Saturday, August 15, 2015
The Breck Epic 2015 is in the books. Today's stage started on the edge of town and groups of categories started together. This was the first time i got to see the singlespeed field in it's entirety and that was all good. Got to do some fist bumps at the start...the last day!! The first half mile was a climb up a road and into some singletrack. There the climbing continued which was accompanied by a need of oxygen. Being in a train of singlespeed studs, I kept up for as long as i could but after a while i felt the need to step aside as some speedsters approached from then next wave of categories. I stepped aside and let them by. This happened a few times over the first 4 miles where some faster folks who started with other categories whipped by. That was more of a blessing than a curse but the climbing continued. Eventually we left the singletrack and made it to a gravel road where a moderate climb took us to the Boreas Pass Summit at the 9.5 mile mark. This pass would be hit on the way out and back. An aid station was up at the pass and I got some food on and got going. The descent started down the road and before long, hit singletrack. The trail was pretty sweet. It was at a subtle decline and was kind of like a track for running trees off the mountain in the winter...like from back in the day. It was fun and ended in a valley. We then made our way onto a gravel road that we took all the way up to the Boreas Pass Summit again. That was like a 6+ mile climb. At that point it was a down hill gravel road into down hill singletrack and eventually to the finish where folks were so stoked to survive the last 6 days. I was lucky enough to have the wife and youngest see me come out of the woods and cross the finish line. Stoked!!
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Fuggin A! I feel like i have been beaten by a bag of baseballs. Today hurt all over. It started, of course, with a little warm up.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Yesterday was a rough stage...coming out of it, my legs were tight and weak feeling. I fed on some pasta, went to sleep and hoped for the best. Woke up with the legs pretty stiff and went thru the morning routine. During the warm up, the legs loosened up a bit but they were still not feeling the strongest. At the line, talking with other riders, they seemed to be doing well. I was a bit worried and at go time, Elevated Legs tent where i get my compression type massage going on. It is like getting your blood pressure taken on the legs on and off for 20 min or so. This is supposed to help the circulation and i believe it has helped. I have also stopped by the SRAM tent for some support. They hooked me up yesterday by installing some new brake pads, tightening up the headset and locking down the rear dropout so my chain would not fall off. Today they took care of a pin that was falling out of the Time pedal...hopefully that pedal allows me to clip in tomorrow. I will let you know tomorrow in that post...To Be Continued...
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Halfway done with the Breck Epic and the legs are telling me that they want to be done. The alarm goes off at 6:00 am and so i can get the drop bags full up with needed supplies. A couple stages have 3 stations that they will bring a designated bag but generally it is two. I have been packing them up with a couple bottles with some carb powder which will be filled with water when at the aid station. On the first stage and this third stage i packed rain gear but fortunately, no rain. On stage 2, i packed no gear and Poof! sleet and rain. I am gonna pack it so it doesn't rain going forward. I may just have that power. In any case, i then take the drop bags to the designated spot and head back for some oatmeal and pb toast breakfast. Come 7:45, i'm kitted up and out the door to warm up the legs. This morning needed some warming but they were feeling alright. At 8:30 am, the race is on. Today's stage took us to the highest point in the Breck Epic, 12,000 ft. As normal the climbing begins right away out of town. This time id ducked into single track after a few miles and i fortunately made it through the bottle neck fairly quick. The climbing kept going on and on but it was handled. I was making good time until the next ascent...which is where everyone had the time stop. This is the major climb of the day but i would say it was more of a 1000 ft ascending hike. The trail was rough and the breathing was rougher. Here is a pic of only halfway up.
Monday, August 10, 2015
Post day 2 feelings are much better than after yesterdays stage. The legs responded well today and they feel good...for now. The day started in town and as the norm to string out the masses, climbing is first on the agenda. This was not so bad but what really strung it out for me was a brief downhill section. The single can't keep up to geared bikes on the road so coast i did with a couple of other single speeds. The climbing then began in earnest on a gravel road. Before too long it was onto the sketchy jeep trails and that was where the grunts began. The crowd and the rocks made for a climb not conducive to utilizing momentum so there were a few spots where i had to hike briefly to get past roots or rocks. Very little time spent on the feet though so that encouraged me. The trail leveled out for a short break and then began to climb again. Made it up that and a super sketchy descent with baby head rocks all over. Survived that and took in some single track. I was feeling pretty good still and keeping a good pace and then my chain fell off. Rats. Gotta stop and get that back on which is a bit frustrating when the rhythm get thrown off. get that on with the quickness and got going again. Rolling on and the chain fell off 4 more times so i found some shade and took the tools out. Got that tightened up, took a few pix
