Breck.

I did BC last year and it was awesome. Didn't encounter any of those issues you mentioned and can't wait to go back. The only issue I had, not enough porta-potties available in the morning. That sucked.

dicky said...

original big thing,

Who asked you?

Yeah, BC is getting better. I heard they still had a fair amount of road/gravel in the first coupla stages last year (and a field of tall weeds??), but the start is all different now (Vancouver not Victoria). I'm sure some of what we experienced as first year participants were just growing pains.

dicky said...

original big thing,

BTW: I'd do them all if I was independently wealthy.

Peter Keiller said...

hello whore.

mike is NOT giving you a FREE entry.

I have already offered to pay full bore for your free spot AND half of Tomi's reg IF you lose, he loses and I win.

and in case this isn't 'kicking puppies in the groin' evil enough, I linked this post to the organizers of BC, inter and'll never stage lose a race again!

hmmm, wonder if mootpsycles knows this yet...

Anonymous said...

further to intermontane challenge in Kamloops BC. Only $950 CDN (~$800 USD) $60 000 in prices. Premo singletrack, solo's, start and finish in Kamloops everyday.

why wouldn't you come here instead, no selling your soul and losing your dignity (all of you sad bloggers) for a free entry to breck


dicky said...


Actually IM was on my short list this year. The only real problem I had with going was the flight was gonna be more, and ground logistics a little harder (for me). The lack of camping options hurt a little too. Also since I've done three stage races in western Canada I was looking for something just a little different this go around, and I feel like all the people who have been asking for a race like this in the US(including me) should support it if we wanna see it continue.

IM looks good, and maybe I'll get to hit it next year.

dicky said...

BTW: As Pete-uh pointed out I sell my soul for a cup of free coffee, and as for dignity I throw that in for free.

But thanks for pointing IM out. I forgot it was an option. I had the IM site bookmarked since the first day I heard about it.

I got to look into this "independently wealthy" thing...

Anonymous said...

Might do the Breck. I signed up solo last summer, but I have not heard any news on it... kind of fell off my radar map on things to do... I just got back from 15 days of riding in the Carribean - 10 islands 10 days + Puerto rico.
Will post a storey book on this week.

Some gruisome climbs on those islands! Not much mtbing, but some wild wild cyclocross-road kind of riding. I betcha I hit up 30%rs in some cases..

Anyhow, hope Breck has solo category still...
Look forward to hitting up Colorado and the US!
Loving riding in the US (the hundies...). Just sweet!
You boyz and girlx know how to host up a good race!


Anonymous said...

Just knowing that there are views like this possibly...

makes me pee my pants something silly.. spectacular!

Anonymous said...

Read about half of it.. Blah blah blah..

I'm not signing up because I never wanted to do any stage race, and I sure in heck don't want to pay $1,330 to ride my bike for six days..

So bleh on all you said.

dicky said...

Is it "blah" or "bleh"?

At least you read about my tire choice. That was all that was really important anyways.

Anonymous said...

What you typed sounded like blah blah in my head, and what I felt like after reading what I did was Bleh. So both.

And yes I did read about the tires. I still am enjoying the rampage. I really don't have a single complaint about it.

dicky said...

Ahhhh... I get it.

I think I'm gonna buy a new tire every six months, swap it out for the Rampage, ride it once, get pissed, and then put the Rampage back on again. It is a great tire.

the original big ring said...

agreed - too much dirt rds on two of the stages (1 & 2)

apparently some new stuff this year, AND starting off downtown Van, crossing Lions Gate Bridge (Canada's version of the Golden Gate?) and heading up into the North Shore stuff on day one is pretty cool.

Breck does look awesome. I really considered it this year, but with our dollar in the shitter . . . it really adds up. Maybe next year.