But you gotta hike your bike first.
Following stage 3, we were in a bad place. I had one beer, and did not finish it last night, that kind of bad.
We were sore. Pushing your bike for 3-4 hours will do that. Riding a mtb for 3 days in a row has a similar effect. Folks are tired. Our bodies are starting to feel beat down. The mental challenge has begun, “why are we doing this?”, followed by “how are we going to do three more days of this?”.
Thankfully, we slept okay. Some with ear plugs, some with ambien. Some, with both.
6am this morning, folks were guzzling coffee and busy making preparations for another 40 mile 6500 day. A silver lining, would be that we would stay below 11k for the better part of the day.
8:30 am. Our little group from Nashville set-off on their respective #BreckEpic day 4 start.
The standard in Breckinridge is that if you’re going to ride bikes, you get a 60 second warm-up before the climbing begins. Mass start. Up a paved road for a mile or so. Surprisingly Jena was not in launch mode (yet).
We hit the first stretch of double track at mile 2 or so, a Strava segment titled pavement to Glen’s house says this little bugger averaged 16% for .6 miles.
Crammed in like a sardine, surrounded by everyone from the back of the start line, we crawled upwards for the next 4 miles or so. Jena was gone.
I was not hiking my bike.
A moral victory.
The next 5 miles were pretty enjoyable. Sweet single track, some modest climbs. We made the first aid station, mile 10, in an hour an change.
We ate some waffles and took some water. A quick note to share. We’re riding our mountain bikes in great open spaces around Breckinridge. In some cases, at the highest elevation. Every day, we’ve been blessed with amazing people who volunteer their time to make that as each of us arrives at each aid station, that we have our drop bags, food, and hydration. The volunteers have been amazing this week, a standard for all events to follow.
We set off with lighter spirits, Jena making a remark that I was “climbing well, must of brought my rally legs”….we all know that’s a load of baloney, but, I smiled knowing that I had only hiked my bike for a moment today.
That would change.
The next 10 miles were similar to the first 10, some fun single track, some fun descents and one awful climb.
Following a really fun descent, that bombed down into what appeared to spit us out of the woods, there were course arrows pointing to the right and volunteers shouting “hard right hander, off-camber climb.”
A goat path of a road. No, that’s not fair to the goats. This was actually a water runoff I think.
Strava says it’s called King Fisher Lane, a not so friendly, 1.3 mile climb at 12%.
The photo at the top of this entry, shows Jena, hiking her bike up Vomit Hill.
We hiked for 30 minutes or so.
Then another sweet ride down into the ranch aqueduct, the flattest 2 miles of single track that we have ridden this week, likely in all of Breckenridge.
It was at this point that Jena tried to ride me off her wheel here.
Tempo she said.
Moving on (read: I need to get to sleep).
Throughout this week, we’ve been surrounded by crazy like-minded people, out here suffering on their mountain bikes. A common theme among the suffering, regardless of where a person is from, or what type of fitness they may have, there is one common place the folks talk about avoiding.
The dark place.
Climbs. Bonks. Descents. Mechanicals. Sore legs and tired fannies. The aggregate of riding in the mountains for 6 days, at elevation.
I’ve heard stories of surgeries, work responsibilities, travel and sickness.
Trying to do something as ridiculous as a 6-day mountain bike race, with various challenges, will, at some point, take you right into this dark place.
Everyone has one. No one wants to go there.
Positive words are bandied around each day, “look up at the beauty“, “you’re not in the office” and my favorite “shitballs”
Well, okay, that last one might be mine, but it seems to bring a smile when I see someone with the pain face as we start to hike bikes up another ridiculous climb.
The spirit of this race is pretty cool. People offering good vibes to bring a person back.
There was a lot more climbing today, the last beast was an exposed 7 miler that dumped into some more single track. Then a ride across a saddle of the mountain, some more sucky climbs, and then the drop in home.Talladega Burms. Those were memorable on the dive back into town.
We’ve a big day tomorrow.
The Queen stage. Wheeler Pass. We’ll
ride our bikes push our bikes for 3 hours, up over 12k’.
Time Trial start tomorrow.
8:21 Sugarbear & WonderWoman
8:26 Megatron, 2.1, Tankass & SWG.
My money’s on Jena.
From dark places, there will come light.
And yes, looking up does help.
Thanks for reading. Nite folks.
#BreckEpic18 #DonateLife #BeTheGift #TeamTransplant#TeamSweetPigQueenofthePotRoasts #HattieBsRacing #LittleHarpethBrewing #MathenyEndurance #863wordcount <<<yikes. Sorry!