Saturday’s fourth annual Breckenridge 100 with also my fourth year at participating in the race. For me fourth time happens to be a charm. I achieved my personal best time of 12 hrs and 55 seconds. I really wanted to break 12 hours and probably could have if I had a rear brake during the race. I hate excuses and hate when other racers make comments like “I could have beat this person or won or blah blah blah if I didn’t flat or crash or blah blah blah”, so I feel guilty saying this. I was as usual racing the clock though and descending fast could not be a priority today. I had to be conservative and gentle with the front brake. By the time I finished I will say that my front braking skills were quite good.
So, the race started like this:
I jump on my bike to run to the bathroom when I notice that my rear brake lever is touching my ergon grip. Not a good sign. I run around nervously with tears in my eyes venting to friends but feeling it’s not a nice thing to do that as they are rightfully preoccupied with their own pre-race goings on. “I just need to deal with this” I think to myself. I ask Thane if there is a mechanic and he nicely makes an announcement requesting help on my behalf. A gracious racer offers his support but not to my surprise there isn’t much one can do for an air pocket in a hydraulic disc brake. I quickly borrowed Thane’s phone to call Matt who realized that a phone call at 5:45 am probably meant that something has gone awry. He will bring a spare brake and put it on after the first loop if I can just make it down the Wheeler Trail. Uggghhhh!!! “Just make it down the Wheeler Trail”, a concept that is understood as no small task for all participating racers. I flailed on the single track section right before the hike-a-bike switch backs without a brake. It is technical on this part and with the morning dew still settled things were slippery and sketchy. I fell and stumbled, swore and mumbled. “God help me get through this” I prayed. As I approached the top of the climb I did what any well-raised Christian would do, I made the sign of the cross and prayed to safely make it down the Wheeler Trail. I did just that, within seconds I had a rear brake. I couldn’t believe it, so I took off still conserving as the fear of the brake failing at any moment was very real and very possible. Matt was in Copper on the bike path waving me down but I told him I was fine and kept going. I jumped on the Peaks Trail and made it back to Carter Park much faster than last year without that hike-a-bike. I transitioned for a few minutes, re-fueled and hydrated and was off.
After feeling like I was still sleeping on the service road climb on loop 1, loop 2 reminded me that I did have legs again and yes they did work. I also had Cytomax, my new-found miracle drink. I tried to just take every loop at a time, pretending that I only had to ride the loop I was on. This imagery tactic helps me mentally even though it may not be the best race strategy. If I let my mind wander too much into the dread of climbing back up Boreas from Como, I’d be doomed before I got there. So I got present quick and it actually worked. Little French went by a lot quicker than I thought it would. I walked a lot more of it compared to the Firecracker 50 but I didn’t want to waste too much energy here. The American Gulch descent was super fun but less fun than last year because of the brake situation. I didn’t miss the North Fork section of the Colorado Trail. I’ve had to climb that so many times in such bad condition that a new view was called for and even though we still climbed plenty, the change of scenery did me good. The other part of this race that I always dread is the end of loop 2, the Gold Hill Road section. Again I just kept moving, kept my momentum and stayed positive and it flew by. I was amazed when I came to the top of the climb. I felt so much better this year and I had lots more to give which benefited me since there were lots more to ride.
Mentally loop 3 is always the toughest. This loop has the most climbing which consists mostly of road. Climbing up Boreas from Breckenridge was also faster this year; I think the road was in better condition, really smooth and hard. I made it down the single track to Gold Dust with no crashes which I am always grateful for. The flume section of trail is just so fun, twisty, fast and cool that it made me feel like a million bucks. When I got into the Como aide station I asked for some caffeine and a fellow racer offered me a sip of his warm red bull. Thank you whoever you are!! I didn’t spend much time in Como and was riding away looking at my odometer knowing that 10 miles to the top was what lied ahead, not always an inspiring moment. The miles cruised by though. At times I was riding anywhere from 6-10 miles an hour and I was watching the clock diligently trying to break 12 hours. I caught up to Leon Fetzer on the road and no sooner did he drop me leaving me to finish out the last endless mile alone. I now think back on the afternoon and wish I could have hung with Donny, Big Wheel Racing rider, who came cruising by me from Como like he was fresh in the saddle and finished in 11:45ish. In the moment it’s hard to push it hard to the end, even though you know you want it. In the moment of the race things hurt that don’t hurt now and it’s hard to justify going any harder or faster knowing that it could exacerbate the pain. In this moment as I write this race report, I feel happy that I finished with the time I did but I wish I had pushed it just a little harder to come in under 12 hours. I didn’t feel trashed at the end of the race this year, which may mean I had more to give…..who knows though??
Basically cytomax was my #1 caloric source. I had 2 bottles of 500 calorie perpetuems, a pb and j sandwich, 4 or 5 pretzels, pepenzymes, water, vitamin-I, half a banana, 3 small pieces of watermelon, a joint juice, and some caffeine type orange powder drink from GNC (I experimented with this in the race which is a no, no but it turned out safe).
I had a great day and kept a smile on my face for most of it. I love riding my bike! I can’t imagine keeping up with the top females who finished in 10:00 to 10:30 hrs. Unbelievable in my book! It was fun to see Cullen, Thane, Matt Turgeon (toughest guy out there according to Matt Fletcher and I….single speed winner in 10:04, good enough for top 10 overall. Very impressive and pushing a BIG gear!), Bethany from Park City, Josh Tostado, Ryan Huth, Jeff Rank…….good friends that I know from racing and almost only see at races. Congrats to all the boys and girls who came out to play, who were supportive and positive and who had fun. Thanks Thane for being concerned about me and helping me out with supportive words and wisdom. Thanks to all the awesome volunteers for a great race and great aide stations. Thanks ladies for saving food for my slow self, even though I couldn’t eat it. And once again thanks Matt Fletcher for always being there.