The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Leg: Breck Epic, Day 6

10.31.2012 | 2:47 pm

201210311318.jpgA Note from Fatty for Locals: I’m going to be out of town this weekend, which kind of bums me out. Not because what I’m doing bums me out — what I’m doing is actually pretty exciting and I’ll talk about it another time — but because it means I’ll miss Cross Out Cancer on Saturday.

Cross Out Cancer is this November 3, 2012 at Canyon Rim Park, located at 3100 S 2900 E Salt Lake City, Utah 84109.

This year’s event will include musical performances by the School of Rock and Peter Breinholt, food, a 5K run; cyclocross races for all ages and abilities throughout the day, a CROSS OUT CANCER cyclocross relay race modeled after the world famous Little 500 (featured in the movie Breaking Away) and a fabulous silent auction.

The 5K run will start at 8:00 am and runners will enjoy the fall weather ambiance while running through the surrounding area. Regular scheduled Utah Cyclocross Series races start at 9:30 am (visit for start times for all the days’ races) and the CROSS OUT CANCER relay race will begin at 12:00.

The Silent auction will open at 9:00 am and will be open for bidding until 3:00 pm. For more information or to register for the event visit Proceeds will benefit LiveStrong and Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

A Note from Fatty: This is part of my race report for the the 2012 Breck Epic. My writeups for all parts of this story can be found here:

The Hammer and I stood together at the starting line for this, the final day of the Breck Epic. I was feeling surprisingly good. Better, in fact, than I had for the first five days of this race.

“It would be awesome,” I told The Hammer, “If we were the fastest coed team today.”

“We’ll go the speed we can go,” replied The Hammer. She is so maddeningly philosophical sometimes.

We took off — starting from the very back of the group, as was now our tradition — and got rolling up the couple miles of paved road that led to today’s massive singletrack feast:


It was to be a “short” day: just 31.5 miles, with 3853 feet of climbing: two big climbs, two big descents.

Before we even got to the end of the pavement, The Hammer and I had pulled in front of the other two coed teams. Climbing was our thing. The question was, could we put enough time on the other teams during the climbs that we’d be able to hold them off during the descents?

The answer came quickly. As soon as the trail turned downhill, Team Bliss passed us. We expected it; those two are very nearly as fast as The Hammer and I in the climbs, and waaaaayyy out of our league in the descents.

But the climbing wasn’t over. And we had gotten a whiff of what the lead smells like.

It smells like victory, FYI.

The short mile of downhill brought us to a big 2+ mile climb. The Hammer and I got back in front of Team Bliss, riding with a sense of purpose that quite frankly served no purpose, because there was no possible way we could move up in the overall standings. My miserable first- and second-day performances had seen to that.

But you know, even if you have no GC chances, sometimes it’s worth it to go for a stage win. In fact, especially when you don’t have GC chances.

Mile 12 – 17.5 might have been my favorite 5+ miles of the entire trip. It was exquisite, beautiful, perfect downhill. Twenty-three minutes of it.

I know you probably don’t have time to watch the whole thing right now, but I’m not going to be posting for a few days (I’ll explain later), so maybe you’ll want to come back and watch this.

After you do, I’m pretty sure you’re going to book a trip out to Breckenridge for next summer. It’s that good.

If you watch this video (and I’m sure you will), you’ll notice at some point that Team Bliss passes us, so at the halfway mark, they were in the lead.

But you should not count Team Fatty out. Not yet.

Last Climb

My knee was no longer hurting at all, which mystifies me to this day. And I wanted to win. So I told The Hammer to grab on (not literally…that was a different team) to my wheel; we were going to catch — and if possible, pass — Team Bliss.

We had a stiff headwind. I was pulling The Hammer, but Team Bliss was riding in a train of two or three other riders.

We passed them, nice and wide. Team Bliss and their train tried to grab on, but — and you have no idea how happy it makes me to say this — they could not hold our wheel.

We made it to the summit with an excellent lead. Was it enough? Maybe.

It would be close.

