14 Aug Breck Epic: Keystone Aqueduct
Over the hump!
Day 4 is a monster loop that brings us from Breckenridge to Keystone and back with a few big ridges in between. Today we rode about 42 miles and 6500′ of climbing and was reminded that “it ain’t called the Breck Epic Tickle Fight”.
The routine now is pretty set from day to day and we are pretty dialed with our mornings. I throw on my Elevated legs for about a half an hour while my amazing wife makes coffee and breakfast. 60 minutes before I roll out I drink some Beta Red, a beet juice supplement our Endurobites sponsor has been working on. Brian explained how it works, something about nitrate oxide and blood and going fast. What I know is that I have been feeling pretty good and my starts have been pretty fast when a typical start for me is more like our sprinter without the turbo.
Today was arguably harder than yesterday’s trek around Guyot but with less walking. I’m happy this isn’t a walking competition because I would be dead last. I settled in with some familiar faces early on. It’s been really awesome to have people to ride with over the last 4 days. The first nasty climb today was called Vomit Hill. That pretty much sums it up. It’s a vertical ascent of kitty litter followed by a run out scree of kitty litter. I don’t like kitty litter. It’s what shattered my pelvis. At this point in the week, it’s about making safe decisions over speed. I rode the brakes through the twisty, loose, off chamber kitty litter singletrack all the way down to Keystone Ranch and arrived in one piece.
The big climb today was about 7 miles from Keystone to the top of West Ridge on the Colorado Trail. What is starting to become a regular occurrence, half way up the climb Melissa who is currently in 3rd caught me. It was great timing as I needed someone to help me forget how I was feeling. She lit that match and while my response was again like an old sprinter without a turbo…. I thought I might be able to catch her before the upcoming West Ridge descent. At about 11,200’ as we crested the Colorado Trail, I took a second and then made my move. Oh how I love that descent! The clouds were building ahead and even with my bundle of rain gear, I prefer not to ride in high country rain. I put my head down and used what was left in my reservers to get up that last climb. I managed to finish before the rain, Melissa or complete exhaustion caught up with me and managed to beat my goal of 5 hours. This is nearly an HOUR after some of the fastest ladies out there are finishing up.
Another 2nd in the stage and overall with 2 more stages to go. What started out as a goal just to finish and has become a bit more competitive than I ever thought it would be. Thank you Melissa for pushing me and lighting those fires!
I have my hikers out for tomorrow’s stage, a nice hike up Wheeler Pass up to almost 13,000 with a pleasant forecast of thunderstorms, bacon, and my much touted “Wheeler Pass Burpee Challenge”. Yup, even if Melissa is on my tail, I will do 5 burpees in Stage 5 in honor of my CrossFit peeps. I think I should do burpees, bacon and then descend like a rocket.