We got some. For me and my place in the world, it started up above the tree line on the second big climb of the day.
Breck Epic. A memory for a lifetime (that I totally forgot yesterday).
Stage Four - Aqueduct (Keystone) - 43.41 miles/6539'
Photo credit: Liam Doran.
I got back on the bike, chased him down, and had a talk. He's a quintessential single speed hard man and a veteran of other stage races; La Ruta and Trans Alps to name a couple. I guess we used to race at East Coast events together "back in the day." It was certainly nice to chat him up. Most amazing thing about his set-up? Not the steel fork, as I was still totally digging the ride back in 2010 or so. No, it was the 2.2 front tire with a TUBE pumped up to @40PSI. Psick. Unthinkable. Ouch.
Anyhoo, he was riding at more than my talking pace. I looked over my shoulder, saw one Jasen Thorpe having a bad day, and dropped back to him to pass the time on the climb up to mile 30. We talked it up quite a bit, passed by a fair amount of the climb, and before I knew it, two more single speeders made their way past me. I let them go until I saw them smack a high five, and then I chased them down to see what that was all about. They were just celebrating what they felt were their solid lock on their respective places, 11th and 12th. I didn't have the desire to chase them down again until the five mile descent, where I ended up back in the mix with Chris, Hans, and David. Exactly where I didn't feel like being... pleasant to have company but inspired to be somewhat competitive on a day that I didn't feel like competing in the least.
In the end, I held the wheel of neither Hans nor David and ended up 13th of 15 SS'ers... dropping overall GC places a bit more than planned, from 5th to 9th. Doh.
I didn't deserve full immersion at that evening's river soak session.
photo cred: Luke Sagur
Stage Five - Wheeler 30.2 miles/5131'
photo cred: Karen Jarchow
I kept myself up in and amongst those I felt I needed to be around, save for Fatty's boy, Kenny Jones, who was admittedly not a great H-A-b'er, but was certainly giving it a go today.
photo cred: Quinn Shephard
At the top, I took the bacon feed (which stayed in my throat for longer than anticipated) and headed down the incredible descent of Miner's Creek.
One of my favorite downhills of all time. As Mike McCormack put it, "Your arms will be bloody stumps when you get to the bottom."
As expected, big man on a Pivot Les, Robin Dutton, came smashing around me on the way down. I felt like this was inevitable as he schooled me on my other favorite descent on Stage 3. No worries. Just the way it is.
When we hit the slight downgrade on the bike path back towards Breckenridge, the earth shifted on its axis and the laws of physics were not obeyed. Somehow, and this kinda thing never happens, I caught Robin. Despite the fact that he had some weight on me, I still caught him. Time warp... black hole... tear in the space/time continuum. Dunno.
From there, I expected the punchy technical climb back into Breck, but the course was altered to avoid conflict with dog walkers and whatnot, and we were treated to an extra 600ft gain up an old, steep road bed. Sweet. I gave it what I had left trying to keep Robin at bay, and rolled the final descents as if I were being chased by the devil himself. I managed to pull out a 9th on the day, held onto my 9th overall, and was only a hair away from my desired perfect mid-pack 8th place finish.
A hair I would chase down on Stage Six.