No Time for Picnics

The last aid station of the race was right at the summit at 24-point-something miles, before the big sevenish-mile descent.

It was our last chance to stop and say “Hi” to Montana’s dad — one of the aid station workers — who had become one of our favorite people at the event.

But there was no time. We had to keep going through. Which turned out to be one of the real tragedies of the day, as we found out later. At the finish line, Montana’s dad came up to us and showed us what he had set up for us at the aid station: a complete picnic spread, with a checked picnic cloth and basket and everything.

What a great guy.

For now, though, we had to get down the mountain as fast as possible, both of us wishing that it had been a climbing finish.

We were fast. We were really fast.

But we were not fast enough. Team Bliss passed us with just a few minutes left in the race, and we crossed as the second coed team for the day, and third coed team overall.

Which means we got this cool third-place framed prize:


Here’s a more zoomed-in view:

IMG_5378 - Version 2.jpg

More importantly, though, we also got the coveted Breck Epic finisher’s buckles:

IMG_5377 - Version 2.jpg

This is what they have stamped on the back:

IMG_5377 - Version 3.jpg

Seven days of racing. We had done it. We had finished the Breck Epic, the most understatedly-named race in the whole world.

The Stay-Puft Man

The next morning, as we started packing, I commented to The Hammer, “I feel weird.”

“Like what?” she asked.

“My face feels tight. In fact, everything feels tight,” I said.

“Like youre muscles are sore?” asked The Hammer.

“No, more like my skin is stretched,” I answered.

The Hammer looked at me. “You’re all swollen,” she said.

And I was. My face was moonish. My ring was tight.

And my legs. Oh wow, my legs.

They were so swollen it was hard to bend my knees, and my ankles had disappeared completely.

And then there was the bruise.

Huge and purple, it went all the way from the bottom of my butt down the backside of my right leg to the bottom of my calf.

I cannot believe I didn’t get a picture of it.

Which leads us to the final piece of advice I have for potential multi-stage endurance racing cyclists: There is in fact such a thing as too much ibuprofen.

PS: I won’t be posting again ’til Tuesday. I’ve got my reasons, most of them having to do with a very cool new project I’m revealing on Tuesday.


A Glorious Smell: Breck Epic, Day 5

10.30.2012 | 11:42 am

A Note from Fatty: This is part of my race report for the the 2012 Breck Epic. My writeups for all parts of this story can be found here:

I never would have believed that I could possibly get a more awesome hand-up in a race than a handful of Skittles from Jeff Kerkove at 12,000 feet.

And yet, a mere two days later, in the penultimate day of racing the Breck Epic, it happened.

I shall describe what happened in just a moment. You will not disagree.

This is a Race

The fifth day of the Breck Epic was all about one giant climb up Whistler Mountain, followed by one giant descent.


We started the day from a ski resort, and immediately started climbing. As was our tradition — and frankly, rightful location — we started near the back.

And began passing people. Lots of people.

In fact, we passed the second-place coed team (the Blisses). And then we passed the first-place team (I can’t remember their name, because we never really talked with them). The man of the team was pushing the woman, giving her an assist up the mountain.

I had three reactions to this:

  1. “Hey, that’s totally illegal, but still kind of sweet.” In fact, the winning team had been warned on doing this from the previous day. But you know, when your wife is hurting, you still want to be chivalrous, rules be damned.
  2. “Hey, why aren’t you giving me a push?” As a liberated and modern man of the two-thousand-pre-teens, I am absolutely not averse to a little help from my wife. Hence, I looked over at The Hammer and said, “Anytime you feel like you’d like to give me a push, just let me know.”
  3. “This is an unusual place for us.” For the first time I can remember during this race, The Hammer and I were the lead coed duo team. Frankly, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure.

As a result of our sudden and unexpected dominance among the coed teams, we — for the first time since the race had begun five days ago — skipped an aid station.

This weren’t no time for jibber-jabber. This — due to this strange turn of events — was a race.

Let’s Take Our Bikes on a Walk

Before too long, the steep dirt road we were riding on turned into steep, rocky singletrack. Rocky and steep enough, in fact, that we were forced to walk about as often as we could ride:


Before terribly long, though, we could ride again.

