A quick blurb before the long overdue race report on the last stage of the Breck Epic.
I started my shift the other day with a patient in room 9. Room 9 is the room generally reserved for psych patients. It has locked cabinets, empty drawers, and the bed is situated so that the patients looks straight out of a window into the staff workstation, which means that the security guard can keep close tabs on the patient, and the patient can keep close tabs on the staff. For me, that means I have an audience while I try to wolf down a sandwich, enter orders, and dictate, all at the same time. This lady in 9 was brought in by the police. I walked in to find an older than middle aged woman, sobbing, hair done up big, face caked in make-up, sitting on the side of the bed with her hands cuffed behind her, wearing a skimpy camouflage bathing suit. The police got her out of a tree. And that’s how I started my shift. But I digress.
Day #6. Gold Dust Loop. The final stage of Breck Epic 2011. The stage started at the ice rink and headed up Boreas Pass Rd. The course turns off of Boreas about a mile up. Dan led us up the fast start. I tried to take a pull, but I couldn’t get by him. I think we were all on the verge of blowing up when the course finally diverted onto singletrack, at which point we could catch our breaths a little. Team Alchemist decided ahead of time to try to ride together. We rode together all the way through the singletrack to Baker’s Tank, in the opposite direction as the Firecracker. Once we were back on Boreas, Chris took the lead and stepped it up. The Alchemist train started to fall apart at that point. Chris had a hard day on Wheeler yesterday, but he had a different agenda today. The rest of us just tried to hang on. Aid #1 was at the top of Boreas Pass at 11,500′. After a quick bottle exchange, we dropped into the singletrack on the backside. It’s fast and furious. But then all of a sudden it turns into a spongy bobsled run. Banked high on both sides and twisty, the trail must have been an old waterway of some sort. The flat grade and high berms allowed for a consistent cadence around the fast turns with only an occasional feather on the brakes. The trail eventually roughens before spitting you out onto a dirt road. From there, it’s a railroad grade dirt road for seven miles back to the top of Boreas.
Last year, Ken had pulled me from the bottom of this road to the top, then down the frontside all the way home. The way back down is of a grade that you can big ring it hard, but I was on single speed last year, so I just had to tuck in behind the giant hole in the air that Ken made in front of me. Between shouts of “PEDAL! PEDAL!” and “SLOW! SLOW!”, Ken was able to stay just in front of me as I was sucked along by his draft. I was hoping to return the favor this year, but Ken had packed it in, and he decided to just enjoy the rest of he ride. I stayed with him for a while, then I figured I could at least help Chris reel some guys in, so I went ahead to be his domestique. It took a while, but I was finally able to catch up and give him a pull over Boreas. He rocketed ahead on the descent and I waited for Ken and Dan so we could all finish together.
Breck Epic, as it has the previous two years, did not disappoint. The vibe is different than the typical single day cross-country or endurance races. You just can’t maintain that kind of stress and intensity for 6 days straight. Pros mingle with schmos, and it all is very friendly. Every year, we meet new, cool folks. The Canadians, for example. Tim, Ali, Kevin, and the rest of the crew in the condo across the walkway. Canadians always seem so nice. These guys were no exception. We indoctrinated a couple of them into the Alchemist Team. In return, they taught us new vocabulary like “cuzifit”. Apparently, this is their word for “taint”. We say, “Taint this, and taint that.” They say, “Cuzifit weren’t there, your guts would fall out.” Great group of folks and bike racers.
Before signing off, I have to report a monstrous victory over the Cannondale Team of Tim and Johs. We mercilessly crushed them on stage 7. Those guys are great riders and competitors, and super nice guys. But I’ll always cherish their look of defeat as we strolled past them, victory (BBQ chicken and corn casserole) in hand. I don’t have a prayer of beating them on a bike, but I sure as hell can whoop em to the buffet line.
Big thanks to Ryn, Hera, Katherine, Jake, and especially Delena and Drewbie. Del took our drop bags to the start every morning while we were still sawing logs in bed. That was huge. She also made us chicken fried chicken. Seriously, chicken fried chicken. Amazing. Drewbie, thanks for being our number 1 fan!
Some more pics. Ali will hopefully send some race shots too.