Monday, August 30, 2010
Putting the Brr and the epic in the Breck Epic
This is my stage 3 report from The Breck Epic. For whatever reason it didn't get posted on Mountain Bike. They did, however, post the one where I talk about EPO being a great idea. In this one I do imply that I want to shoot promoter Mike McCormack in the penis. Did I cross the line? You be the judge.
Tuesday, August 24, Course #3: The Guyot Loop
I just want to set the record straight. Despite all my whining and crying in my previous posts about the insane amount of climbing in this race and my total lack of compatibility with high-altitude...anything; this is an incredible race. But it is not a race to be trifled with. If you ever decide to do this thing, which I think you should, you need to come prepared. Which means you need to be ready for rain, cold, heat, (did I mention insane climbing?), and pointy rocks. I took lightly the warnings of locals and those in the know about the pointy rocks, "Ya whatever dude...we got rocks back east." Yes, but back east those rocks are hit at 8 MPH, not 25 MPH. There aren't as many rocks out here in Breckenridge, but when you're traveling at such a rate of speed that your eyeballs are being rattled out of your skull, you can't really see that one rock that is going to slice through your sidewall like a hot light saber through butter in the Death Star cafeteria. So run bigger, burlier tires than you might think or you'll end up like all the folks I saw on the side of the trail today, all flatted-out and demoralized.
There are huge fluctuations in temperature throughout the stages. Most morning's it is cold, like 40° cold, but then it jumps up to 70° or hotter. Today we ascended French Gulch, which brought us up to 12,000+ feet. It was either raining or we were in a cloud, either way, we were getting wet, and I was getting kookoo for Cocoa Puffs. I was part of the most gigantic hike-a-bike...I won't say "conga line" that I have ever seen. The view was spectacular but it was immensely painful. It was like looking upon a beautiful creature like a peacock, and exclaiming, "My God, that is the most gorgeous thing I have..." and — Thock! — it jabs its beak through your eyeball, blinding you and causing you horrible discomfort. And that was the most normal thought I had atop of French Gulch. When I first looked up to see the extent (or what I thought was the extent) of French Gulch and saw the riders hiking a quarter mile in front of me, I screamed "Jesus Christ! They might as well be walking on the moon." And then I started singing "Walking on The Moon" by The Police and telling my buddy Doug that Sting has plans to record a Reggaeton version of that song. He was appalled until I reminded him that I am either lying or wrong 100% of the time.
When I turned the next corner and saw what was the true extent (or what I hoped was the true extent) of French Gulch, I completely lost it, I threw both middle fingers up to the highest mountain valley I have ever seen, then turned around and started tramping back down the trail yelling "That's it, I am going to go buy a gun and shoot Mike McCormack (Breck Epic promoter) in the [expletive]...what's the waiting period on hand gun purchases in Colorado?" Just as we reached the peak, a creature emerged out of the mist. We started voicing our guesses as to what it was: "A Yeti!" "An Ewok!" "A Wookie!" "It's a unicorn selling lemonade!" But it was just a photographer. I waved my hand and told him "Don't be ridiculous, cameras don't function at this altitude." Then we descended away from the highest point on the course, the visibility was poor and I felt like I had just left the dentist's office after a root canal, jagged rocks emerged out of the mist like small, not-hairy gorillas (that were jagged).
And to reiterate the burly tire thing for a second...
I saw three dudes pulled over, fixing flats in the same spot on that descent. All three flats were probably caused by the same mean little rock. A bit more rotational weight on the climbs would be worth every second not spent fixing a flat on that wet, freezing, windswept peak, however picturesque and full of mythological or made-up creatures it might be.
At the end of the day, as I was descending down to the finish, I saw promoter, Mike McCormack (who I am not really going to shoot in the [expletive]), I blurted, probably unintelligibly, "That descent off that crazy peak was the best thing I have ever ridden!" I was talking about the rocky, technical, rip-roaring deal off of Georgia Gulch, but that statement could possibly have described no less than three different sections of the course. He was probably like "Wow...that guy is a moron, I can't believe he isn't riding an adult tricycle."
Allegedly we won't be attaining the same heights we did today on tomorrow's ride. Which is too bad, I was hoping to ask the Oompa Loompas where they get their hair-dye.