Days since the Firecracker 50 have been filled with many miles, smiles, work and trying to soak up as much summertime as possible before it’s gone.
After a couple days of rest, I was ready and motivated to start working on the next goal – The Telluride 100. 100 milers are not my favorite, but I like to try to schedule one a year to push myself out of my comfort zone. This race was right up my alley with giant climbs going over 12k that gave an ample supply of breathtaking views. Having my breathing under control and feeling stronger than ever – I was motivated and ready for it!
Leading up to the race, LW Coaching altered my training and race schedule a little to favor being fresh and ready for 100 miles and 15,000ft of climbing. Originally, I had a couple town series races scheduled, a team effort of the Breck 100 with Jeff and Yuki, and a 5 hour steady-moderate paced ride planned. Making some adjustments, Lynda took out the two town series races and put more focus on a little longer, slightly “easier” training efforts.
The weekend after the Firecracker 50, I mapped out a solo tour of all my favorite trails in Vail for a good, long day. Not getting up valley too often to ride I decided to just ride all my favorites in one day – which ended up looking like a bird by the time my route was done!
It was a great solo day in the saddle in search of all the perfect places to spot the Gore Range – North Trail – Lost Lake – Buffher Creek – North Trail – Vail Mountain – Benchmark – The Ridge – Mid Vail Escape – Fred’s Lunch – Big Mamba – Hank’s Hideaway tallying up 47 miles and 8,000ft of climbing. Training made easy with such great trails and amazing views!
The next day I was lucky enough to be able to ride my bike for work! We have a new event coming up, The Vail Outlier – and I got to ride the mountain showing Jeff Frost the proposed routes. After that, it was a series of chill rides and opener intervals in preparation for the weekend’s Breck 100 relay.
I won the lottery with teammates – Jeff, Yuki and I split up the 3 loop Breck 100 race and took it on as a relay. Jeff, being the high alpine, hike a bike’aholic that he is – we gave him the first loop – Wheeler Pass. Our fastest teammate, Yuki Ikeda took the 2nd loop – which had probably the best single track descents that you had to really work for. That left me with the last loop – Gold Dust. This loop went over Boreas Pass twice with some single track, but an ample amount of road climbing.
That hardest part of this format is waiting your turn. Jeff started at 6am and came in with the top few open 100 men, Yuki went out and put in a HUGE effort and came back with a 10 minute lead on the top 100 man. Then it was me – I was OFF… an odd feeling starting a race solo with no one with you or ahead of you. With LW’s voice in my head I kept a lid on it, stayed out of my anaerobic zone and just churned over a steady pace. I had the feeling of being chased, and expected to get caught going into the Gold Dust trail.
During the first few rocky sections, I flatted – I kept riding thinking it was just a small puncture and the Stans would fill the hole… kept riding, kept spewing, hissing… my heart sank. The first time I pulled over I just shot it with CO2 throwing my hat into the wind thinking it would work. No luck, I pulled over again in what seemed like the home of a million mosquitos and put a tube in as I had a large side wall cut. With 10 minutes of stopping I felt that I was sure to be caught… still no one. I kept chugging along, precariously maneuvering my way around the rockiest section of trail. I made it to Como, still solo – filled up my water and made my way up Boreas for the 2nd time. I was feeling strong, kept it steady and just focused on reaching the top. Making it to the top, still solo, no one in front, no one in sight I clicked it into my hardest gear and cranked the downhill as hard as I could. Once I reached the single track, I went back to conservatively railing in hopes of keeping all the air in my tires to the finish. I reached the pavement, still solo! There was a little confusion on the finish and I blew past the turn… I knew something wasn’t right so I turned back around to make the correct turn back into the finish line. This is where I could see the lead open 100 man coming down towards me. Head down I made it across the finish line 30 seconds ahead, securing an overall win in front of the entire field and wracked up a series of PR’s both uphill and downhill. Being someone who LOVES railing descents, it’s been a blast racing the BH Ultimate Hardtail and quite a shock seeing what it’s capable of eating up! As soon as I crossed the line, both Jeff and Yuki quickly informed me my front tire was still flat! YIKES, I was so lucky to make it in!
With a season of great training, racing and overall motivation at my back I was thrilled for the upcoming challenge; The Telluride 100. The week leading up, my energy was at an all time low, each day I was either riding with the kids that I coach or resting. Looking at the calendar, my heart knew what was in store – that monthly little party pooper with a painful label of ‘endometriosis’. I ignored the inevitable and carried on as if it wasn’t going to happen. Unfortunately, my timing was absolutely the worst and the night before the race I was up most of the night with fever chills and the typical slew of flu like symptoms. I called the race at 3am, which was the best decision as it would’ve been a 9 hour day with many mandatory body mechanical stops along the way.
Am I bummed? Yes. Do I dwell on it? Hells no! If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past couple years of racing its that, sh!t happens. There’s no use getting too worked up on mechanicals, both body and bike related as they are – for the most part – out of your control. What I can focus on is continuing to get stronger, smarter, and enjoy this beautiful life! There’s always next year.
Now – it’s a week completely off training, finally getting in with the allergy specialist, and a couple blocks of event work. There are plenty of races and adventures to be had this year – from bikepacking, to a 3 day stage race and a point 2 point backcountry adventure. For the next few weeks, I play, I work and plan for future adventures.
See you on the trails!