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Breck 32 - Cycle

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Breckenridge, Colorado
United States
Rocky Mountain Endurance
60F / 16C
Total Time = 4h 42m 14s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 30-39
Age Group Rank = 13/15
Pre-race routine:

Spent the night at a condo in Breck. Had a huge dinner out on Friday night and chowed down, slept pretty well, woke up and had breakfast in the condo. Couple pcs of toast with PB and banana and coffee. I had to force breakfast down, I was so nervous about this race!
Event warmup:

Rode my bike from the condo over to the race start. Probably not the best warm-up in the world, but this race was more about finishing for me.
  • 4h 42m 14s
  • 34 miles
  • 7.23 mile/hr

The race started as a neutral rollout, with a cop car leading us out up Boreas Pass road. Once things got going, we got strung out in a long single file line, riding up the paved road. We climbed on the road for a few miles before turning onto dirt and starting the ascent up Sally Barber. This was the first steep climbing, and when people started to spread out a bit more. I was behind a girl in my age group wearing a Pedal racing kit the entire climb up Boreas Pass, and wanted to stick with her the whole race, but lost her here. I told myself I wasn't going to chase anyone this early in the race, since I knew I had a lot of climbing left!

Passed a bunch of guys on the first big descent down Sallie Barber. There were people all over the side of the road changing flats - it was weird. Not sure what the deal was? Anyhow, flew down that descent and started to head up Little French, which is the climb that people bitch about when they mention this race. I managed to ride most of it, until the very last section when I bobbled on a rock and decided to just walk the rest to keep my HR down. Got to the top and hopped back on my bike for the creek crossing and next descent.

Feel like I was a little bit timid descending American Gulch. It's a very rough dirt road, and people were passing/being passed, so I just wanted to make up some time but stay on my bike. Got to the bottom and saw Nate and the kids at the corner right before I started up the big Colorado trail climb - cheered me up a bit to see them when I didn't expect it!

I bonked BAD riding up the Colorado Trail when I pre-rode this course, so I was really nervous about it. I let a couple of guys pass me on the start of the climb, then settled in for the long haul with another guy on my tail who didn't want to pass. I felt pretty good at this point - it was painful, but I stayed on my bike and just climbed easy and steady. I had the song "I'm Good" by the Mowgli's in my head the whole race, and it was starting to be my mantra up all the climbs, I sang it in my head over and over:

"I’m good, I’m good, I’m good, I’m good
Living life just like I should
Wouldn’t change it if I could
I’m good, I’m good, I’m good

Trying to figure out who I am
Or who I’m supposed to be
Feel good about where I stand
So I can make the most of me-I’m
Coming back down from space
A million miles away
There’s a lot of love in this place
(Oh) And I’m just trying to say

I’m good, I’m good, I’m good, I’m good
Living life just like I should
Wouldn’t change it if I could
I’m good, I’m good, I’m good"

At the very top there was a long rooty section (less than a quarter of a mile) that everyone around me was walking, so I went ahead and walked it too. Something I could ride no problem, but worth walking at 11,200 ft just to keep the HR down a bit! Finally reached the top and started to head down. I was definitely feeling the altitude at this point, and just wanting to get lower so I could breathe. Actually stopped to take my inhaler, then started down.

On the way down I caught up to the chick in the Pedal racing kit that I had been riding with at the beginning of the race. We were the exact same speed descending, and ended up riding the whole descent together, for about 6 miles. I was tired, but really pushing the descent because I wanted to make my 5 hr goal, and knew it was only in sight if I kept my speed up enough on the descents to make up for my slow climbing.

At this point, I was happy to know someone else in my age group (who looked like a strong rider) was near me. I decided to keep her in my sight the rest of the race if I could. This race attracts such a strong field that I just didn't want to finish way behind everyone else!

We came into the Dredge Boat trailhead and Nate and the kids were cheering for me again, so I waved hi and turned out onto the road. All of the sudden, Pedal Racing girl was gone. I didn't know if she somehow got way ahead of me while I was waving at the kids, or stopped at the aid station, but she was gone and I was totally on my own. I rode much of the next section by myself.

