The last stop. Today was 34 miles and 6300 feet of climbing. Easy by Breck standards. Over Boreas Pass (11,500 feet) to Komo and then back. Along the way, we were treated to some excellent singletrack. Banked turns, packed dirt, perfect grade. It was a good stage to just have a righteous good time. I didn’t have a lot of motivation to ride hard since my place in the standings was pretty well solidified. But then Dicky (10th place) finally found his legs the last two days and decided to crush it. On the descent into Komo, he dropped me.
I rode with Ken most of the way over the top, but then I lost him on some of the rough descent into Komo. I figured I’d just spin up the rest of the way, but as I turned the corner, I saw that he was waiting for me. I hustled to catch up, and I finally pulled up next to him.
“Why are you waiting?”
“I was bored.”
I couldn’t see Dicky anywhere in sight, so I had given up any hope of catching him. But this put a new spin on the day.
“Wanna catch Dicky?”
And it was on. Ken took the lead and set a monstrous pace. He was really putting the screws to me. It was all I could do to hang on to the big locomotive charging up the hill. We passed a long line of folks and invited them to latch on to the Kreidl Express, but they could only hang on for a short time, and then they would fall off the back. 7 miles all the way back up from Komo, Ken drove the train and let me sit in behind his wheel. But still no Dicky. Over the top of Boreas, Ken kept on charging. He would sit up to block more wind, and I tried to tuck in to stay out of it. I couldn’t pedal at that speed with my one puny gear, so I just tried to stay in Ken’s impressive draft. Finally, after a few miles, we saw Dicky. He was alone, singing the single speed blues. Getting sucked along behind Ken, I was able to fly by Dicky. I felt a little remorse for enlisting my big brother, but honestly, it was for 8th place anyway. Dicky didn’t give up though. He was actually able to catch us after we hit singletrack. He has mucho heart.
“Dicky is back! And he’s right on us!”
There is a short, but really steep and unpleasant climb just before the finish. I remembered it from last year, and it’s like the last little kick in the ass that the Epic throws at you before you are done. One thing I can do is climb, so I aired it out when we got to it. It gave me just a little cushion from the hard charging Dicky.
It was close, but I was able to hold him off at the line. And that’s how the Breck Epic ended for us. Thanks to Ken, I was able to preserve that coveted 8th spot.
After these kinds of suffer-fests, I’m always a little glad and a little sad. By day #3, I was ready for it to be over. But I’ll miss the camaraderie and the atmosphere. I suppose that’s what brought me back again this year. The Epic is a unique race. It doesn’t have the same stressful, ass-puckering tension that other races like the Leadville 100 have. You just can’t be that wound up for 6 straight days. In fact, even when I was pegged and red-lining it, I couldn’t even get my heart rate past 140 after day 2. I had used up all my catecholamines. From the top to the bottom of the racers, it’s all very friendly and casual.
Time for the post-race banquet and awards now. Last hurrah before we head for home. For all the folks who’ve followed along, thanks for the support. It’s been fun.