Tuesday, August 27

Breck Epic: Stage Six

The last day... ahhh.  Relief.

Gold Dust.  Not my favorite day, but not a bad day on the bike by any means.  Plenty of single speed friendly climbs and groovy descents ranging from flowy, to rip shit, to mega-chunder.

Chris and I are slotted rather far back in the starting waves due to our slower than normal finish after the previous day's wedding stage.  We get to sleep in (sweet), so I don't think I'm gonna mind the inconvenience. 

We roll up to the starting area and run into all the smiling faces from the previous day's nuptials.  They start floating a rumor that we can jump into an earlier wave if we want to since the timing just starts when you roll over the line anyways.


We jump into a wave a few minutes early, make a half-hearted effort through the twisties in the parking lot before we hit the trail... and are filled with immediate meh feels.  The single track climb is very tight and at just that right pitch for a single speed to keep moving... as long as there are no impediments to forward progress... ie; slower Eagling riders.

We burn matches here and there getting around the traffic, make our way to the gravel climb over to to the aid station, and then down the backside of the pass.

photo cred: CX Hairs
Drop into Gold Dust, letting Chris go by so he can just do his thing and me do mine.

photo cred: Brett Rothmeyer
I pop out at the bottom and Chris is there.  We start riding in what I call the "doldrums" of the Gold Dust Stage... some meandering roads and dirt paths that just kinda sap your energy before you get back to the meaty climb up the backside of the mountain, usually into a headwind.  Once things tilt up, I feel a little more in my zone.  Mebbe for the first time, I'm actually using the altitude feature on my Wahoo for something, counting down the feet of elevation to the top, giving it my best Chris Froome "stem stare" all the way to the top.

Without Chris (not Froome).

There's a ton of descending to the finish, and I'm counting on him to catch me.  I do stop for a beer hand up at the aid station... and some whiskey... and some more.  Then I just ask Dan Durland to tell Chris I'll see him somewhere... unnnhhhh... down there.

Road to chunder gnar to... unnnhhh... mebbe I shouldn't have taken that second shot of whiskey.

Dial it back a notch, get to the bottom.  No Chris.  Wait and take a piss on what I think is one of the final climbs... and there he is.

We ride into the finish together, solidly locking in our fourth (last) place Duo Men's 100+ finish.

I've got zero regrets on the week.

And I have to admit, as much as I kept thinking, "Man, if I ever come back, I'm gonna have to try to get into some kinda shape and live a little cleaner leading up to the event," I don't know if I wanna stick to my every other year plan.  I deeply love the challenge that this race represents.  I might really need this in my life every year.  There is no "faking" it.  Back to back to back (ad infinitum) five hour days at altitude can really break you down.  It can also make you feel proud to have done "a thing."

photo cred: Ffej Knar
Even more proud to do some other "things."

photo cred: CX Hairs
Fleshstorm 2019

So we'll see about next year next year.

I'm gonna probably have to keep blerhging semi-consistently for the next coming bit.  I've got a race to do this weekend, and while Breck Epic was all up in my face, a number of new bike stuffs have made their welcome way into my life and are in need of proper discussions.

No comments: