Tuesday, August 23

Breck Epic'esque: Stage 4-6

Stage four: The Keystone Loop

Although this was my third year at the Breck Epic, I could not remember what the fourth stage had to offer. Looking at that profile, it's hard to believe one could ride over that kinda terrain and have no memory of the experience. It was freaking hard... one of the hardest days of the whole week, yet once again my memory fails me as I write about it. I can only recall riding behind the original MOOTSman and maker of my titanium seatpost, Kent Eriksen, all the way down the longest descent of the day. He was "impressed" by my rigid frok downhill skills, but I explained to him that it was easier to go fast if I let a rider with a suspension fork get in front of me.

He said "You mean like everybody else out here?"

"Errrmmm.... yes."

Day four in the bag, once again in 5th place after 4:52 in the saddle riding around a course so hard my brain has quarantined it to some special unattainable lobe of my brain.

Stage five: Wheeler Loop

Wheeler is tops on my list. Even last year when I was riding like a piece of shit, I was able to make with the goods on the fifth day. There's just something about getting yourself up to almost 12,500 under your own power. Although I had a great start, I was slower on the hike-a-bike than I was last year... or at least that's my perception. What does it look like getting to the top? Jeff Kerkove shot a great video that sheds some light on the perspective of the mountain.

The only thing that makes you feel smaller than crawling up the side of the mountain is looking up and seeing the leaders as tiny dots way ahead in the distance. The push up to the sky is so worth the day's effort. The following descent is so worth the week's effort.

All manner of braggadocio aside, the long descent off of Wheeler was one of the big reasons I decided to stay rigid for the Breck Epic. It's a huge challenge to bomb down this thing, and I really wanted the same experience I've had twice before. No disappointments here.

5th place again, 3:40 minutes of smiling.

Stage six: Gold Dust

I don't have a profile, but let's just say you ride over Boreas Pass at 11,500ft two times in less than 40 miles.

I found it hard to want to put too much effort into the last day. Sure, there were a couple fun trails, but the standings were not gonna change for me, and hurrying up the climbs wasn't gonna make the descents any sweeter. I did give it a little gas when the top women (who were on a stage neutralizing social ride) came by, but I wanted to go down Gold Dust uninhibited. On the way back over Boreas Pass, I was greeted by Jeff Kerkove... beer in hand. A group of spectators schlepped PBR's up the mountain, and I am never one to turn down such hospitality.

Video of the following belch fest can be seen at 5:52, once again courtesy of Jeff "They use to call me Mr 24" Kerkove.

It's not easy pounding a beer when you pass over 11,500 for the second time of the day. Not wanting to be unappreciative, I rolled down the mountain one handed with the remainder of my beer as opposed to tossing it aside as some did. It was not necessarily safe, but it was the right thing to do at the time. Being that I didn't really eat or drink much during the entire stage, I could sorta feel the effects of the beer on the later technical descents, but at least it made for a novel experience and gave me a head start on stage 7.

5th place/3:02... whatever

unfortunate podium photo stolen from Mike Melley

More proof that single speeders need adult supervision.

from L-R and top to bottom Me (5th), Mike Melley (2nd), Vince Anderson (1st), Jeff Carter (3rd), Rob Lockey (4th), Peter Keiller (7th), and John Odle (6th).

Stage 7: Gold Pan Saloon

Let's just say that the tradition continued. Beer, Absinthe, beer, dancing, bleeding, and whatnot. The 5:15AM shuttle to Denver International Airport on Saturday was rough.

Perhaps some final thoughts tomorrow.

1 comment:

dougyfresh said...

did you have sandal issues again?