I swear, coming back from a stage race is always complicated, the Breck Epic always more so. I figure I've done somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-30 stage races by now, and the Breck Epic is at the top of the list for most disorienting return ever.
I've got a pile of fitness, but it's buried under a mountain of fatigue. The first day at work is always so strange.
"Why do I come here?"
"How do I do my job?"
"Do I actually do this every day?"
I told myself all week that the 2015 Breck Epic would be my last one for awhile, yet a few days later, I'm thinking about going back. I know at least two people from North Carolina already expressing interest in racing next year... dammit.
Even more confuzzling is coming back to an empty house. No family, no dogs... just a hamster and a foster guinea pig. I've gone from an environment of constant stimulation to one of solitary confinement. I'm anxious to get back to "training," but honestly I can feel the lead in my legs on the way to and from work. My metabolism is jacked up, and I'm eating all the things all the time. And beer still tastes good.
Gravity feels different. The air is thicker. My brain, foggier. So weird to start the day not fueling myself to go over a mountain pass or two in the next few hours.
I figure I'll be back to normal human status before the end of the week. A pile of chores that need done (bike related and bill paying son of a bitch stuff) should pull me back down to earth in time for my family's return and going back to putting in extra miles for at least another month to get me through the rest of the "season."
Hey, why not mention three relatively useful things I really liked using at the Breck Epic.
Maxxis Ardent Race 3C/EXO/TR. It weighs more than a hundred grams more than the Ikon 2.2 I usually run, but damn if it doesn't hook up on the loose shit way better. I was climbing the bejeebus outta the trail. Worth the weight penalty... although I wish they just made a 3C/EXO sans TR (would be lighter), because who really pays attention to "Tubeless Ready" things?
That rim. The NOX Farlows (built up on the Industry Nine Torch platform) have been stellar, allowing me to drop some pressure and eat up dem bumps.
That strap. The Super 8 Strap from Backcountry Research. I saw so many dropped (full) gel packs, hats, gloves, knee warmers, arm warmers... you name it. Why? People shoving too much stuff in their pockets and then dropping shit while trying to sort through it all blindly behind their backs. Dumm. I was sticking all the excess (or emergency) clothing in the strap with the only thing in my pockets being, mustard, a Tülbag, and a couple gels (from left to right). I never had to deal with overstuffed pockets, and I never dropped a thing.
Success. Dare I say I'm "looking forward" to the Shenandaoh Mountain 100?
Prolly not. Almost three weeks to go. Anything could happen to bring sads between now and then.