Breck Epic Stage 1:
The Breck Epic kicked off on trails I was reasonably familiar with. A lot of ground covered other Breckenridge races such as the Fire Cracker 50 and the RME Breck 100. Still, for some reason I was crazy nervous.
At first when the alarm went off at 6AM it was no big deal. I had my coffee and breakfast, then at 7AM I drove over to leave my two drop bags full of provisions and emergency clothing, tires, tubes, ect. I came back to the condo and still had plenty of time before the 8:30AM start. At 7:30 I figured I’d better get dressed and ready to go. This is when the nerves set in, massive adrenaline rushes and shaky hands and body, I almost felt woozy. I can’t remember if I’ve ever felt like this before a race, though I had never done anything of this proportion before.
I literally shook my way over to the Ice Arena parking lot, the start location for today. After getting checked in I figured I might as well try to warm up the legs and body, so I did a few warmup efforts up Boreas Pass road for a mile or so.
After a bit of fanfare, the race started at right about 8:30, with a neutral start until Boreas Pass Rd. turned to dirt, which the course quickly turned off from onto the first single track of the race. On day one I learned I was way too far back in the start gate. The rollout was very slow with a lot of near collisions. When we turned up Illinois Gulch Road (bypassing part of the busier section of Boreas Pass Rd), the road pitched up enough that things strung out. I took advantage and was able to move forward by several dozen places (or people, since there were different races going within the race I have no idea if I was passing others in my race or others doing the 3 day, or duos, no matter really though).
Still, as we hit the first single track I was a bit bottled up and descending slower than I wanted. I just reminded myself that it was day one of six, and still in the first few miles of a 36 mile day with lots of hard climbing and fast descending ahead. So, I’d just relaxed and sit in when I could move forward when I wanted to. As we continued along though onto the first steep climbs I was able to separate myself a bit, riding the climbs where many walked them helped a lot.
Overall the day went smooth and fast. We went up the infamous Little French Gulch, a long increasingly rocky, increasing grade, high altitude climb that most Colorado mountain bikers are all too familiar with from other races. The last section of Little French typically becomes hike-a-bike. I’ve only ever cleared it once, and that was the first time I rode it, ignorance was bliss!
We came back down the mountain, and my brain was relieved that day one was almost over. Except I was completely unaware of the climbs ahead. One I had never done before, I think it was called Minnie Mine to Side Door (I honestly get confused by all the names, I just follow the course markers). Then a quick descent and back over to the V3 trail, which is a fun climb followed by the final descent back to the finish at Carter Park.
All the time I felt like I had managed my day well. I stayed upright, didn’t feel tired as I rolled across the finish, stayed hydrated and kept the energy food going all day. But for some reason, about 30 minutes after I finished, I suddenly felt totally crushed… complete drain, a Holy Shit I’m screwed moment…. I got back to my condo and started a feeding frenzy starting with recover drinks, then food, then more drink, and more food.
I went to bed tired and worried, but I slept which was the most important thing!