Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Breck Epic: Stage 3-4

Tuesday Stage 3: 

The climb up French Pass
What an amazing day, by far one of the most fun days I have had on the bike. We climbed up over 12,000ft and crossed the Continental Divide twice! I felt a little bit better at altitude today, breathing is still an issue, but my legs felt like they had a little bit more power in them. The race started up a dirt road climb out of the town and then we ducked into a bench cut singletrack along the side of the mountain with a steep drop off on the right and sharp rocks to navigate across. After a fun descent, we started the climb up French Pass. It was a steep climb with a bit of hiking involved but the views were incredible. You traverse an alpine meadow surrounded on all sides by mountains and you can see a string of racers stretching out all the way in the distance, snaking up out of the bowl and descending down the other side. There were some guys at the top of the pass handing out skittles, and I ate a handful before starting a super fun descent down. Jeff already had a puncture and a sidewall gash in his rear tire by that point and took some extra time at the top to capture the views.

Jeff at the top of the pass

The next climb was up over Georgia Pass which was a grind, but the descent down the Colorado Trail from there was super fun with some tricky rocks at the bottom. Then there were some more punchy climbs that seemed longer than advertised on the elevation profile and some more traversing rocky bench cut singletrack until the finish. 39 miles, 6,600 ft of climbing.

A view from the trail. Photo by Jeff Brown

Libbey, Jordan, Jane and me after Stage 3. Photo by Chris M

Unfortunately, Amy Beisel, who was leading the pro women's field, crashed on stage 2 and broke her collarbone. (She also finished that stage with a broken collar bone, which is super bad ass). I really wish her all the best for a speedy recovery. It did mean that I was able to move into 1st place today. I have never gotten to wear a leaders jersey before and it was pretty cool to be on the top step. I never in a million years would have thought that was possible.

Women's Pro Podium
There was a fun east coast contingent at the race including Libby and Chris, Gordon, Jeremiah Bishop, Brian and his wife, Alicia, Jordan and Jane (although not an east coaster), and it has been really fun getting to hang out with all of them.

Jane and Jordan on the final podium for the 3 day race

Brian and Alicia finishing Stage 3

Wednesday Stage 4: 

At the stage start. Photo by Chris M
Today's stage was called The Aqueduct. It was a challenging stage: 41 miles, 6600 ft of climbing. The climbs today were steep. The singletrack was sandy. The descents were smooth, fun and fast (and sandy!). There were definitely fewer rocks on the trails today. There were several hike-a-bike sections at least for me. I heard Jeremiah rode everything, which is insane. I had a headache this morning and my legs definitely had some fatigue. I am finding it difficult to sleep at night. I can fall asleep easily but I wake up multiple times in the night, probably from the altitude. I tried to stay within my limits today, and was still able to get the stage win! It was super awesome to share the podium today with Libbey who finished 3rd! My legs definitely feel better this evening so I am hoping to push the pace again tomorrow. I also decided with the advice of some present and past racers to trade my 34 tooth front chain ring for a 30 tooth, so I am excited to feel more spinny on the climbs tomorrow. Jeff says the stage was awesome. He enjoyed himself.

Coming into the finish. Photo by Chris M

One of the volunteers handed me this Coke! Photo by Chris M

Stage 4 podium. Me and Libbey representing the east coast!

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