Monday, August 23, 2010

Breck Epic '10 - Stage 2

Day two was supposed to be longer and more difficult than day one. For me, it seemed a little easier if that is even remotely possible.

41miles and 7,300 feet of climbing; mostly along the Colorado Trail.

I rode sections of the Colorado trail, twice, last week so I knew what was in-store for us at mile 15 (and for some reason it did not make me worry). I also knew we would be rewarded for our efforts on the climbs with some fast and wonderful singletrack descents. This was something that was not present yesterday.

Rest is important between stages and it was very difficult to fall asleep last night. Thom, Dicky and Peter all passed out early while I was still writing yesterday's blog entry. Staring at the computer must have made me wide awake (shouldn't it make one sleepy?). Eventually I fell asleep and next thing I knew the alarm clock was going off at 6am. No one moved but I was wide awake. I turned on the light and Dicky got upset but we all knew we had to get up and get moving.

Sunscreen on, waterbottles filled, drop bags prepared and all of us worrying about what to wear and whether or not it will rain today... Then we were off to the racer breakfast. Turns out breakfast was almost an hour earlier than yesterday yet we never knew. Luckily there was a few pieces of bacon left and some pourage. Enough for us to get something in our stomachs before the race started.

More talk about the weather as the clouds were heavy and the weather forecast was calling for scattered thunderstorms. Thom opted for a long sleeve jersey. Peter and I opted to carry our rain coats. Dicky... Well, you know.

Today's start was in downtown Breckenridge and we headed northeast out of town.

I didn't take too many photos today for a) I got a bunch last week which I'll show you and b) my camera was at the bottom of my jersey pocket underneath my raincoat so it was difficult to grab my camera whilst riding.

While I was not taking many photos, Thom took some photos with his GoPro still camera and posted them on the 'book of faces'. Earlier in the week we were talking about how his camera keeps uploading pictures with the album name 'Jan 1, 1970' and he didn't know how to change the album names on facebook so he just kept it as 'Jan 1, 1970' because it was funny. Well, I clicked on today's photos and couldn't find yesterday's. A few more clicks and I quickly realized that every time he uploads photos it creates a new album titled 'Jan 1, 1970' so now he has a total of six albums with that name. Yes, 6!

Where was I? Oh yeah, Dicky thought he would promote the Breck Epic today with his choice of attire. (That and his gear ratio change didn't make him any faster)

Photo: Thom

The race started for the day and once again the neutral start was very quick. With the neutral start on all road and some of it relatively flat I got spun out quickly. The first turn onto a dirt road climb I was met with a wall of geared riders spinning their easiest gear and no matter how slow I pedaled I still kept riding into their rear tires. This is one of the most frustrating aspects of racing a singlespeed. The slowest one can go on a singlespeed without getting off and walking is still faster than what most geared riders spin their granny gear at. I was tempted to say a few things but saw Mike (6th place singlespeed) near me so I stuck onto his wheel and we meandered through the crowd and pulled away from them.

Next thing I know Garth from Cannondale is near me and we rode together for a few hundred feet. I stood up and tried to turn over a decent cadence which allowed me to get away from a lot of people that were near me thanks to the quick neutral start. Victory!

Garth was so excited about today's stage that he raised his hand in glee.

photo: Thom

After that 3mile dirt road climb we came out onto a paved road for another 2 miles. A large percentage of who I just passed passed me like I was standing still since the paved road had a very slight decline to it (enough to make me spun out yet not coast as fast as the geared guys). Fail!

Mile 5 was probably the worst part of today's stage. We entered a double track climb that lasted not even one mile and we gained almost 800 vertical feet. I worked quite hard on the previous climb that my lower back was inflamed (due to poor posture). When this happens I have nothing... No strength and no ability to turn over the pedals on any climb. Needless to say I walked almost all of this climb and many people passed me (including Thom). Fail!

