” . . . if you’re reading this, you faced the rabid Aqueduct stage down, met its stare and made it look away. You stood your ground. Well this old bitch has one more card up her sleeve, one more knife in her boot and one more cruel sucker punch to throw before she’ll kneel before you. And its name is Wheeler.”
-Mike Mac, Breck Epic 2011
Ah, yes. Wheeler. Wheeler. Wheeler is a special stage. We start from the Peak Nine parking lot on the west side of town. From the the gun, it starts climbing, and climbing, and climbing. Eventually, we turn onto a narrow goat path, and the view to the top of the pass is unobstructed. You can see a line of ants marching in front and behind you for miles. The trail is too steep and narrow to ride, and almost too narrow to walk with your bike. But walking is the name of the game here. Miles of it. The view at the top is as breathtaking as the hike up. Last year, we had fresh cooked bacon waiting for us at the top. The baconators were there again. As we rolled over the top, hot, greasy bacon was inserted directly into our gaping mouths, and it was spectacular.
The descent off Wheeler is rutted, rocky, narrow, windy, disorienting, and dangerous. It took out the overall Singlespeed leader, Dax Massey, with 2 broken ribs and a punctured lung. Fortunately, we survived. Rolling into Copper, we turned on the afterburners and pace-lined it all the way back to Frisco.
Mike added a new piece of “trail” called Miner’s Creek Gulch, which was supposed to bypass the busier sections of the Peak’s trail. This road was steep and full of babyheads, adding to the hike-a-bike for the day. Between the hike up Wheeler, the descent down Wheeler, and the hike up Miner’s Gulch, there were plenty of choice words for Mike Mac on the stage.
But the legs felt better today. We took second for the stage, and almost 30 minutes on the 3rd place overall podium. Just 7 minutes out.