Thursday, July 09, 2009
Downtown Breckenridge before the start of the race...lot's of peeps hangin' out enjoying the vibe.
As I was finishing the Firecracker 50 last year, I told myself several times that I would not put myself through that again. However after a few days, I began to contemplate the idea for 2009. A couple of weeks ago I lost my mind and went ahead and pre-registered for the race again this year. Julie and I packed up the Jeep and hit the road for Co. bright and early Friday morning, to the tune of about 4am. We made it to her brothers house in Avon about 11 ½ hours later. We unloaded the bikes and went for a nice easy spin around the neighborhood to shake the cobwebs out of our legs.
The next morning we hit a sweet greasy spoon in Vail for some pancakes, ham, eggs, fried potatoes and some black gold. We made it to Breckenridge with 2 hours to spare. The skies were clear and it was looking to be another beautiful day in Colorado!
Last year I went out too hard and kinda blew my wad during the second lap. This year I was pretty determined not to do the same thing. The race started and there were about 40 cats in my age group. We rolled up the paved climb and as we approached the first section of singletrack, our group was down to eight. I’m pretty sure that I made the same bone headed mistake that I made last year by going out a little too hard. My HR spent a lot of time in the lower 170’s and as this was going on, I knew that I could never average that high of an HR over 50 miles, at over 9,500 feet no less. It’s one of those situations where, with all of the results that I’ve had, I’ve always been one of the top 40+ riders in the Midwest, so why not everywhere else? The problem with that theory is that mountain bike racing in Colorado is very different from the buttery smooth trails that we have in the Midwest, not to mention we flatlanders feel like we’re breathing through a coffee stir stick. When I finished the race last year, I felt like I had been run over by a very large truck. During the second lap of the race this year, I began to quickly recall that sensation.
The start of the crusty old man's race.
My second lap this year was around 13 minutes slower than last year…bone headed mistake confirmed. This year my last lap meltdown was worse than last year as my finishing time was about 3 minutes slower than last year. My only consolation for this year was that I never had to dismount, I rode everything. Last year I had to walk up the steeper portion of the Little French Gulch climb.
Coming down the mountain, suffering like an animal and so ready to be done. Not sure who the dude is in the foreground, kinda looks like q*bert.
Finally finished, I think at that point in time, I had no idea who or where I was.
I ended up finishing 7th in my age group, and judging by the finishing times, my age group was kinda stacked this year. I’m OK with the result for the most part, I am after all a flatlander from Iowa. And despite all of the pain and suffering, I did have a good time and I cannot rule out doing it again next year. The course boasts some of the sweetest singletrack that I have ever laid tracks on. I’m pretty sure that behind my pained expressions, there was a smile on my face…somewhere!
I was surprised at how many familiar faces that I ran into, Jeff Kerkove (no surprise), WORS regular Ryan Krayer, Ryan Feagan, Rox, Larry Kitner, another guy that I should know from Lincoln, I think I saw a dude in a MOB kit (Dave Krenz maybe?), there were probably a few others that slip my mind. I was still a little cross eyed for a while after the race. Julie also told me that I needed to score a free beer because racers got their beer in a free pint glass. I figured that I would get it and give it to her…that didn’t happen. As the beer guy handed over my beer, I saw Jeremiah Bishop drinking a beer. I was still feeling a little weak from the days effort and I rationalized that if he could drink a beer and be a top level pro, why not me? I drank it, it was really good and it gave me a nice, mellow buzz. The kind where you’re still sober, but it has a knack for hindering some of your mental faculties. Mine just happened to be my memory.
The plan for tomorrow is a nice easy ride to the farmers market in Vail with Julie. Should be a pretty sweet ride because any ride in Colorado is a sweet ride, even if you get caught in the rain!
Thanks for reading,