Miles= 39.6. Vertical gain: 5419′.
Stage 1 follows much of the same route as the Firecracker 50. But to make it more interesting, Mike throws in a little detour off of Boreas that climbs up steep, technical trail. It takes a lot out of you by the time you get to Little French Gulch, which is the notoriously hard climb in the Firecracker. As far as descents, I think today’s stage is one of the rougher stages. The descents are mostly fast, rubble-filled fire road., and even the singletrack into Carter Park is rooty and rocky, but at least you are almost home by that point.
I went out hard at the start today. I was well above threshold for the entire first climb, which, except for the channel trail and a couple fast descents, consistently climbed for over an hour. It’s not really my style to race like that. I usually start in the back and pick folks off as the race goes on. I guess I wanted to see how long I could maintain that intensity, The answer is, not long enough. The excessive time above threshold caught up to me before I hit Little French Gulch. My legs were cramping, and once that happens, I lose the ability to generate power. I spent a large part of the later half of the race just trying to keep the cranks turning in granny. I finished in a similar time as last year, but felt more spent. I came in 5th for age group. It is a long shot to sneak onto the podium. Loads of strong riders. I can’t get the Strava report to embed, so here is the link. http://app.strava.com/activities/18230531
Ken rode well, but missed a turn because a van had knocked over one of the signs. He lost a good amount of time, but still finished well ahead of the next Clydesdale. I plan to ride with him tomorrow, since I get lonely out there.
Dan, who was my partner from last year, was signed up for the three day. He had a catastrophic tire blow out, and after two tubes and multiple spent CO2 cartridges, he pronounced his race dead. Too bad, since we were all lined up to share a bed. We have an understanding that I’m the big spoon. We’ll miss hangin and racing with you Buss.
Tomorrow is the Colorado Trail stage. 7800′ of vertical gain, but the trails are buff and swoopy. This is the funnest stage of the race.
Off to bed.