Breck Epic 2011
Marty Halprin and I just completed the 2011 Breck Epic with a good ride on Stage 6 and I thought I'd take the time to write a little about the event before we head off to the infamous Stage 7 which is the name for the post race awards banquet and party. Today's stage was 60 kms with 6200 ft of climbing. It included 2 climbs over Boreus Pass ( 11,500) from the north and then a return pass from the south. After yesterdays death march over 12,500 ft this seemed easy.
Anyone looking for a fun well run event would be well to consider this race for a number of reasons:
The day had some of the nicest singletrack we'v e experienced all week and was a perfect way to end a terrific week. We saw a number of the same riders we've seen all week but were actually a number of places further up in the field than most days. All in all it was a great way to end. We remained 4 th in the 100+ category but at last night's awards race organizer Mike acknowledged us as being far ahead in the 120+ category. In a funny twist, we would have finished 2 of the last 3 days in third in the 80+ category and were ahead of the third place Italians yesterday as well until my tire problems.
Central start each day - I guess at 63 the allure of racing all day and then trying to sleep on rocky ground in a tent is lost on me. We stayed in a really comfortable time- share that was a 5 minute glide to the start line each day. We could literally be lying down resting till 20 minutes until the start. We signed on for the dinner plan and the food was well planned and as much as you wanted every night. For those younger than myself, they do offer a tenting option with breakfast and dinner as part of the package.
Courses- we did find ourselves on the same trails several times including two days with a early morning wakeup climb up the aptly named "heinous hill" but the trails are de3signed to be ridden in either direction so we often found ourselves descending some trail we'd climbed previously. All in all the variety and quality of the trails was outstanding. A huge amount of time and effort has gone into developing this trail network and as one who has spent a lot of time on trail work myself, I really appreciate the level of commitment.
3 or 6 days - we did the 6 day race but there is also the option of doing 3 days, those being days 2 through 4. Those are the 3 toughest days, so it's certainly not taking the easy way out but it might fit some people's time commitments better.
Scenery - this seems like a strange one to mention but it truly was spectacular. I've really got to get a better setup for my camera ( I had it in the back pocket of my jersey which was awkward ) as there were so many picture moments out there. Day 5's ride over the continental divide at 12,460 feet made us feel like we were on top of the world with glorious vista's in every direction.
People-People-People - I wrote that 3 times as that was far and away the best part of this race. From Mike and his crew and the wonderful volunteers at the aid stations we saw nothing but smiling faces full of encouragement. The race is big enough yet small enough that it felt like you were friends with all the other racers by the end. Marty and I met and spent time with the Dead Goat Racing crew from Calgary and they are all terrific. Another group from Minnesota included an Arrowhead Acquaintance as well as Molly who is an mother of three and was planning her ten year old's birthday party for when she got home. The guys from Italy were about the same speed as us and we spent many hours near each other on the trail. We also had a lot of ride time with Boomer from Mississippi and he was a pleasure to be around. There were so many other friendly riders that I can't say I've ever felt a better vibe at a race.
That about sums it up. I do want to say that it was a pleasure to share this experience with my friend Marty. We' ve been racing in Manitoba together for well over forty years and this is the first time we've hooked up on something like this.
Now we're off to the Stage 7 event. I want my wife Lynne to know that it is walking distance so she needn't worry.