Monday, August 20

Breck Epic 2012: Stages One and Two

I had been talking to Peter about dropping out of the single speed class for weeks leading up to the Breck Epic. My emails were met with no response. With only two teams registered in the Men's Duo Open field, I felt like this would be a fine opportunity to join our dark forces and finally put Team Misfit Psycles on the podium (albeit by default). The day before the race, we found that Jeff Wu and his teammate were out of the running, so with only one unbeatable team left on the roster, we abandoned the Misfit Psycles corporate agenda sponsored Single Speed Stage Race World Championships for greener pastures.

Our competition would be Blake Harlan and Bryan Alders. Not really competition so to speak, as they were both capable of top ten finishes overall everyday. Whatever. To the victor the spoils, second place gets the leftovers.

Shopping for a week's worth of supplies

Stage One:

Peter was not prepared. I knew his tubelessly mounted tires had issues. I knew his cranks had been falling off. He mentioned that he had not ridden much, and by "not much" he meant not at all. Nevertheless, the die was cast and we started the day as teammates.

On the first climb up the paved road we were right where we needed to be, behind the folks that would go fast and in front of the people that would not. Less than half a mile from the first trail, Peter's newly Stans'ed front tire blew off.

Comical to say the least.

Riders passed by in large numbers, and as a team, Peter and I solved the problem. I took the wheel from Peter and he released it from his grasp, washing his hands of it all. We entered the trail almost dead last.

I passed Breck Epic promoter Mike McCormack. I told him about Peter's flat. He told me it wasn't too late to go back to the single speed class.

I stayed the course.

We slowly advanced through the ranks, until Peter told me that his crank was falling off. I would have never thought that would have happened... again... just days since it last fell off.

I gave him my 8mm so he could tighten it when necessary. Ride, stop, climb, stop, descend, stop, yet we still managed to finish out the day...

on the podium.

Stage Two:

We lined up under a cloudy sky. The sprinkles started to fall on our heads just as the race began. As we pushed up a climb that was usually baked in sunshine in the years '09, '10, and '11, I mentioned to Peter that these conditions were much better than in the past. I was wrong.

The rain came down as well as the temperatures. Everyone was soaked. Riders stood at the side of the trail dumbfounded, fiddling with zippers and shivering. I asked Peter for some affirmation that the plan was to keep moving.

He said, "Schlurbing lofbun fimbking."

I assumed that he was assuring me that he was fine, so we continued on.

We passed a guy dressed like the Gorton's fisherman standing with his bike next to the trail not making any progress towards the finish. Another rider who was dragging his brakes in an attempt to reduce wind chill on a gradual descent. Yet another rider struggling and fumbling down the trail trying to just stay on the bike only a few miles from the end.

"Poor bastard," Peter said.

I laughed maniacally. Not so much at the "poor bastard" but at the craziness that the day had provided us. Finally a truly "epic" day at the Breck Epic after four years of waiting for the proverbial shit to hit the fan.

Almost six hours of riding in the 40° rain, and we managed to squeak out another second place finish.

Second and last. Almost winners and losers all at the same time.


AdamB said...

Never has the phrase "2nd Place = 1st Losers" ever been more true. Of course, it could also be translated as, "Last Place = 1st Losers."
Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Anonymous said...

Misfit's owner and rider pulling out of it's own sponsored class to grab low hanging fruit elsewhere. That's the most singlespeedy thing I've heard of in years. nice.