Thursday, August 24

'17 Breck Epic: Stage Four

Stage 4 – Aqueduct – 44 miles, 6300′ of climbing

Kenny from Ohio has decided to join us and has prepped his lifestyle bags for the day. Three aid stations, three Natty Lights.

So, sorta like beer.

I stick with what I know.

Anyways, we three kings of disorient are.  We started together.  The Aqueduct Stage.  A stage that my brain always thinks will be easy, but my body ends up disagreeing about once it's said and done.

I give it a little extra after the pavement from the start because I actually remember the climb.  Not one to get stuck in a slow group with if you're pushing 32X20.  Jeremy is still within sight.  Kenny... mebbe not so much.  The first ten miles offers up two kick-in-the-dick climbs, but also two most excellent opportunities for brappage.

photo cred: Timothy Faust 
My bike is still making miserably belligerent groaning noises.  I haven't done anything to it since the first night because I'm afraid if I start tearing into things, stuff might fall out of other stuff.  I didn't bring much new stuff to replace old stuff.  My bad.

There's also a new noise.  Tink, tink, tink...  Wait.  The noise goes away when Jeremy isn't nearby.  It's his problem.  I'm sure we are annoying anyone who can hear our cacophonous symphonic shit show when we are nearby.  Sorry but not sorry.  Ride faster.  Or slower.

I come into the first aid station, and the well oiled machine that is the Breck Epic volunteer squad has my beer ready.  A very short while later, Jeremy rolls in and we have a tailgate party (complete with tailgate baby.

A few minutes passes by, and Kenny comes into the parking lot.  He grabs his beer.  He paces about and chugs and eventually I hear his can hit the trash a little on the heavy side.  I wonder if yesterday's fine effort is taking a toll.  He was an animal coming out of the big climbs from the last aid station.  Big efforts come at a big price here.

On to the traversing stuff that I distinctly remember not liking from years before.  Punchy climbs and the feeling of getting nowhere fast.  I actually fall into a ditch while walking because paying attention is hard.  Get down the aqueduct section, pop out of the woods, the aid station isn't there... where it always is.

"It's a little further up the road."


Ride up the hill and a volunteer hands me my beer.  Jeremy rolls up.  No Kenny.   We discuss.

The standing around is kinda hurting me somewhat.  The temps feel fine while I'm rolling, but my lower back says it's chilly out.  I don't think I can stay in one place too long.  There's a six mile climb coming up that will already hurt enough as it is.

And as easily as we were three, we are two once more.

Once we get the climb outta the way, I find out I had a new favorite descent at the Breck Epic.  Jeremy drops me pretty quickly, but I feel like I'm in a tunnel of love.  Fully engaged.  Excite.

At the bottom, the final aid station and beer of the day (on the trail, at least).  We do what we do and roll out full of joy and happies.

The going's not terribly taxing, and we talk too much for the next three or four miles when we should have been eating, and then we both pay for it immediately.  I'm toast for the final six miles, my empty stomach collapsing on itself.  Mentally, I'm in a dense fog hoping to not die coming down the tight twisties and high speed double track at the end.

A very strong margarita at the finish line brings me back to the warm happy place.

That and knowing that Wheeler is coming up tomorrow.

And also...

Sorry, Kenny.


Jordan N said...

RIP Kenny. He just couldn't hang with the lifestyle. At least you still have Jeremy though. He seems like he's a great dude to have around. Pray to dog that your bb makes it the rest of the way.

Anonymous said...

They killed Kenny! You bastards!