Sunday, August 9, 2015

Breck Epic Stage 1 - Pennsylvania Creek on the Singlespeed

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 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.

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