And after that, before terribly long, we’d have to walk again.


But we didn’t care. We were marching in a line, taking in the stark-but-beautiful scenery, and honestly just really enjoying ourselves.


As you can see, the trail gets really stark once you’re above treeline.

What’s That Smell?

As we neared the summit, I caught a whiff of something. Something very good. But it just didn’t make sense. So I kept my mouth shut.

And then I smelled it again.

I had just about made my mind up to go ahead and — crazy as it sounded — say what I was smelling when The Hammer spoke up:

“I swear, I smell bacon cooking.”

“So it’s not just me smelling it,” I said.

“No, I smell it too,” said the guy behind me.

“I’ve never smelled anything quite so delicious,” I remarked. And it was true. While The Hammer and I had a difficult time eating before and after racing, we felt fine and were able to eat without difficulty while we were racing.

Then, as we crested the summit, we saw where the smell came from: A man, crouching by a little fire (it was impressive that at 12,500 he was able to make a fire at all), frying bacon in a little pan.

We rode by, waving. And wishing.

But then the man stood up and ran over to us, handing us each a small piece of freshly-cooked, hot and delicious and smoky, bacon.

My eyes are welling up even as I type this. It was that good.

Many times since then, I have thought about that instant, for a couple of reasons. First of all, because I see it as a perfect example of kind-hearted humor. Because it’s funny, the thought of the surprise and obscureness of handing bacon out at 12,500 feet to mountain bike racers. But it’s also really nice. The kind of joke you’d want to be known for.

The other thing I’ve thought about since then is whether, in the universe of hand-ups, if there exists a hand-up better than hot bacon, freshly-cooked over a campfire at 12,500 feet.

I cannot, for the life of me, think of anything that trumps this.

Hard Descent, Easy Descent

If you look at the elevation profile above, you can see that following our big climb, we had an even-bigger descent. One that started out so incredibly technical that we slowed to a crawl and Team Bliss — by far our superiors, downhill-wise — blew right by us.

Once again, we were not in first place. However, we were at least no longer in last place. Which still seemed like a nice change to us.

Eventually we got down to the end of this rocky, ledgy descent and were met with . . . even more descending. But this time, the descending was completely different than anything else we had ridden the entire race.

It was this:


Yep, a gently-descending bike path.

Ordinarily, I would roll my eyes if this were included as part of a mountain bike race, but this week of racing had left me beat. I was absolutely overjoyed to be zooming on pavement, ticking the miles off at an unprecedented rate.

And The Hammer was grateful to find a working restroom on the side of the bike path.

Hey, little things mean a lot.

Big Finish

At about 18 miles, we got to the last aid station, where The Hammer plopped herself down and commenced to enjoy her daily picnic. I, meanwhile, remained standing. Eating my sandwich, but also kind of wanting to get going, seeing as how — for the first time since the race had begun — we had a chance at finishing not-last in the coed duo category.

As a wise husband, however, I said nothing. The Hammer would ride when The Hammer was ready to ride.

While we were there, the third place team zoomed in, grabbed something to drink, and flew through — clearly in a rush to regain their not-last position.

The Hammer continued eating, unconcerned. I stood by, wisely silent.

A few minutes later, The Hammer finished her picnic, gave the person working the aid station a hug, and then said to me, “OK, I’m fueled up. let’s go kick their ass.”

I wondered if it would have been more grammatically correct to say “asses,” but wisely continued to remain silent.

The trail turned uphill, which was good for us. It remained moderately technical (without being so technical as to force us off our bikes), which was also good for us.

The Hammer was in the mood to catch this other team, and that — more than anything else, really — was really good for us.

Within two miles, at the base of a steep pitch, we had caught the second-place team. “Have a great ride!” The Hammer called, as we attacked the hill, dropping them.

As far as I know, they did not reply.

For a while, I kept looking over my shoulder, but I never saw them again. (On that stage, I mean. It’s not like they disappeared off the face of the earth or anything. Just in case you were worried.)

