I haven't been there to "race" ever since my first year in 2009. Back then, I was still delusional, believing that "racing" over 10,000 feet wouldn't affect me. It does. Some years more than others, but it always takes me down a notch or two (or five).
But the Breck Epic is still such a wonderful experience. The views, trails, mountains, rivers, weather... everything. I'm there to hang out with long distance friends that I generally only see in Breckenridge. I'm also there to just hang out with whomever I'm staying with and enjoy their company as we share our experiences every night, as if I'm getting four days of action for the price of one. Commiserating every evening with Bill Nye and Andrea about their day in the saddle and finding out what Nick "The Face of Chaos" Barlow (not racing) got into that day? It was as good, if not better, than experiencing it for the sixth time myself, their eyes, brains, lungs and legs all new to the whole thing.
Stage One to me was a bit of the same old, same old. I mighta made my one and only "dick move" pass of the week early on, because even though I'm not necessarily racing, I had no desire to spend more time out there than I had to. I think the most excited I got was when I was side-by-side with Yuri Hauswald (racing his SS in the 3 day Open Men) late enough in the race to feel cocky. I felt less cocky when he put ten minutes into me before the finish.
3:44 on the bike, 31st of 86 in Solo Men 40+
photo cred: DesWe got some weather for Stage Two, strangely enough, the same stage that Peter and I (racing duo) had to ride in the rain back in 2013. I had a dream the night before that I had been hit by lightning, so it was even more exciting for me when hail started pummeling us at 11,500+ feet, and I could hear the roar of thunder in the distance. I was glad that my friends who were experiencing their first Breck Epic were getting a good taste of high country weather. Just one more incredible part of the whole thing that no one should miss out on. I did a terrible job on the nutrition front, only choking back 1.25 bottles of Carborocket Half Evil, a gel, and one banana...
4:02, 41st place Solo Men 40+. I was an empty shell of a man by the time I crossed the finish line. A dumb, empty shell.
I decided that since I treated my body like absolute shit the day before, I would try fueling myself however I could for Stage Three. I didn't care if I had to stop in order to drink or eat, there was no way I was gonna push myself for four hours on one and a half hours worth of nutrition (again). Also, one of my favorite descents of all time is about two thirds of the way into the day. I wanted to come in feeling on the ball, so I ate my way around the course and up the two giant hike-a-bikes.
The down on the Colorado Trail did not disappoint, the climb out did (as always), but I felt much better having actually taken care of myself.
4:31, 32nd place Solo Men 40+
Highlight of the day? Washing my bike right after the stage... and then meeting Jonathan Davis (92Fifty/Elevated Legs) for the first time IRL and having a chance to hang out with Brad Keyes (Carborocket). I use both of their products with regularity, and they've both made a big impact on how I feed myself (when I remember to) and recover. They also gave me beer... which is nice.
photo cred: Karen JarchowBeer doesn't help with recovery, but... whatever.