12 Aug 2014 Breck Epic: Colorado Trail
Day 2 of Breck Epic defines the perfect pairing of ebb and flow. It’s the Colorado Trail stage and that name says it all. If you only have ONE trail to ever ride in Colorado, ride ANY section of the Colorado Trail. It’s all amazing and you will be rewarded for your efforts.
The morning started off picturesque with the back drop of Breckenridge Ski resort soaring up from the starting line, blue bird skies, and a little less nervousness on the start line. I imagine as the week goes on, everyone will be mellower as any amount of energy you have, you need to save it for pedaling.
While the first big climb was aptly named Heinous Hill, it was rideable from bottom to top thanks to all the nightly rain. With 400 racers still tightly bunched and all aiming for the same line, it felt like I was riding like a complete drunk, avoiding swooning riders and chunky rocks.
One lesson about Breck Epic is to never underestimate the climbs. There is always more climbing. While I had anticipated Heinous being the only climb I would possibly need to walk today, Heinous Hill has an evil twin, called Abominable Ass Kicking. I would be perfectly content never seeing that hill again. All I will say is that no one in the group ahead or behind me actually rode it.
The highlight of my day, similar to Day 1, was riding with the Texan, David. He caught up to me just after the first aide station. We stayed together for the next couple of hours as I played tour guide up and down the Colorado Trail. Once you hit the top of West Ridge, it’s one of the best descents anywhere in Colorado. Six miles of fast flowing bliss with spectacular views if you can look up for a nanosecond.
The rest of the miles were mostly a blur of dirt that I saw as I hung my head down, just grinding out the last climb. I felt better than Day 1 but I am already feeling the effects of consecutive hard days at altitude. Tomorrow is an even bigger stage, Mt Guyot, 37 miles with 6700′ climbing. It’s the stage that killed me in 2010. While I am still holding 2nd place overall, my mantra is simply just keep pedaling, or walking, which will be the case tomorrow. The woman holding 1st both yesterday and today, Genevieve Evans, turned 41 yesterday. A Breck Epic orange leader’s jersey is a pretty sweet gift!