We crossed the finish line, strong and — for the day — in second place (although, thanks to my knee pain in days 1 and 2, we had no chance at all of getting anything but third / last place overall) for coed duo.

Almost as if we were really racing.

What If You Never Did Anything But Race? (Breck Epic Race Report, Day 4)

10.29.2012 | 10:22 am

A Note from Fatty: This is part of my race report for the the 2012 Breck Epic. My writeups for all parts of this story can be found here:

I had been thinking the whole day. Wondering. Searching the trail. Looking for answers.

Finally, I could hold back no longer. I had to speak.

“I have a question,” I said to The Hammer. “We haven’t seen a single snake in five days of racing. Not a single one. Why not?”

“I don’t know,” said The Hammer. “Let’s just be glad we haven’t seen any.”

“But I like snakes,” I said. “It always makes me happy when I’m mountain biking and I see a snake.”

“Snakes are horrible. And this ain’t no time for jibber-jabber,” replied The Hammer.

But she didn’t mean it. We both knew this was exactly the time for jibber-jabber. And so I talked, endlessly, about my theories for why there were no snakes (most revolving around altitude and short summers, none of them based on any actual knowledge of snakes).

Why was I happy? Why was I talking again? Well, lots of reasons. First, our fatigue had stabilized: we weren’t any more tired at the beginning of this, our fifth day of racing, than we were at the beginning of our fourth day of racing.

This meant that we — on our fifth day of racing — were really no more exhausted than the people who had not raced Leadville. We no longer felt like we were on uneven footing with other racers; we were all in the same boat, known as “The Good Ship Breck Epic.”

More importantly than any of that, though, was the fact that the sun was out, the trail was beautiful, and my knee was getting better.

It had taken a rough few days, but I had gotten through the far end of my tunnel of misery. I was happy to be on my bike again.

Little Things Become Big Things

After racing for so many days, we had begun feeling a strange sense of permanence. Like getting up and racing the whole day was what we had always done. What we would always do. We started to feel at home.

We noticed something great about our “neighborhood” (the course): it was brilliantly marked. Every day, for six days, we raced a different singletrack course — forty miles or so of it. And every day, we had absolutely no trouble whatsoever staying on course. We never got lost. We never even got to a point where we were unsure.

For six solid days of racing, in spite of increasing exhaustion and decreasing lucidity, we knew exactly where we were supposed to go.

Think about that for a second. That is a serious accomplishment, and one that I made absolutely sure to compliment the Breck Epic organizers on, often and profusely.

The next thing that The Hammer and I came to love were the aid stations. See, the same people were working the aid stations for the whole week, which meant that if you were actually stopping at the aid stations, you had a chance to hobnob with some of the same people a few times over the course of the week.

And you started to look forward to pulling into aid stations not just for the opportunity to get an orange wedge and to rest your legs, but to say “hi” to these people who were starting to become your race friends.

The Hammer and I might have gotten to know some of the aid station volunteers a little better than other racers did, because we didn’t just grab and dash. The Hammer, in fact, would pull out the bag, dole out our sandwich, chips, and Coke — yes, really — and then sit down on the ground to eat. (I would remain standing, because I didn’t trust my knee enough to sit down; I was worried if it stiffened up while I was sitting, I’d be unable to get back up.)

One of the volunteers — the father of another racer (whose name is Montana, but that’s all I know about him) — became a particular favorite of ours. He laughed at how, unlike a lot of the racers, we would settle in and have a picnic. He’d come over and talk with us for a while, happy to see us pull up.

One time, I had an extra Coke in our drop bag, which I offered to him. He seemed astonished and delighted, accepting it with pleasure. We stood around, drinking Coke and talking about what a beautiful place Breckenridge was and how much we were enjoying the week.

This remains one of my stand-out favorite moments of the entire race.

The Climber

Another good thing about this fifth day of racing is that with my knee feeling better and my power returning, we were able to assert ourselves on the climbs. Because — and I say this with all the humility I can muster — The Hammer and I are pretty fantastic climbers.