At this point, the trail climbs some singletrack up to a road, then there's a big dirt road climb for a few miles. I hadn't ridden this whole section during the pre-ride, and the length of the climb got a little bit demoralizing. There were a few guys that I caught up to and passed, and I got passed by a couple, but otherwise it was quiet and I was tired, and everything was starting to hurt. At one point, my glutes were hurting so bad that I walked for about a 1/4 mile just to stretch out my legs. All the while, I was looking behind me to make sure I wasn't going to get passed by someone in my age group. Kept singing to myself, "I'm good, I'm good, I'm good..."

Finally hit the top of the big climb and headed down a fun fast singltrack descent. It was steep and rocky and I was feeling pretty tired at this point, so it beat me up a bit. Turned onto a paved road which was a nice, fast descent for a mile or so before heading uphill. I wasn't sure where I was since I hadn't ridden this section, so I was shocked when I popped onto some singletrack and saw the park and finish line down below me! I was so happy to know I was about to finish that I totally burst into tears. This is NOT like me, but I was so nervous about this race after my awful pre-ride that I was happy to know I made it. I'm not a naturally athletic person, and if you told me three years ago that I'd be mountain biking, let alone doing a race this hard, wouldn't have believed you. Rode down the final switchbacks and into the finish line right behind the guy who was on my tail the whole CO trail climb. DONE!!

I finished in 4:42 and my goal was 5 hours, so I was thrilled. 4.5 hrs was my stretch goal, so I was fairly close to that. I placed 13 out of 15 in my age group, which was full of crazy fast competitive chicks. It's funny, the first 8 places finished under 3:45, which is crazy fast. Then the rest of us all finished around 4.5 hrs or more. No in between at all. Turns out the girl I rode down the CO trail with must have stopped at the aid station - I beat her by one minute. Guess I'm glad I carried everything I needed so I wouldn't have to stop! I beat a lot more men than women, which just goes to show that the women who enter this race tend to be more hardcore.
What would you do differently?:

Not go on a trip to sea level for a week and half two weeks before the race, get in a couple more high altitude climbing rides, ride a better bike? I definitely think more high altitude training might have helped a bit. Otherwise, I think I rode a good race - I was limited by my fitness more than anything, so it was all about consistent pacing so I wouldn't blow up. I had nothing in the tank when I was done, so I'll call it good.
Post race
Warm down:

Sat down in the grass and stretched right away - my glutes and hamstrings were crazy tight from all the climbing. Changed clothes at the park, headed into Frisco and got late lunch. It was pouring rain and freezing and I was feeling lucky that I finished right in time! Wasn't hungry AT ALL, but forced some food and water down. Felt icky. I ate a lot during the race (like, force-fed myself every 45 minutes), but I only took one salt tab and I suspect my electrolytes were off. Didn't feel better until dinner, when I downed a margarita with salt and chips and salsa - think the salt helped!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Training time. Altitude. Lack of experience on this course (I probably would have done better on the last climb had I known what to expect).

Event comments:

Good race - I'd do it again. Beautiful high altitude singletrack with great views. This course is no joke, that's for sure. I wouldn't have finished if I had tried to do this ride a year ago - it's a tough tough course. I finished with 5,000 ft of climbing for the day, and that's all above 9.500 feet altitude. When I was picking a training plan the coach gave me advice to follow a 50 miler training plan because this race is like racing an easy 50 miler, and I think she was right.

Last updated: 2015-07-19 12:00 AM
04:42:14 | 34 miles | 7.23 mile/hr
Age Group: 13/15
Overall: 15/
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Loop 2 of the Breck 100 course - out of town on Boreas Pass, up Sally Barber and Little French, big descent down American Gulch, big climb up West Ridge of the Colorado Trail, big descent to Dredge trailhead, a big dirt road climb, then some singletrack and road into the finish.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2015-07-19 9:51 AM

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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: Breck 32
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