Cresting that climb we had an awesome doubletrack descent for the next four miles. I quickly gained more confidence in my bike and my tires to descend faster than I have been riding since my bike crash the other month. Victory!

Rode an awesome descent of the Colorado Trail that I did last week and it emptied us out into the first aid station. This aid station was critical for there was a lot of climbing in the next 15-something miles. I also realized that I only drank one water bottle in the first 15miles. Ugh oh. Not good. Refilled my one empty bottle and took off climbing the largest and longest climb for the day; up the Colorado Trail to 11,2000ft (aid station was at around 10,000ft).

This was about a third of the way up the large climb. I snapped this last week.

I found a good rhythm going up this climb and somehow bridged the large gap between myself and a train of six riders that Jeff and Sonya from Topeak/Ergon were setting a pace off. Latching onto the back of this 'train' I was able to maintain a consistent climbing pace. While it would force me to put out more effort that I wanted I knew that if I could get over this climb then there was a great reward of a 30+minute fast singletrack descent (and nothing as difficult as this climb). Therefore I did my best to hang onto this 'train' of geared riders. Shortly before the crest of the climb I had to get off and walk a few steps thereby allowing them to pull ahead of me. Not a big deal. I was grateful for their efforts and thanked them for the pace.

The fun descent! Sweet. Victory!

Another shot I took last week before the race.

Imagine doing 25mph down this trail with trees wizzing past you within inches of your handlebars? That was me today. It was just like riding a speeder bike in The Return of the Jedi (I wish and can only dream). My newfound confidence in high speed and knowledge of this descent (rode it twice last week) made for a very enjoyable ride today.

Meanwhile, I began thinking about whether or not I'd see Thom on the side of the trail rolling around on a rock. He has been getting muscle spasms in his back (to the feeling of someone stabbing a knife into him) on his rides and races lately. The only thing that helps ease the pain is to roll around on a rock or a log on his back (or a tennis ball at home).

Here he is doing such an exercise in the middle of yesterday's stage.

photo: Thom

Well.... I did see Thom on the side of the trail but he wasn't rolling out his back (his back actually felt great today). He was fixing a flat tire. I graciously stopped to see if he was in need of any assistance (provided him some C02 to inflate his rear tire and went on my way). The whole rest of the day I was hoping to see Thom coming up on me but that never happened. Turns out, despite him feeling great and much better than yesterday, he had multiple flats after I saw him and he would up finishing a few minutes behind me. Perhaps tomorrow Thom.

The rest of the way to aid station two consisted of two short but steep climbs, my legs feeling the effects of the hard effort immediately after aid station one and consequently my pace slowing slightly. Oh, and the remaining sections of the Colorado Trail we rode out to aid station two were fast and awesome (once you got past the two climbs).

I finally stopped and took a picture on the climb at mile 25. This was looking back at where I just came.

The remaining 8 miles after aid station two consisted of a short descent down Tiger Road to a road climb through a development to passing the awesome singletrack we finished yesterday's stage with (Mike Mac's way of messing with our mind thinking we're going down that but we really didn't) to more climbing to an awesome singletrack descent along a mine flume that we climbed yesterday. I rode as hard as I could and for some reason kept glancing at my watch realizing that I could finish today's stage quicker than yesterday.

This was within the last eight miles. Yellow race arrow telling us to go this way but township signage saying no. Found it quite humorous.

Turns out I finished today's stage twenty seconds slower than yesterday. Victory!

4hours 14minutes. Good enough for 7th place, Singlespeed.

Peter had a good day today as well. He had a lead on Jeff Wu until a few short miles to the finish where he ran out of gas on a short punchy climb and Jeff closed the gap and passed him. Perhaps tomorrow Peter will move up?

and the overall results after two days:

My Photos

Peter's Blog and Photos

Dicky's Blog

Thom's Blog

Oh, this is who is winning our Singlespeed field:

until tomorrow....


Blogger Sunshineprincess said...

Buffalo Bill is racing SS? what has this world come to?

8/24/2010 9:06 AM  

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