We’d reach a steep pitch and see others rolling to it, dismounting, and start walking. I’d turn to look at The Hammer, my eyebrows raised. She knew what my question was without my even asking it.

“Are we walking this?”

And I’d know her answer by the fact that she’d shift into a small gear and keep pedaling. I’d ride behind her, mostly because I never ever get tired of the look on guys’ faces as they — off their bikes and pushing — would turn to see who was cleaning the current monster of a climb, just to realize they’d been chicked.

“That’s why she’s called The Hammer,” I’d explain.

With an extraordinary 7433 feet of climbing in 46 miles, The Hammer had plenty of opportunities to demonstrate this capability, once cleaning a brutal, never-ending 23% climb.

Existential Riding

It was on day four of the Breck Epic that we finally learned to just ride.

Up until this point, we had worried every day about the length of the day’s course. Where aid stations were located. Where the big climbs were. Where the big descents were.

And without exception, things had worked out differently than we expected. See, when you’re depending and focused on an aid station being at mile 10, then things seem seriously wrong if you don’t have an aid station ’til mile 13. If you expect the length of the course to be 40 miles, miles 41 – 46 can be pretty lousy.

If, however, you are riding with the expectation that every so often — every ten miles or so, say — there will be an aid station, you just accept the aid station when you get to it.

Likewise, if you tell yourself that the race isn’t over until you cross the finish line — nor should you expect it to be over, ever — you don’t spend anywhere near as much time staring at your GPS, wondering when will this damned stage ever end?

Hey, it ends when it ends. Until then, enjoy riding while it lasts.

It’s a philosophy that might even have some non-race application.

Free Verse Friday: Suspended!

10.26.2012 | 10:22 am

A Note From Fatty: Readers, I am sorry to inform you that Free Verse Friday has been suspended today, due to non-compliance with the strict no-rhymes policy enforced throughout this blog.

Specifically, the 05 October 2012 edition of Free Verse Friday rhymed the words “sated” and “unabated,” a clear violation of Free Verse as defined by the administrators of

Since this unfortunate circumstance has only been recently brought to our attention, we are still collating and tabulating data, searching our hearts, and otherwise trying to decide what to do. We shall formulate an opinion once we know which way the wind blows and and render our verdict in an extraordinary meeting at a time to either be announced shortly or some other time.

Thank you.

UPDATE: It has come to our attention that the 05 October 2012 edition of Free Verse Friday, as currently published in this blog, is not in fact the Free Verse poem as originally published. By using high-tech Internet archiving software, we have uncovered that the original stanza in question read as follows:


This stands in glaring contrast to the verse as it is now published:


It is quite clear that the word “unabated” was added to the Free Verse after the poem had been published and subsequently forgotten.

By whom? And for what reason? We do not know yet why anyone would want to sabotage something as beautiful and innocent as Free Verse Friday.

But we intend to find out.

Stay tuned for further updates.

UPDATE 2: As management reviews past editions of Free Verse Friday, it becomes apparent that the Fat Cyclist (hereafter referred to as “The Defendant”) is not the only person who has clearly and substantially violated the regulations clearly stated for Free Verse Friday.

Indeed, a close review of poetry written for any given issue of Free Verse Friday between the months of whenever it started (management of is currently not all that interested in figuring that out) and now, clearly demonstrates that a majority of the poems rhyme.

Clearly, this problem is more widespread than originally understood, and many important questions come to mind:

  • Were commenters who rhymed in their poetry coerced to do so by The Defendant?
  • Why did some commenters rhyme in some poems, but not in others?
  • Why is almost all of the poetry so excruciatingly bad?
  • Is there any poetry that’s good?
  • Does anybody really know what time it is?
  • Does anybody really care?

The management of recognizes that these revelations are rocking both the world of poets and the fans of famous, award-winning cycling bloggers. Unfortunately, they (i.e., we) don’t care very much, because it’s lunchtime.

Stay tuned for even more updates. There may or may not be any updates coming, but go ahead and stay tuned for them anyway.

