Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Breck Epic '10 - Stage 3

Today was the Guyot loop. Our first stage that went over 12,000ft and our first stage with considerable amount of mileage above 11,000ft. It hurt and was the first time I really felt it in my legs.

44miles and 9,1000 feet of climbing. My GPS said 45miles and 8,606ft of climbing. That is right... I finally figured out how to get it to work throughout the entire day (it shut off yesterday) and also remembered how to upload the data.

Here is the GPS data.

Says I completed this stage in 4hours and 30minutes (official results say 4hrs 39mins). My goal was around the 5hour mark. Victory!

We started in town again and just as yesterday, the neutral start dropped me (as you can see below). To make matters worse the neutral start today was almost twice as long as yesterday.

I chatted with Mike Melley, a fellow local singlespeeder I met last week and is a lot stronger climber than I, at the start. He was a bit surprised as to how hard I started yesterday and spoke of how he just settles into a rhythm at the start and slowly picks people off.

"Hmm. Good idea. Think I'll try that today. Thanks Mike."

It actually worked really well and allowed me to ride the majority of the first climb. I felt really good and eventually caught up to Jeff and Sonya, the co-ed duo racing for Topeak/Ergon who are winning. I also noticed a lot of people on the side of the trail with mechanicals such as Buffalo Bill.

The first aid station at mile 12 came very quick and I realized I haven't been drinking or eating anything. Not a good sign. I still felt good so I kept on going. Thom caught up to me by this time.

That is right... I got to ride with Thom today; finally! He's been a tad frustrated that he can't catch up to the pace I've been riding the past few days. Day one he was dealing with the altitude. Yesterday he had a tire fiasco that set him back. After installing a decent set of durable tires last night he was able to ride hard finally now that he's getting accustomed to the altitude.
Not sure how I took this since our heart rates were quite high and we were having trouble talking to each other. We did get to reminisce about our trips up to Highland Mountain Bike Park.

'over the shoulder shot of Thom and the rest of our gang... around mile 17'

Somewhere as we were riding up the valley to summit French Gulch (the 12,000ft peak) Buffalo Bill came riding up and passed us. We were a tad confused for a second but then just shrugged it off and went back to trying to carry out conversations while our heart rates were too high to due such a thing.

Buffalo Bill riding away from us on the climb up French Gulch.

Thom is the guy in the middle. On our way to 12,000ft.

As the altitude got higher the riding got a little bit more difficult. At some point we all pretty much were walking. Looking up the mountain you can see a line of people walking and when you turn around and look down the mountain you see the same thing. Temperature was also dropping and the wind was picking up. Someone later told me it was in the upper 40s (F) up there. No wonder I was cold with just wearing arm warmers (yes, I chose my attire poorly).

The 12,000ft crest is just to the left of that mountain in the center. We're almost there. Almost.

Almost to the top. Another 400ft of climbing. I turned around and snapped this shot of a trail of racers making their way up like lemmings.

Same location as the last photo. Gives perspective of the slope we were on.

Another 400ft of vertical to go until we summited. That is Thom out of the saddle climbing.

By now a bunch of other guys with multiple gears have joined Thom and I and we hoofed it up this mountainside. The views were so surreal and the air was so thin that we weren't really sure if we were still in the US, or Earth for that matter. Phrases about climbing to the moon where thrown around. Someone also started asking about the handgun permit process in CO because they wanted to make Mike pay for having us slosh up this mountainside into both foul weather and some pretty thin air. The Lotion song also kept popping into our heads as we became more and more delirious.

As we crested the top there was a photographer all bundled up for we were in heavy thick fog. Thom thought it was a Wookie or even a Yeti. I thought it was an Ewok. Naturally, we were both wrong. I kind of wish we met a Wookie.

Going down the backside of French Gulch we were not really too sure where to go. Thick fog and moisture everywhere in conjunction with the thin air was confusing us. Thom and I eventually found another one of those rock piles one typically sees when hiking above treeline. The descent was very technical and I had almost no energy to keep my rigid bike under control. It often got a hold of me but I quickly steered it back in place with some speed control via the brakes. This was about the time where Thom thoroughly enjoyed his tire selection and that suspension fork on the front of his bike. He took off down the trail leaving me for dead.

The moisture from the clouds and the low temperatures were really taking their toll on me. I was frigid descending the backside of French Gulch. At this point I was kicking myself for leaving my knee warmers back at the hotel room. At some point I eventually made it to the bottom of the descent and we then had a dirt road climb back up into the clouds (Georgia Pass). I was also feeling a bit run-down from my efforts on the earlier climbs. At some more food and tried to settle into a rhythm to get back up Georgia Pass to get back over the mountain range (where it was sunny). At some point I started warming up which was a great thing. My body started reaction better.

The second aid station was at the top of Georgia Pass and it was cold up there. I was moving so slowly and was also a tad incoherent but mustered on knowing we'll be descending the Colorado Trail down out of the clouds, cold air and back into the sun (where I'd warm up). I happened to ride this section last week. It reminded me of PA and New England trails. very rocky and technical. Sweet!

Riding this terrain on a fully rigid bike beats you up. Once I warmed up a bit I was able to ride faster and harder. At some point the numbness takes over and you don't really feel anything anymore. Your upper body is taking all kinds of shock from the rocks and roots. Your feet are swelling and the balls of your feet are burning. Its like being tossed around in a human-sized pin ball machine. Yet somehow I kept riding faster and faster? Not entirely sure what came over me but I was quite happy since the feelings of being cold and having tight muscles disappeared.

One more long climb and then down the first climb of the day to the finish line. The end is in sight! Unfortunately this long climb was a tad too steep for me to ride it continuously. (I also later found out a lot of people cracked on this climb.) I would ride some and walk more. This continued until we hit the summit of this climb. Then I got to rally a sweet descent again.

On the way up I stopped a few times to get a bunch of photos. There were great views up there.

I came from down in that valley

You can see the clouds we were in on the 12,000ft pass earlier in the day.

eating some more food

The remainder of the stage saw me riding quite hard knowing I had a few miles left to go with most of those miles being downhill. I passed a few geared riders and put some time on them before I crossed the finish line.

That finish line was a great sight. This stage definitely hurt but we kept on going.

7th place singlespeed for the day. Retain 7th place overall. The positions above me moved around a bit (overall) due to such a wide span of performances today.

My Photos

Peter's Blog and Photos

Dicky's Blog

Thom's Blog


Blogger George said...

the Lotion Song.... just plain wrong.

8/25/2010 7:00 AM  
Blogger mike said...

i am so happy to know that the legend of buffalo bill lives on. great write ups - i wish i could be out there.

see you at transylvania.

8/25/2010 11:26 AM  
Blogger Ohio Robb said...

isn't Georgia Pass amazing? it's like the equally pretty, but way more rideable sister to Wheeler pass on the other side of Breck. Keep it up out there.

8/25/2010 2:22 PM  

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