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Finally logged miles at the Breck Epic and it was as tough as expected and as awesome as well! To get a bit warmed up before the 8:30 am start, i got on the bike about 45 minutes earlier. I road to the start and then climbed up the race course on the road. All was feeling good and right when the announcer stated that there was 20 minutes to the race start, my pedal fell off. Doh! WTF, right? A quick decision was made and i made for the condo and busted out the slick park took pedal wrench and got that beast back on there with the quickness. It was then a dash to the end of the line up. No biggie being at the back. My goals for this race are to finish each day and hopefully represent MN on the lowlander singlespeeder front. The start was just outside of town and after the Go!, there was a neutral roll out for .5 miles on our first climb. It wasn't too bad climbing on the road for the first couple miles. It was just crowded as the 350 or so riders observed the yellow line rule. I met another singlespeeder who had done time in Minneapolis and said he was on a 32x19. Looking back, i don't know how he could do each day at that gear. It looked like he was on a 29er so...i will track him down and ask if he is switching to a 20. At the 2 mile mark, it was into the single track. As to be expected, this led to some stop and go along the trail. Fortunately it wasn't for a ridiculously long time but that first taste of Breckenridge single track was sweet. It didn't take long to get to more climbing. This is when the trail started to put on the curb stomp. The trails up were often full-o-rocks and long! Climbing, climb, hop off and hike-a-bike, climb, hop off...until the top for some thrilling downhill action which often led to more climbs. The climbs were not solo either. There were always other folks that i was ding-donging with going up the hills and down. I would make some space on the downhill and singletrack but going up, my hiking often pushed me backwards. I can't blame not maintaining momentum on the other folks climbing in easier gears as an excuse, fitness above all is the issue but that elevation added a bit as well as the desire not to blow my wad on the first day. There be plenty of up and down time to be had. In any case, the first 14 miles had a number of crushing climbs. The first feed zone was at mile 14 and i had some snax and a water bottle with EFS mix in it to switch out. Usually i carry everything on board but not knowing how my body would react got me over-planning. The volunteers were great and i made it through real fast. There was some nice single track, sketchy downhill speeds, and hike-a-bike sections until the next feed zone at mile 20. Those 6 miles went relatively fast so that felt good. From there, more climbing, hiking, white-knuckle descending, stream crossing, single track goodness, roots, rocks and then there were only 4 miles to go. the trail spilled out to a rad briefly and back into some single track climbs up a bunch of berms and then down a whole mountainside of them until the end in Breckenridge where the wife, kids, and mother-in-law were waiting. The altitude put the hurt on me but as the trail descended back toward Breckenridge, i started feeling better. Those last 5 miles or so went well so hopefully the legs recover and after another day, i will not have as much difficulty at 11,000 ft. The stage was dusty in parts and i picked up some WD-40 dry chain lube yesterday and it worked well...so hopefully i get a check in the mail for the plug. In any case, the stage was about 35 miles with around 5100 ft of climbing. As always i tried to keep the carbs coming in but came up a little short on my goals during the race...i am not including the bfast of oatmeal and pb bagel. I will mix the energy drink a bit thinner but carry two on board between each aid station. Gonna crack this carbo load gorilla.
Friday, August 7, 2015
Tomorrow is the day...I will be embarking on one of those bucket list things. For the last 7 years or so, my racing has been leaning toward the endurance. Many of those exploits have been documented on this blog or on an outdated team blog. From 100 mile gravel races to 100 mile mountain bike races to 380 mile gravel races and now, to a 6 day mountain bike stage race. The Breck Epic takes place in Breckenridge, Colorado and is the start and finish of 6 days of racing up different routes. The distance each day range from 30 - 45 miles with total elevation changes each day between 4800 ft and 8100 ft of climbing. Now that sounds like an adventure that will stick with a person forever. I was first intrigued when I was talking at the Maah Daah Hey in 2014 with Tommy E. about his exploits on the Heavy Pedal Tour. From what he was describing, the beauty, challenge, terrain, and organization all got me slobbering like Pavlov's dog. I got to looking into it right after returning from North Dakota. I found out they had a singlespeed class and i was in!!! I registered and got to letting my fitness go something fierce. Last year's CX season was plagued with a foot issue so laying off that and getting past Thanksgiving, i was ready to start with some training time. I don't have the know to get myself ready for a day after day climbing fest based at 9500 ft and only going up. Continental divide you say, over it many times. Recovery and the lungs were what put the fear into me. I made the jump and got a coach. Shout out to Coach Fiona Lockhart!! Since the beginning of December, i have been riding longer on the weekends and shorter sessions for 3 days during the week. I have sprinkled some racing in there too and the results have been as good as they have ever been which is not so bad since I be all old and isht. Werd! Also a shout out to the family for putting up with my time spent on the bike. Much Love Y'all! Speaking of the bike, my Ti Kona Raijin frame got bent outta shape at the end of June. There were some gremlins at work there. So a mad dash to get a new singlespeed frame was on. A week and a half before i was to leave, Gene O. got me hooked up with an aluminum Santa Cruz Highball 29'er and Chuck C. came up with the scandium Kona Big Unit. That Highball got those cartoon hearts popping up all over me so parts got switched and i got to riding. Really dug the new whip. Rode it around on some town trails and for the marathon class at a Minnesota Mountain Bike Series race. The riding was outta sight and I'm stoked to put it to the test. I am rolling a 2.4 Maxxis Ardet in the front on a RockShox SID something and a Continental XKing 2.2 on the rear hardtail. The Raceface Turbine cranks are set up with a 32 chainring connected to a 21 tooth Surly cog in the back. I brought a 20 and a 22 so as the race progresses, i figure on switching if needed. The hubs are DT Swiss 240s hubs are laced to Stans ZTR Crest rims for a tubeless ride. I picked the 21 because of the climbing and elevation and figured the 22 would be a bit too spinny for the most part. So the bike, the training, the road trip to get here, the registration is all done and now it comes down to putting some items in the drop bags. I will be wearing a camelback for water and carrying a water bottle on the bike filed with energy drink. There are generally two aid stations for the drop bags so i will have another water bottle in each bag. I figure on filling up on water at each station to top off the camelback. I will also include a couple Honey Stinger waffles and an Enervitine cheer pack in each bag for the win. Some extra clothes with be stashed too. Oh, a tube will be in each bag....just in case. As for what i forgot at home...i fricken forgot my Garmin so no nifty garmin files will be loaded and logged. Shucks! I will try to post each day of how everything went and all those impressions. Stay Tuned!