Archive for August, 2010

Breck Epic Stage 6

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2010 by bencycles

Breck Epic stage 6.

Well, that’s it. Done.

Once again, I finally felt awesome on my bike. The last two stages I felt like I was racing and not just surviving. It was a pretty rad feeling to push that hard after four tough days and feel like I still had some gas in the tank.

Coming across the finish line for the last time was a weird feeling. Almost a let down in that I’d been preparing for and thinking about this race a very long time. Then I was immersed in it for a solid week with no other thoughts each day then the race and recovery for the next day. Then to come across the line that last day I realized that was it. Just like that, it was all over. I felt a bit hollow. What would I think about now? Next week I would be back at work and this all-encompassing beast would be a distant memory.

Ahh, but now I have this thing to remind me:

Damn straight.

The mileage and elevation I clocked on my Garmin was actually 226.5 miles and 36,276′. Still a pretty daunting set of figures for a mountain bike ride, much of which was above 10,000′ elevation.

the last view of the finish line:

Celebration time! those who know the Sprout understand:

The post-race awards and dinner were pretty nice:

The post-race raffle was huge: Something like 8 forks, 2 XTR groups, 2 XT groups, 2 frames, multiple wheelsets and 10,000 other prizes were given away. Now if only I had won something…

The Breck Epic was a fantastic event, if for no other reason than to have 6 days of well marked riding on a bunch of sweet singletrack in the Colorado rockies. And then to get to race with some remarkably fast riders and meet a really interesting group of people under the backdrop of some of the funnest trails around  made it a super experience.

Breck Epic stage 5

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26, 2010 by bencycles

Breck Epic stage 5.

I was on fire out there today! That was a really cool course, well except for that brutal 30 minute hike-a-bike above 12,000′. The view from atop Wheeler is really cool. And the descent down the other side? Just insane. Pacelined the veloway section of trail with the Swiss duo. Those two guys are really friendly and rippin fast. They were pinning it hard and I was just holding on the back for dear life. The final ~10 miles of 1-track back to Breck was super rooty and unforgiving. Awesome.

Yesterday, my body just kind of imploded and I lost a lot of time and a couple places on GC. today I felt fabulous! It’s strange how one day can be so bad and the very next so great.

A couple pics from the week:

what my left leg looked like after day 1.

Maybe my daughters bike will be a good spare? I might have to put the seat up a little.

My nieghbor moved to a condo, so my bike took his tent.

dinner time.

Cooling off in the stream behind camp after a tough stage.

I can’t believe there’s only one stage left. I’ve been here less than a week, but it feels like last week was months ago. It will be nice to get home and hang out with the Sprout again.

Sprout!

Just one more day to keep the rubber down and the thrills up! Then I’m off to my grandpa’s 90’th birthday party.  Then 20 hours of driving to get home. Good times abound.

Breck Epic Stages 3 and 4

Posted in Uncategorized on August 25, 2010 by bencycles

The last two stages were brutal. At least yesterday’s stage was brutal and amazing. Today, however was just suffering. I don’t think I was well recovered from stage 3, so stage 4 was sadistic climb after sadistic climb in the hot sun. I think there were some pretty sections, but I can’t remember. And that climb after aid station 3 today? I curse you.

Stage 3:
Breck Epic Stage 3.

Stage 4:
Breck Epic stage 4.

Too beat to add much. As of yesterday, I was in 23rd out of 42 in the pro/open category and as a cat 1 from sea level I’m pretty happy to be mid pack. On that topic, the top-ten guys are posting times which are just incredible. Really.

This race has been a fantastic experience so far. Brutal beautiful vixen of pain. Two days to go. Hells yeah.

Breck Epic Stage 1 and 2

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2010 by bencycles

Stage 1: The Penn Creek Loop, was just under 40 miles with around 6000′ of climbing. It was a brutal first day for me. I had a really bad crash on a fast descent around mile 15, breaking my front shifter and leaving me dazed and confused for a bit while I walked back up the trail collecting my shifter parts, bottles, glasses, and anything else that got spread around. Fuck. That wasn’t how I’d planned to start this thing.
Stage 1.

