Singletrack dreams on stage 2

Unfortunate racers from Stage 1 get their revenge on the Colorado Trail

During stage 1 of the Breck Epic yesterday, I made good use of other racers' misfortune to ride into second place. Today, the tables turned on me, and proved that karma always has the last laugh.

Stage 2 of the 2011 Breck Epic was a singletrack dream, and a great route for those handful of unlucky racers from yesterday to plot their revenge. After a police car-mandated neutral roll-out up through the Wellington Neighborhood, racers entered a section of Breckenridge’s trail network known as the Golden Horseshoe. This area is aptly named for the extensive gold mining industry that boomed Breckenridge and surrounding areas in the 1800s.

The course climbed sharply off the start and then mellowed out a bit before hitting the wall known to locals as "Heinous Hill." This mile and a half long leg-breaker allowed race leader Fredrico Ramirez, former champion Josh Tostado, and a select group of other riders to break away from a quickly deteriorating main group. Riders like Colin Cares and Macky Franklin fired off some heavy firepower following Ramirez and Tostado in hopes of regaining time after mechanical issues during stage 1.

Of the unlucky riders from yesterday, most rode away unscathed today. Josh Tostado and Colin Cares both rode to top-five finishes after mechanical failure yesterday. Unfortunately, all were not so lucky… Despite riding strong during both stages, Macky Franklin is one rider that has not seen the results he’s hoped for due to mechanical issue. After breaking a cable yesterday and having to shove a rock in his derailleur to find an opportune climbing gear, Macky flatted today, and changed this flat only to miss a turn on course while putting in a solid effort to catch back up to the competition.

After the group break-up on Heinous Hill, riders descended down to the Middle Fork of the Swan section of the Colorado Trail - a flowing singletrack dream which parallels Tiger Road near the Good Times sled-dog facility. Continuing across the North Fork of the Swan, the Colorado Trail climbs up to the top of West Ridge, which served as the main climb of the day. Riders were awarded after this long climb by arguably one of the best descents in Summit County on the CT.

Unfortunately, this descent led to the bottom of another infamous climb, the Vomit Doubletrack, which led to many riders (including myself) cracking on this latter section of the course.

Until this point, I had a fairly good day on the bike, riding in the top 10 and feeling pretty good. The Vomit climb is a mere 10 minutes from my house by trail, and there are many reasons why I never ride it. Today only heightened my hatred for this climb and only ten miles from the finish, I cracked hard. With another two large climbs to go, I tried to settle into some kind of rhythm and refuel, only to acquire a large rusty nail in my rear tire after aid station two. While racing in Breckenridge, one rarely notices the extensive mining history until it’s wreaking havoc on your equipment.

Recovery is key after today’s stage, as stage 3 plays host to what locals refer to as the "Circumnavigation of Mount Guyot." With over 9000 feet of climbing over 45 miles, it is unquestionably the queen stage of the 2011 Breck Epic. If this blog is filled with incoherent ramblings tomorrow, you’ll understand why. Until then, enjoy the ride.

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