Race start. 6 AM. My alarm went off at 4 AM after being kept awake all night coughing and by drunken people yelling in the streets! I woke up the day before congested, which turned into a sinus headache, sore throat, and fever by the end of the night. My skin hurt to the touch and I was fussy and upset that I felt that way the night before one of my biggest races of the year. At 4 AM the next morning, I kept getting lightheaded and nauseated every time I stood up. I ended up laying on the couch hoping for it to pass while the best support guy ever made me breakfast. I tried to get it down and gulp down water and coffee. I was finally able to stand up without the room turning bright, so I decided that I was there and paid my money so I should just start. After some sudafed and tylenol, I was feeling quite a bit better.
Showing my bike off right before the race. The bag I was using to keep my pockets from bogging me down is the mountain feedbag.
Equipped with Ergon GX3s on my bike. The long bar ends are awesome.
Each lap, I carried with me:
- Topeak CO2 inflator + cartridges
- 2 gel flasks with 4 gels each mixed with water
- Clif blocks and 3 extra Gus
- 2 bottles on my bike, 1 bottle in my pocket
- a Topeak carbon hand pump in my pocket (for a reason… have learned the hard way)
- Topeak Mini 18 tool
- My dignity
I’d restock all the nutritionals in the pit, along with taking Sudafed and ibuprofen halfway through the race.
Another item I tried and really liked is a product called Acid Zapper which is supposed to prolong a faster endurance pace and aide with the buffering of acid in the body due to exercise and stress.
Lap 1 : Wheeler Trail to Copper Mountain Short story: slow and steady
The race actually surged forward pretty quickly after the neutral roll-out. I did not change my pace and watched the group surge forward and come back to me. I had my eye on Danielle, Erika, and Eszter. Eszter was riding with the front group and was soon out of site, and I slowly upped my pace once I felt warmed up and awake, and caught Danielle followed by Erika in about 10 minutes. They are both NUE endurance racers who I hold high on my list of badasses and it honestly made me a little intimidated to know who was behind me. The fact that only 5 women were brave enough to sign up for the 100 mile event was daunting enough in itself. The lap was way easier than Thursday’s stage of the Breck Epic, which connected with the Wheeler Trail on top of the mountain. Instead of hiking up the side of the mountain, we took a rocky road to the top at 12,500′. I rode the descent way more cautious than I normally do, but I didn’t want to flat or crash that early in the race. I rode at a moderate pace on the bike path and wished I had a wheel to sit on, and entered the Peaks Trail. I decided to up the pace since I feel confident with my tech skills and picked off a few guys.
Lap 2: Some of the best CO Trail Singletrack, and parts of the Firecracker 50 course. Short story: I died AND had a mechanical
I came through the pit and was greeted by Mr. Kerkove to help me change out my nutrition. He was suited up in his kit to follow me up the singletrack out of Carter Park. He made a super awesome Breck 100 video which is coming soon!
Jeff rode with me for a little piece of lap 2.
I found out that Eszter was 30 minutes ahead of me (WOW!!! I was riding pretty slow the 1st lap, but finding out she was feeling that strong led me to think she probably would not be coming back to me). I decided to attack Little French because I was feeling strong, and I raced the B-32 last year, which was the 2nd loop of the 100. That meant I’d have a rest for awhile. I rode the descent after that slower than usual so I wouldn’t miss course markings. I have heard horror stories about people getting lost. I came to an aide station and was confused because it was supposed to be somewhere else according to the instructions(Dredge Lot). I thought maybe it was extra. Then I was heading up a road that seemed familiar and realized I was entering the CO Trail. I knew where I was, I had ridden it before. That meant I missed my aide station and it was in a new spot. Plus it meant another tough climb. I ended up running out of water and was not able to eat or drink for about 1.5 hours. Dehydrated and bonking, I was crawling up the hill. To make matters worse, I had a drive train mechanical. I lost at least 10 minutes trying to get it fixed on the side of the trail. I had visions of me having to walk my bike back. I finally got to the aide station, grabbed 2 bottles, and slurped them down up the next long climb back to the start/finish. Much to my surprise, my friend Leslie was there and was in the pit with Jeff! I saw them, and after being dehyrdated and hypoglycemic, I almost burst into tears. They got me restocked. Based on how bad I felt, I didn’t know how I’d get out on another lap. I had lost so much time on the 2nd lap and felt it was certain fate that I’d be caught and passed by everyone.
Lap 3: Boreas Pass to Como and back. Short story: nursed myself back to life after obtaining food and water, and finished the last climb strong.
I ended up riding with a guy named Paul who had gotten lost earlier. We were both surprised when we had to turn OFF Boreas Pass Road. In previous years, you rode all the way to the top on paved and dirt roads. We ended up making a right and riding the Blue River Trail. I got gapped off from Paul because my legs were still dead from lack of calories. I kept eating and drinking. I came to a junction where to the left was a steep trail. To the right was a stream and some bushes. The trail just seemed to end. I almost turned around and went back to find the last course marking because I didn’t know where I was. Instead, I took a breather and waited a couple minutes. My friend Sean and 2 other guys racing the B-68 came up on me. Sean knew where to go, but all of us were skeptical because we crossed a stream twice (one guy said he saw that we aren’t supposed to cross a stream there), and were bushwacking for a few moments! Fortunately it was the right way because we found some course markings. I kept wondering how we were going to get to Boreas Pass. Then we turned on a steep, rocky, wet jeep road that climbed about 1500′ and finally connected to Boreas Pass Road. We were about 500′ from the top. I thought I knew the rest of the course from there as long as there was no changes (and there weren’t). The rest of the loop went well. I had fun on the Gold Dust Trail and started to feel strong again once I ate a bunch of gels and drank water. I rode back up Boreas Pass on the other side in my middle ring. There were 2 guys in front of me doing the 68, and I was dangling about 50 yards back the whole way. It was windy and I was dying for their wheel! I had a great time, but was ready to be done. The body part that hurt the worst was my feet! It was sooo bad and I could barely ride the last descent because standing on them killed.
Just after crossing the line….
I ended up 2nd, but an hour and a few minutes back from Eszter. She rode super strong, beat last year’s winning time despite the harder course, and beat most of the men. Super impressive! Even if my 2nd lap issues didn’t happen, she still would have won!!
A little post race chit chat at the end with Sean Madsen.
It was great to race with a great caliber of competition! Danielle came from sea level 2 weeks ago and was suddenly riding the highest trail she has ever been on! Erika also rode consistently and I kept looking over my shoulder for her!
More photos to come (including the podium shot!) as they trickle in. Now it’s time to get rid of the this stinking sinus infection. No more sore throat and pistachio sized mucus chunks please. ha!
Thank you sooooooooooo much to my support crew, friends for cheering, race volunteers, and Thane – the race promoter. I couldn’t have done it without you. Special thanks to my honey, Jeff Kerkove!!!!