With my chain stuck in the little ring the rest of the way I was left to pick through the remaining 34 miles. That’s fine, my body was shot anyway. I rolled a pretty pathetic time, just happy to have the first stage done and no broken bones.

The Organic Mechanic and Shimano have both been providing free labour for all the racers (THANKS!) and one of the guys at Organic Mechanic got a loaner shifter on my bike for the rest of the race.

Stage 2: The Colorado Trail Loop.

This is what I came for. 41 miles of fantastic single track with, all above 9,000′. Such a difference from the previous day. I took it super easy at the start and really didn’t make any hard efforts until we hit the first big climb around mile 15. Even then, because the climb was on fun single track, it was a blast and the pain wasn’t bad. This stage was just a great ride!

Stage 2.

Whoop whoop!

A Little High Altitude Prep

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2010 by bencycles

Me and the family spent this week camping near Nathrop, CO. It was a ton of fun camping with our 3-year-old and it’s been a good chance to try to get acclimated to the thin air up here before the Breck Epic starts.  Got some good rides in, caught dinner in the stream behind our tent with the Sprout, rented a jeep for some 4-wheeling action, and soaked in the hot springs. It was a really fun week. This morning I saw my family off to DIA as they are flying back home while I stay to race.

While camping in Nathrop, I drove down to Poncha Springs where I picked up a shuttle to the Monarch Crest Trail.
That was by far one of the funnest rides I’ve ever done.

Today is just a short 10 miler then start cleaning up our campsite, do some laundry, and hang out in the hot springs one last time. Tomorrow I head up to Breckenridge and the fun begins.

Chillaxin

Posted in Uncategorized on August 12, 2010 by bencycles

Summer just keeps rolling on. It was beer pizza ice cream for a good week after Natz. Figured I’d slug myself up a bit before all this Breck action gets going. I could use a little body fat.
I’ve been trying to do a lot of non bike stuff now since cross starts up soon after Breck Epic. Like fix the dishwasher that’s been broken all year. I pulled out the old one from circa 1964 and put in a shiny new one. I didn’t electrocute myself and there’s no water on the floor. The damn thing seems to be working. Weird.

I could write about all the training for Breck Epic, but really, who wants to read that? My 3-year-old is more interesting.

We took the Squirt for a hike a couple weeks ago.

DPP_0031

She packed a little backpack with her water and food and carebear. Then begged to go home the whole drive out.

“I just want to stay home! Please can we turn around?”

But within the first quarter mile, she was running up and down the trail. Sweet! The thought of having a hyper-active child excites me.

We saw a cool horned lizard.

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and climbed some rocks. Might be time to get this kid a harness and pull the rack off the shelf.

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Me and Squirt did some ‘cross training in the backyard.

I’ve been thinking about building a little pump track “for her” in the back yard, too. Maybe I should fix our fence first.

We took Squirt to the beach. I’ve been riding so much this year, I’ve barely gotten out to surf at all, so it’s great to go down with the Squirt and check the waves. Of course she wanted to dress herself.

Balboa Park down in San Diego:

Cool science museums and parks, plus I took the Squirt to her first IMAX movie. I think  the first half blew her away and then the second half it was more fun having me fold her up in the the movie chairs like a sardine.

OK, one fun training ride. Recently, BP and I did a really really fun loop up in the Cuyamaca area: OMG Loop. It felt great to get some cobwebs out of the legs with a rippin ride fest.

Mmmm dirt.

Left my gel chews in the hot car:

Got the bike out and tried it with a few Breck Epic mods.

Gordon at B & L Bikes changed a few things compared to how I race it at US Cup races: Big sturdy Captain Control tires, softened up the suspension a bit, 160 steel rotors front/back, and switched to a shorter stem. Those guys at the shop have been giving me and my bike the pro treatment all year, and my team, Celo Pacific has been really suportive as well. Thanks: it’s a huge help!

Pretty soon it’s off to CO. Can’t wait!