Here's how it all went down,
Loop 1: 29 miles - 3,560 vert - 3:30
6:00 AM rolled around pretty quickly race morning and the race was off with a neutral roll-out through Breck. The temperature was fairly cold and most people were wearing fairly full thermals. However I simply relied on my German/Iowan roots and shrugged it off as "meh...it's not THAT cold". After the roll-out, the first 5 miles were a roughly 3,000 ft climb up over the Breck Ski area and over Wheeler Pass. As soon as we were on the gravel climb people started to take off like it was a 2 hr race....silly people. I simply got my HR in the zone of 155-160 and sat in. Before too long I started to spin past people who were already wheezing for air....silly people. After hiking through 2 small snowfields below Wheeler Pass we made it to the saddle at 12,460 ft and the first decent began....yippie! The trail was picture perfect high alpine singletrack... 5 in wide, rocky and steep! Somehow, during the course of the climb, most people forgot how to descend and I watched about 3 people dive over the bars in the first 500 yards of the descent....silly people. I shredded the gnar for about 2,000 ft down to Copper and hopped on the paved trail running to Frisco...time to EAT!!! I shoved down about 500 calories of powerbar (smoothie flavor....mmm), gels, etc. I knew the trail from Frisco back to Breck was fast and I wouldn't be able to eat much, so I made up for it with breakfast #2 on the paved trail. Made it back to Breck feeling strong. I knew the 2nd and 3rd loops were tougher, so I rode at a super conservative pace. Rolled into carter park while just starting to regain feeling in my ice block feet (hiking through snow at 12,000 ft at 7 AM and then descending 3,000 isn't exactly the warmest of activities) I swapped bottles and rolled out on Lap #2.
Loop numero dos: 32 miles - 4,268 vert - 3:27
Loop two started out with about a 1,500 ft singletrack climb that was on parts of the Firecracker course. I knew where the difficult parts were, which helped, but I was still riding at a conservative pace and shoving the food and liquids down by the handful. After the Flume climb (I think that's what it's called) I descended on the nasty shale from the firecracker and actually knew the decent well enough to rail the corners and put some "free" time on those behind me. Next was a long fire road decent before riding part of the Colorado Trail. It was around this time when things started to just click perfectly. I'd been feeling great all day, but all of a sudden everything fell perfectly into place and I was in the friggin ZONE! A smile started to creep across my face and even though I was covered in sweat and out of breath, there was nowhere else I'd rater be. It was that perfect nirvana-like state you only get a few times a year...time to rage! Also around this time I was blinded by a blur of day-glow green and carbon as Kerkove passed me at warp 9. He would go on to win the 68 mile race....nice work! I turned up the pace a bit and finished up the 2nd lap feeling better than after the 1st.
Loop 3: 36 Miles - 4,321 vert - 4:25
Loop 3 started out with a roughly 2,000 ft climb up the fire road to Boreas Pass (check out the profile of lap 3 for a good chuckle). I was feeling amazing and really turned things up on the climb; I was even climbing faster than I did during the firecracker. Passing people left and right, feeling amazing. Even passing some team relay people and their "too perfectly clean for lap 3" bikes. At the top I started the decent and rode with a Mafia Racing guy for quite a bit before dropping him (I'm pretty sure they have the sweetest kits around, and they're sponsored by PBR...bonus!). I arrived at the halfway point in Como (think abandoned small town Iowa and that's Como). I topped off the bottles and quickly headed back out. The next few miles were flat gravel....my bread and butter....I put some serious time on a few folks who couldn't quite figure out how to navigate washboard sections. I also think I'm immune to how mentally demoralizing a long flat gravel road can be to some folks...guess I'm just used to it. Anyway, this is where the "real" fun starts. I was riding fast, feeling good and wanting to hit the last pass with nothing left in the legs. I kept seeing the flagging that marked the course but after about 30 min the road I was on came to a dead end.....WTF?? I pulled the map out of by bag and saw that I must have missed a corner a few miles back. I still saw flagging so I had assumed I was on the correct road...but nope. So, pissed, I whipped a U and headed back. Sure enough, I found the missed corner....there was an ATV trailer parked just "kinda" in front of the sign....still should of seen it...but it wasn't exactly super visible. Well damn, now I was ticked about loosing so much time, especially when I was riding so strong. So I just put my head down, got mad, and dug myself a grave on the climb back to the pass. I was still passing people left and right, but I'd lost about 40-45 min being lost. I finished the climb nearly slumping over the bars....completely and utterly spent. Lightheaded and loopy is a great way to start a 2,000 ft decent! I came down the backside, rode the last singletrack into the park and crossed the line in 11:23 with 107.5 miles....6th in my category, 28th overall.
Overall, I'm super happy with how I rode...just not how I navigated. Had I not gotten lost I would have finished well under my goal of 11 hours and been quite a few spots higher in the standings. Pretty frustrating overall. However, the course itself was the best 100 miles of trail I've ever ridden on a bike....super sweet. It's an amazing race and I'll be back for more....
Here's a fun fact: During the race I drank about 440 oz of liquid (8 bottles and 3 cammelbacks full) between Heed, Cytomax, and good ole H20.....that's about 3.4 gallons.....or about 27 lbs.....Holy hydration batman!
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Here's how it all went down,