Since my last post, where I laid out a kickass plan for some overload leading up to Breck Epic, things haven’t gone exactly I’ve expected (though, when do they ever??). The Firecracker 50 race was excellent. I last minute teamed-up with Liz Carrington, a fast lady from Durango who I met at Team camp in Moab back in March. The Firecracker race, which is one of the biggest ones in Colorado, is two laps around a 25ish mile course of forest road and trail. It’s a good mix of climbing and fast rolling/descending. For the duo category, each team member rides one lap. Liz wanted to go first so she wouldn’t have to sit around waiting and being nervous. I wanted to go second so I wouldn’t have to deal with as much trail crowding. So, it worked out really well.
The race start is also the start of the Breckenridge city 4th of July Parade. Each category goes off down the main street to a crowd of parade-watchers and kids wanting high fives. I opted to roll with the start and pull over at the end of main street (an option extended to teammates who are doing 2nd laps), though I didn’t high five any kids. Kid hands are gross.
The waiting around wasn’t all that bad. After a couple of hours, I ate a Gu and started rolling around to warm up. It was a little more crowded in the team start area than what I’d expected, so I couldn’t really see who was coming through and tagging out. I just watched for Liz’s yellow helmet to come down the switchbacks behind the park. When she did, I elbowed my way into the exchange area, and she rolled up saying we were in 2nd place.
I hadn’t seen the other team make the exchange, so I had no idea who I was looking for on my lap. Everyone was supposed to have calf markings with their category, but it seemed like half the women I caught had no calf marking. I didn’t care. I just charged. I felt like a bull raging down the trail. I’ve only ever ridden Breckenridge on a singlespeed (between my first Firecracker 50/Marathon Nationals, Breck 100, and two Breck Epics). I was motivated by how hard I could go on the flatter/rolling spots on a geared bike. I also laughed int he face of Little French, the infamous steep and rocky climb that takes you up to somewhere around 11k feet of elevation. It’s a relative piece of cake when you have a full suspension and a granny gear.
The only disappointing part of my lap was the two dudes that dove in to the final descent ahead of me and another women who didn’t have a calf marking. The last downhill is a bunch of awesome banked turns into Carter Park. The dude in front was terrible at the turns and wouldn’t let anyone by. It meant that there was another dude, the non-marked lady, and myself all rubbing tires going down the last mile of trail. I don’t now if she was aware of my presence, but I decided that I was going to sprint past her on the final 50-ish feet of straightaway before the finish line just in case she was the person I’d been chasing the entire time. She looked at me funny when I did that, but I didn’t really care. It’d be a terrible way to get 2nd place if she was the person I was trying to catch the entire time.
She wasn’t, though. We were second by a pretty stout margin (about 15 minutes) behind Jamie Brede and Kelly Boniface. I didn’t feel bad, though. I am really happy with how hard I rode and how steady I felt over my 2 hours and 18 minutes of ride time. I was totally gassed by the end. It makes me feel a little more confident in m fitness and nutrition (a.k.a. a flask full of Roctane gel) to go harder in the other XC races I’m planing on entering. Also, 2nd out of 34 women’s duo teams isn’t bad at all.
The effort left me pretty weak for the next two days of planned overload. I went out for an easy-ish ride with JRA Superfan/92Fifty Temmate Jake on Sunday, then tried to show Rollins Pass to Matt on Monday, but we ended up getting caught in the rain on a long descent, so it turned into “get coffee in Rollinsville and death march home” instead. We had enough rain gear & warm clothing that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
It’s basically been raining since then. It sucks, because it’s not the typical “20-minute storm then sun” pattern. It’s just cold, grey, rain. It should lead to a pretty sloppy Winter Park XC this weekend, but with my singlespeed and meaty tires, I’m sure everything will be fine.