Sunday, August 12, 2012

Breck Epic - Stage 1

I would say that today's first stage was a "survival" stage.  Looking at the course profile on paper it looks nothing like a difficult day; and by difficult I mean one that you are looking forward to it being over.  We covered 40 miles and climbed just over 4600 ft.  A tough day but, much tougher than I had anticipated.

  early on during Stage 1

Going into the first stage my plan was to be a little conservative, and I can honestly say that I stuck to my plan.  After looking at my GPS device I noticed my average HR was 145 and my max HR was only 157.  I wanted to stay right around or below my threshold and those #'s reflect that perfectly.  I am hoping that this will pay off towards the end of the week with my legs still feeling fairly fresh to put in a surge during stage 4-6.

I didn't have too many issues today other than 1 flat within the first 8 miles.  At the time I was with the lead group but had to stop and fix the flat and saw many riders pass.  I eventually passed most of those riders but wasn't able to catch back to the lead group, nor did I expect to either.  I settled into a good tempo rhythm and hoped for the best.  Finished 8th overall, 21 min back from the winner.

local Breck rider Josh Tostado

descending near the finish

pushing on near the finish

The word for today was "rocks".  I don't think I have ever ridden 40 miles having my tires hit so many rocks.       I don't think that there was a section where I didn't see a rock.  I would say that the hardest section of the course were the jeep roads; loaded with loose rocks the size of a helmet.  Without being able to choose a good line I tried to ride straight through the rocks but just ended up getting bounced around like a pinball.  There were even a few hike-a-bike sections, which I do feel are a necessity in a true mountain bike race.  The mindset of the day though was "please don't flat again, please don't slice a tire, just get to the finish".  And that's why I named this stage a "survival" stage, just finishing and not loosing too much time.

an easy section of singletrack with rocks

Overall I felt that my breathing didn't have any effect on my performance, however, it definitely felt like my legs would not respond as I wanted them to.  Picture Uma Thurman in the movie "Kill Bill Vol. 1 sitting in the car and trying to get her big tow to move.  That's exactly how I felt with my legs, trying to get them to spin a little faster but just wouldn't.

Well it was an epic day in the saddle and the best part is that there are 5 more days to come.

video from Blake Harlan - Stage 1

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