Breck Epic Day 3: I Quit. Briefly.

10.24.2012 | 2:47 pm

A Note from Fatty: If you care about cycling, you probably read Red Kite Prayer. The creator and honcho behind RKP, Patrick Brady (aka Padraig) is one of the nicest, fairest, and conscientious cycling journalists you could ever meet.

Well, Patrick had a very serious crash recently, and could use some help on his medical bills. Over at Red Kite Prayer, they’re asking people to donate $5 to help Patrick. I’d like Team Fatty to show solidarity with RKP and Patrick. Please go over to his site and help him out, or — if you’re the impatient type — simply click the donate button below:

Update: I’m very happy to say that thanks to everyone’s generosity, the fundraiser for Patrick has raised the money he needs. I’ve removed the donation button and links here, and they’ve removed them at Red Kite Prayer, too.

Thank you everyone for being so incredibly caring.

A Note from Fatty: This is part of my race report for the the 2012 Breck Epic. My writeups for all parts of this story can be found here:

It was still raining, and I didn’t want to ride anymore. I had raced for three days, my stomach felt horrible, my knee hurt acutely with every turn of the cranks, and I was just purely miserable.

I wanted out.

So, following the awards ceremony after the second stage of the Breck Epic, I limped up to the race director, Mike McCormack and said, without looking in him in the eyes, “I don’t think I can do this.”

“You do look pretty tired,” said Mike, sympathetically.

“I think I’m going to have to bow our team out,” I said, doing my very best to sound like it wasn’t a decision I was making, but something that had been — alas — forced upon me.

“Why don’t you just take tomorrow off?” Mike replied. “Just take one day to recover, and then come back and finish the week strong.”

“We could do that?” I asked? “If I need to skip a day, we could still do the rest of the race?”

“Sure. You’d be in the ‘recreational’ category, but we want you to see as much of the Breck Epic as you can handle.”

Decision Made by Metal

As we drove back to our condo, I told The Hammer what Mike had told me. Then I said, “Let’s take tomorrow off, OK?”

The Hammer thought for a minute. Then she said, “Look, if you need to take the day off because you can’t ride because your knee hurts too bad, that’s fine. That’s not even a question. But if you want to take the day off because you’re just tired and burned out on racing, that’s different.”

“And besides,” said The Hammer, “I really want those finisher’s buckles.”

“Let’s go home and ice my knee some more, then,” I said.

Settling Into a Routine

By the third day of the Breck Epic, The Hammer and I had a daily routine pretty much figured out. Here it is, in all its glorious, glamorous glory:

  • Get up: This was always easy. For one thing, both The Hammer and I are morning people. As in, for us, “sleeping in” means getting up at 6:30. For this race, we’d get up every morning before 6:00. We set an alarm clock every day, but were always up before it went off.
  • Get breakfast: Scrambled egg burritos with onions, mushrooms, and bacon. I don’t think either of us ever ate the entire burrito.
  • Poop: The Hammer would do this while I worked on making breakfast.
  • Work on bikes: I’d go down to the garage and clean and lube the bikes, as well as make sure we had air in the tires. That’s pretty much all I know how to do. Luckily, that was usually enough.
  • Put together drop bags: While I got the bikes ready, the Hammer would put together our drop bags for the day, which would include rain clothing, sandwiches, a vast array of Honey Stinger products, and salted nut rolls.
  • Take drop bags: The Hammer drove the drop bags to race HQ about an hour before the race start. While she did this, I would…
  • Poop: Oh yes, I’ll go into detail on that, shall I? No? OK.
  • Suit up: We always took care to wear matching outfits. Yes, we actually did. With about seven versions of the Fat Cyclist kit available to us, we got to look stylishly similar every single day.
  • Take Advil: And hope it kicked in before the race began.
  • Go to start line: One of the many things we liked about the Breck Epic is that we could ride our bikes from our condo in town to the start line of the stage. There were a total of three different places the race started from, but none of them were difficult to get to; none of them required loading up the bikes and driving.
  • Race: I’ll get to that in a bit.
  • Come home: Immediately upon crossing the finish line — usually without even slowing dow, much less getting off our bikes — ride back to the condo.
  • Clean up: The Hammer gets to shower first, then I get a turn. Because I am a gentleman, that’s why. It’s not a problem, though, thanks to the seemingly endless supply of hot water our condo has.
  • Eat – or try to eat: After racing, we’d try to have lunch / dinner. But neither of us would feel like eating very much. The irony that we — two people who love to eat, nonstop — were not able to eat during the entirety of a week where it was absolutely OK and even encouraged to eat as much as we could, was not lost on us. But we didn’t find that irony very funny.
  • Take Advil: ‘Cuz it’s been long enough since I’ve had a dose now, right?
  • Ice my knee: I wonder how much ice I went through that week?
  • Watch Judge Judy: Really. After a hard day racing, there’s nothing quite like watching a cranky old lady dish out judgment.
  • Poop: Yeah, again. Our stomachs were completely insane.
  • Do laundry: Pretty much a load every day.
  • Go get drop bags, attend awards / pre-race meeting: There was an awards ceremony after each stage. We went, but after the first day didn’t ever go stand on the podium again. We felt silly, standing on the third-out-of-three place on the podium, though I guess there was something to be said for the fact that at least we kept showing up and kept making it through the day.
  • Go grocery shopping: We’d always need something, in spite of the fact that we weren’t great at eating any of it.
  • Try to eat: Sometimes we’d got out, more often we’d just make a sandwich.
  • Bed: Typically by 9pm.

It makes for a surprisingly busy day, in strong contrast to the vision I had of the week of racing I had in my head before we got there, which had I pictured as:

  • Race
  • Eat
  • Hang out and lounge around tthe town, enjoying the sites for three or four hours
  • Eat some more
  • Bed

Day 3

So you’ve probably figured it out by now, but yeah. By the time the third day of the race rolled around, I had agreed — a little bit reluctantly, a little bit sheepishly — to keep going.

And I was so glad I did.

For one thing, my knee started feeling better. I don’t know how or why, but it did. I could ride again, with some power even.

And the weather was good again. In fact, it was beautiful. Astonishingly, the trail was good too; I don’t know how that was possible, considering the extraordinary amount of rain that had fallen the day before, but it was true.

And with that, my entire perspective of the race changed. I started having fun. I started enjoying the climbs. I started looking around and thinking about the remarkable fact that I was riding — for six days straight — in some of the most incredible singletrack I had ever seen.

And I got a chance to interview Rich Dillen — a famous (though not nearly as famous as I am) cycling blogger:

I am such a fine journalist.

What I really should have got video of, though, was the fact that The Hammer and I actually caught and passed one of the other coed team — Team Bliss — during the climb up to French Pass.

So, briefly, we had a chance at moving up a spot on the podium, and on a day when there was a reasonable chance that my knee would bend well enough for me to step up onto that podium.

Alas, Team Bliss blew by us as soon as the climb turned into a descent. We never had a chance, really.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, because the second-most awesome thing of the entire Breck Epic happened at the summit of French Pass:

Endurance MTB god Jeff Kerkove was there, doing a Skittles handup for racers, at 12,000 feet.


Yep, that’s right. One of my MTB heroes was hanging out at 12,000 feet with a big bag of Skittles (The Hammer and I show up about 6:15 into Jeff’s video), pouring them into racers’ outstretched hands.

They were the best Skittles ever.

Climb and climb and climb and descend and descend and descend.

From French Pass forward, the day was just amazing. Lots and lots and lots of climbing, followed by — more than once — half an hour or more of singletrack descending. Forested, rooty, rocky stuff. Sometimes flowing, sometimes so technical that I had to get off my bike (at which point the downhill artists would blow right by me).

By the end of the day, we had done 40 miles of riding, and about 6800 feet of climbing.

We crossed the finish line in the same place and about the same time as the previous day.

This time, though, we were talking about what a great day we had. And how wonderful it was to not be hypothermic.

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