Monday, August 19

The 2013 Breck Epic: Stages 1-3

I got to Breckenridge.  So familiar at this point.  My fifth year of coming to this town that sits just below 10,000 feet.  I swear I was breathing slightly better than in previous years as I negotiated my way up stairs and performed other tasks such as brushing my teeth.

Maybe this year will be a little different.  Probably not, but one could hope.

I picked my bike up from the shop.  They were very apologetic about accidentally building it. They also bled my front brake and fixed my bent rotor.  Those guys are sweeter than Mallomars.  An amount of money was forced upon them, and I took my bike back to the condo for a once over.  Move some stem spacers, straighten the saddle, reroute the front brake cable to the rear of the fork...  I'm sure it woulda all been perfect had they not used Garth Prosser's odd physique to set up my fit.

Yes, I found out about that much, much later.  I've since burned that saddle.

While messing with the front brake, I noticed some uneven wear on the pads.  Sign of a sticky piston.  Leave it alone or deal with it?  Less than ideal conditions in the condo, but I decide to work the piston free with some effort and mineral oil.  I'm as ready as I can be.

Stage One - Pennsylvania Creek - 36.06 miles/5509'

I entirely forgot that we would be sharing the start line with all the 3 Day Epicurious riders.  Arriving late, I found myself way further back at the start than I should have been.  Up Boreas Pass Road, I had to burn a lot of matches to get up to where I belonged in the pack.  Once in a happy place, I settled in and felt surprisingly better than I have in previous years.  That's not to say that I wasn't breathless at times, but at least I knew when to back down and keep away from the redline.

As soon as the trail started going downhill, I was instantly aware of the fact that I was a bit too hasty and anything but thorough with my brake repair.  The smell and noise that emanated from my front brake was a tell tale sign of a self-contaminated rotor.  I had fucked myself.  In order to descend safely, I had to drag a lot of rear brake on the descents.  Riders went flying by at an alarming rate, all noticing the pungent aroma of burnt fluid.

Kurt, AKA The Angry Singlespeeder and my roomie for the week, came ripping by me, boosting off a small water bar and flicking his bike to the side as he continued down the mountain.  Meh.

I spent the rest of the day in a dark place.  Unable to let go on the descents and not fully remembering just how long the course was, I ended up going just a little farther than I had prepared myself to ride.  Bonked and let down with my own ineptitude, I rolled down into Carter Park, a still surprising 8th out of 15 single speeders.

I think it is worthy of note that on Day One (if I remember correctly), The Angry Singlespeeder informed us that he indeed had a life before becoming the ASS.

I now haz a copy and will be reading it this week.

Stage Two - Colorado Trail - 38.06 miles/5312'
I remembered this stage all too well, as it is the one where it rained all day last year and people went all hypothermic and shit.  We would not get such a treat today.

All was going relatively well for me until coming out of the first aid station I realized something... I was racing.  That was something I haven't really bothered worrying about at the Breck Epic for years.  Kenny Jones (Fatty's friend) had rode right through the aid station and after filling my bottle, I gave chase.  I ran him down on a fire road and made a move on him on the trail.  I put in a solid attack...

and then...

all I could think was "What the fuck am I doing?  I'm on vacation."

So I sat up and asked him if he wanted to come around... and he did.  I've got no business racing at 10,000 feet.  It's enough just trying to come from Charlotte the day before the event and survive the week at a pace that allows you to still look around and be amazed by all that is Breckenridge.

Great plan.  Sit up and have fun.  Woulda worked too, had it not been for Tim Breznyak, Vince Anderson, and The ASS getting lost out on the course, thrusting me into an undeserved 5th place in the single speed class.  Not where I wanted to be and nowhere I wanted to fight to stay.

Perhaps it was this evening that The ASS shared with us that he was indeed the man behind 1 On It.  He was turning out to be quite the Renaissance Man.

Stage Three - Mt. Guyot - 38.28 miles/7740'

Those numbers tell a tale.  That's a butt ton of climbing in less than 40 miles.  Pain.  Walking.  Lots of both.  My only goals for the day?  No flats on Little French Gulch (I'm only two for four on that task in the past) and thoroughly enjoy the descent down the Colorado Trail... what with it's East Coast feel lower half.

  photo cred: Luke Sagur
I kept myself in check getting to Little French and DID NOT go into super hero mode on the way down.  Instead of bombing it and risking a flat or possible injury, I picked my way down the washed out trench of rock and detritus.  At the bottom, I safely went by the aid station and gawked at the riders who were inserting tubes into their disabled vehicles... including SS'er Tim Breznyak.

Then there was the long walk up over not one, but two passes.

photo cred: Luke Sagur

Once over the pass, I let it go... past the point where Peter broke his hip years ago and on down the mountain.  I passed two SS'ers fixing flats, including Kenny Jones.  Ripping the Colorado Trail was as incredible as ever, and I woulda felt like a god as I passed quite a few riders that were stupefied by the countless rocks and roots... but enormous single speeder Robin Dutton came by me like I was standing still.  My ego was put back in check.

The fire road climb outta the belly of the beast was as awful as ever.  There were two bright spots though.

I could see my roomie Luke Sagur ahead.  He did not belong back there with me.  He's a much better rider and was obviously having a bad day... so I rang my bell to let him know I was catching him. It was the least I could do.

I could also see Robin Dutton up there hiking in front of me.  I saw him look back down the road for me.  Not wanting him to miss my presence, I waved an exuberant hello back up to him.  He waved back.  Very nice.  He managed to stay away from me, finishing 30 seconds ahead.  My not-so-hard-earned 5th place still remained safe for another day, but I was prepared to let that all go on Day Four.

Oh yeah, I beat Luke.  He got chick'ed and dick'ed all on the same day.  Harsh.

All apologies for any unreadability due to grammar and spelling today.  I am le tired.

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