Monday, August 22

Breck Epic'esque: Stage 1-3

Going into the 2011 Breck Epic, I had a few very uninspired goals. I wanted to have fun, take care of myself, and come home without any stress related cold sores. Peter's goal was to make sure I only accomplished the first and failed at the second and third. After Little E picked us both up from the airport, we were on our way to Breckenridge, first stop... power lunch washed down with a pitcher of Avalanche. Once we got back to our room, we built our bikes and rolled out to the brocery store for food and more beer.

It took me longer than usual to build my bike since I took the time to swap over to my new pink EBB.

No, you can not has one.

Being at altitude felt as it always does. Watching TV does not feel bad. Moving around does. Sleeping is difficult and hourly periods of awakeness are commonplace.

Stage one: Pennsylvania Creek

Riding at altitude is just how I remembered it, humbling. Either you get to town weeks ahead of time and acclimate or you just plain suffer. Being a normal human with a normal job and a normal life, I chose to suffer. Right from the neutral roll-out from town, I felt like I was riding under water. I knew it was coming this time, and as advised by Breck Epic promoter Mike McCormack, I throttled back a bit.

At the 5.77 mile mark I saw a guy who had not "throttled back." He was vomiting. I throttled back a little more to avoid any unnecessary spewing. Trying to make the most of all the descending, I managed to hang it out just a little too much and almost lost it on a steep rocky pitch. At least someone was close enough behind me to get some entertainment value from the experience. I finished the day in 4:18 with a 5th place out of eight starters/seven finishers (we lost one of our single speeders to vomiting).

Stage two: The Colorado Trail

Mike had told us that the rain that fell overnight would provide us with something the locals called "hero dirt." The term had been bandied about quite a bit over the last two years of the event, so I knew I was to expect super traction on the trails. In an attempt to utilize the ultra-sticky dirt to my benefit, I hung it out on the very first descent, and on the very first corner of the very first descent I discovered another meaning for "hero dirt." This would be the variety of dirt which slides out from under your front tire as you don your cape and fly headlong down the trail with your bicycle no longer attached to your person. Hero dirt indeed.

Not too much later I noticed a fair amount of squish in my rear tire. Due to recent flat experiences this season I had promised myself that I would not waste time trying to seal anymore flats this season. I would just stick a tube in if anything suspect happened in the tire department, but somehow I still found myself at the side of the trail trying to put air into my failing rear tire in hopes that it would fix itself. Once convinced that this course of action was a fail, I tossed in my spare tube while 6th and 7th place became 5th and 6th. While fixing my situation at the side of the trail, I may or may not have farted on a passing rider. I apologized just in case. After 4:43 on the bike I came in 5th place after chasing my way back into the proper order of things.

Stage three: The Guyot Loop

This stage is pretty massive in its intensity. A couple of huge hike-a-bikes, one of my favorite all-time descents, and plenty of gnarly terrain. Somehow I managed to be in a virtual third place for almost ten seconds after bombing down a nasty descent into the first aid station, but Jeff Carter and Rob Lockey restored the natural order of things shortly thereafter. I had a Dirty Dancing "time of my life" coming down the Colorado Trail trying to keep La Ruta promoter Roman Urbino and his full squishy behind me the whole way down. After 5:02 worth of effort, I came in 5th place once again.

I'll finish this up tomorrow.

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