Saturday, July 11, 2009

L'epic avec JG: musings de la musette.- Stage 5

Man, I am sorry for the dang darn delay in the blog updates…blogs are nothing without consistency and I am off the back. We haven’t had internet at the condo and the days have been jam packed nuts with a lot going on and little time for Wi-Fi search parties. Speaking of off the back here is a little story of how my Breck Epic stage 5 went down.

Once upon a beautiful summer morning in Breckenridge, Colorado I awoke to the always un-pleasant sound of the alarm clock. Day after day I have been hitting the snooze button a few more times because I am pooped. It’s weird though, my body feels a general fatigue from the length and intensity of the stages but when I actually get on my bike my legs feel pretty good. It must be the repetition, the ‘ol meat sticks know what they need to do. I on the other hand slowly have to pull myself out of bed today and muster up the courage to shovel as much food into the furnace as possible. The hardest part about stage racing I have decided is eating. I don’t seem to have trouble on any ordinary day, but in this case it becomes quite discomforting, if not a little painful to constantly stuff yourself each day. It is vital though. So Chad whipped up a big egg-tastic breakfast for me to fuel up on and I got myself chammy’ed for the “Wheeler” leg of the Epic.

The race director/course setter guy explained to us the night prior (we have mandatory race awards and meetings following each race at 5:30) that the “Wheeler” stage was going to dish out some light to moderate hike-a-bike sections. Ha! By about hour two the entire participant roster was zig-zagging up itty-bitty goat trails, weaving in and out and over snow patches and reaching the likes of a windy peak topping us out at 12,500 ft. Holy Cows it was both awesome and horrible all at the same time and no where near “light to moderate”. So it was at this point I found myself OTB. That means off the back in the cycling world. I was pretty blown at the start of today’s push and by the time I arrived at the dismount I looked up and saw Christina about two switch-backs ahead of me. Crap! It doesn’t seem like a lot of distance but when you are walking it is a ton. Plus I knew that when she crested the top that I would still be hoofing my way up and that she would gain a big gap on me.

The only part of the week where the Mav was a slight disadvantage was this hike. Begy’s single speed was a feather light champ and mine was heavy weight boxer. I struggled to go up. However, look out suckas, cuz as soon as I hit the summit, OMG I launched down a section of the Colorado Trail down into Copper Mtn. that was sick, sick, sicky pants rad. I was able to make up time even though I was frequently hung up behind some slower descenders. Once on the bike path, I had to bite down hard onto some handlebar and let the big dog eat for a long time trial because Christina was still nowhere in sight and I knew I had to catch her before the Peaks trail. The Peaks trail starts in Frisco and sends you up a great single track all the way to the base of Peak 8 in Breck. It is rooty, with good flow and can really punch you in the gut. Mainly because it is deceivingly uphill. You feel like you can or should be able to haul some ass but it takes it’s toll if you are not prepared to suffer. I loved it. Luckily I had ridden it once before, going the opposite direction, and therefore I knew what to expect.

The final feed zone was just at the start of the Peaks Trail and about 5-6 miles from the finish line. I was still OTB. At the feed zone someone told me that Begy was about 30 seconds ahead of me. So I absolutely buried myself to make contact. Once I did, it was bitter sweet as she is a friend and doing an unbelievable job giving me a run for my money. I kept the gas on and put in an effort to make sure she could not stay on my wheel and then before I knew it I was right behind Alison Dunlap and her co-ed duo partner Greg Frozley. I was out of my head excited to see them. Alison has been a huge inspiration to me as a female cyclist and it has always been a dream of mine to race with her. I stayed on her wheel the whole rest of the race and crossed the line super stoked at how the day played out…with about 4 and a half minutes on Christina to boot.

I tell ya, this race just gets better and better. It seems like such a daunting task at first but then your body settles into the pace of it and you really wrap your brain around the wackiness of it all-and suddenly you are like, “this is pretty sweet.” Everyone involved too has made this Epic such a memorable experience. There is a woman racing who is 65 years old and she is incredible. She always has a smile on her face and a neon green bomber helmet to match her neon green Turner. Hats off to you Wendy Skean I hope I have your pep come 65! You are incredible.

And again thanks to all of you for your following and continued support. There are so many people in my life that are awesome and I love you all.

Eddie is off to cover the Winter Park race Saturday & will be adding photo's from today's amazing stage ASAP so stay tuned.

If you need photo's you can check Breck Epic coverage from our friends @ Mountian Flyer Magazine & MTB Race News or

Hoping laughter greets you frequently,



redstone said...

great job, Jen, you kicked butt.

G-Lenn said...

jen you are the shiz. congratulations!

BH said...

You are a rock star Jen, nice work.