Thursday, August 22

The 2013 Breck Epic: Stages 6-7

The Wheeler stage (#5) was short, relatively speaking. After returning to the condo, it was post-race beer, shower beer, river soak beer, and then get ready to attend a Trans-Sylvania Epic Reunion BBQ and beer session with the Merriams.  Cajoling, friendly ribbing, and brats.  We could only stay until ten minutes to five, as The ASS had to make a podium appearance (again).

photo cred: Luke Sagur
So the podiums... Luke and I's cue to wash our bikes.  Podiums not being "our thing" at the 2013 Breck Epic.  After the riders meeting, we headed back to the condo... and then it all hit me.  The beer, the effort of the week, the meat tube sammiches... I was crushed.  By 7:00PM, I was curled up in the fetal position on the leather couch watching No Country for Old Men.  A fine description of my Breck Epic experience.
Stage Six - Gold Dust - 31.74 miles/3573'

No planned single speed solidarity ride today as is sometimes enjoyed at the BE.  Somehow we never gelled as a cohesive group.  I blame The ASS.

Anyways, I forgot to take the initial climb seriously enough and entered the long singletrack climb a bit too far back.  No matter, as my head was in some kind of fog from the day before.  Thoughts were anything but clear.  Other riders would say something, and I would repeat it over and over in my head to convince myself that they actually said it.  Altitude? Beer?  No idea.

On the fire road to Boreas Pass, I passed Devon, Donna, and Melissa headed up to hand out beers.  I rode with them for awhile before I realized they were riding at a leisurely pace loaded down with beer, and I had no business riding that slow if I wanted to get the business at hand done ASAP.  Over the pass and into the descent down Gold Dust, my head was still not in the game.  My brain could not keep up with the information.  I pulled over and let some riders go by, again, and then again... and then I let a surprised Chris Latura by (the SS'er on the rigid Bianchi with a front wheel made of stone).

I got my head back in the game.  Around Chris and then past a few more on lower Gold Dust.  As much as I could, I hard charged my way up the back of Boreas Pass just looking to get it over with.  I had a hard time finding someone to work with into the headwind... others going too slow or too damn fast.  Over the pass, take the full beer hand-off, chug down what I could before hitting the gravel descent, toss the can, tuck all the way to the next trail, get passed by Jeff Wu and his partner right before the entrance...

fortunately they let me by before we started going down.  The bombed-out river bed of double track was no place for a safe pass.

Hammer, hammer, hammer and it's over.

I must blame Peter's absence for the lack of a "scene" in the parking lot at the finish.  Mebbe not having Dejay and Melley contributed.  Either way, there were no hours lost drinking shitty beer in the sun.  It was all business for the next few hours.

photo cred: Luke Sagur
A couple Coors later (a unit of time in Colorado), we headed to the Quandary for the awards.  Expensive drafts and recognizing the efforts of our (faster) peers.   The ASS's disco ball helmet was passed around like a 12" joint.

photo cred: Jasen Thorpe
Unfortunately, the seedy scene from last year's awards was gone.  No shirtless arm wrestling, no forming pyramids with strangers, no coat stealing.  I talked Luke and The ASS into going back to the condo to pre-game for Stage 7.

We drank coke and whiskey while we reminisced about the whole week until we ran out of fuel.  Time went by, and finally we decided to make our appearance at The Gold Pan, the venue for the final stage.  Belly up to the bar, and I purchased three Coors drafts.  Past the dance floor to celebrate Dan Durland's win (AKA: The Christmas Present), and I was nabbed by an unruly mob.  Sue Haywood, Amanda Carey, and Donna Miller were determined to stomp the dance floor into bits.  I was not there... yet.

Drink what wasn't spilled from my cup, order more, drink more, repeat until I feel like there's something worth dancing to offered unto me.  Eventually, it was the same as always.  The bumping, jostling, sweating, gasping for air, strange smells dance party.

At some point, an advance party of Haywood, Carey, McCormick, myself, and two others I should remember but don't made it into the streets looking for more fun.  Wrestling, items tossed into the street, a closed Mexican joint, Indian (Native American) Burns, ball crushing, absinthe bar, broken bottle, absinthe chugging, another bar... and then I did what's appropriate.  I snuck off when no one was looking.  That's how the Breck Epic Stage 7 always goes down for me.

I lived through it all yet again.

More and more tomorrow.

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