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Breck Epic Stage 5 – We Wrecked Wheeler

By August 26, 2010March 22nd, 2017No Comments

Say that 5 times fast :) Alright, my theory holds true. Feel like hell in the morning, rage on the bike as long as you ride smart. Again, I was a mucus factory and sick to my stomach all morning up until the start. I honestly wanted to stay in bed, but I am glad my broken motivator didn’t get the best of me. Ross Schnell’s twitter update this AM said something similar, so at least we are all in the same boat at this point in the week.

The start this morning was different from all the other days. It wasn’t neutral on the road, it was a tough climb from the get go. They started us in 30 second waves based on category to keep the trail from getting balled up, and we were in the 4th wave.

Stage 5
Party on, batman.



Breck-Epic: Stage 5 from ergon on Vimeo.

I was surprised – course traffic sorted out without any drama. My legs were sore, but I was able to set the suffer bar high for the day and ride right on it without crossing the red line. I rode this stage last year for fun, so I knew what was coming – climbing, technical trails, a heinous hike-a-bike, and sick views.

I’m happy to report there was no drama for me today. No bonking, no puking, no need for survival mode. Jeff and I rode smart from start to finish at a good pace and had fun in the process. In fact, I probably should have gone a little harder, but that’s ok. The hike wasn’t as bad as I remembered although my calves felt like they were about to explode out my legs. Pushing a bike is hard work and I found it easier to carry my bike on my shoulder because it’s a different hiking position(more upright). I wish I could have enjoyed the view on top a little more, but I was on a mission. WIN.

We were greeted by the Peaks Trail for the last 12 miles of the race, and I was happy because it’s a fun and classic Breck trail. I know it well which made it all the better – rocky, technical fun… techy singletrack is so much better when you’re not bonking your brains out! In fact, racing is more fun when you’re not bonking hard like I did the last 2 days. I’m lucky the repercussions were not severe because sometimes a bonk can effect you for multiple days. Maybe that’s why I felt so bad the last 2 mornings?

Today was another day we finished strong, and I was sad the stage was over. Our race time is right at 21 hours over the last 5 days. One to go.

Stage 5
…and the finish amenities were grand. I ate lots of watermelon, potato chips, and pb&j sandwiches. They also had pretzels, oranges, fig newtons, and race nutrition products.

I loved the description so much for Stage 5 that I want to quote it here:

” Ok Breck Epic’ers- you’ve seen just about all this old battle axe can dish out. You’ve suffered through the gut punch of Penn Creek on day one, possibly fell victim to the CT’s sweet siren song on day two and absorbed the blow of the thundering hand of the angry mountain goddess Guyot on day three. And 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. You’re going to top out at 12,500 feet, but only after hiking your blown ass up there. And you’re gonna curse us all the way. But to the intrepid go the spoils. Once you get up there you’re going to be treated to an experience few on earth can ever lay claim to – at that point on top of the Ten Mile Range you’ll truly be at the top of Colorado and witness to our state’s magnificent landscape. So sack up riders. You made it this far. Do NOT go gentler into that good night. Do not give Wheeler the satisfaction. Do not break against the shoals of despair. You’re almost there. Get ready to punch it out one last time before the big-ring, big-grin glee-fest of Gold Dust on Friday.”

We stuck the knife in Wheeler, we stared down the rabid dog with a hard fight yesterday, we survived the thundering hand of Guyot, we danced to the siren song on the Colorado Trail without being hypnotized, and Penn Creek didn’t phase us. Tomorrow Jeff Kerkove and I will indulge in the rush of the Gold Dust Trail, rock Boreas Pass Road, and hopefully cross the line strong tomorrow sealing the big W for a rewarding, brutal 6 day stage race in the Rocky Mountains.

It’s been great having a partner in the race, especially one who is patient and who I know will be able to go my speed, no matter how fast I want to go. Thanks for everything, Jeff!

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