I ran into a pine tree today at 30mph. Aside from that bit of misfortune, stage two was better than stage one.
This morning’s start was a pleasant 50 degrees. We crowded into some little side street in downtown Breck, stood around making fun of each other, and then pedaled up a paved road. After finishing 6th SS in the first stage, I wanted to ride a little smarter. I sat on Dejay Birch’s wheel as we rode up the mountain.
Rich Dillen, the single speed class’s stage one DFL, wedged himself in-between Dejay and I. “Going for the win today Dicky?” I asked.
“Yeah. Now nobody will expect it.” He dropped back and I didn’t see him again until dinner.
We hit a dirt road and I went a little harder to try to catch up with points leader Evan Plews. I failed. The road pitched up and I got off my bike to hike.
I started walking fast. My new strategy was to acknowledge the mountain’s superior steepness before my legs blew up. I would get off and walk as soon as I started to get tired. My hiking pace was close to the geared guy’s riding pace.
On the first downhill, I passed Garth Prosser again. I was riding around the same people as yesterday. I settled into a nice pace on the buff Colorado Trail. Evan was out of sight ahead of me, and Dejay was somewhere behind.
After the first aid station, the trail started to twist up the mountain. 25 minutes into the climb, I hit a clearing and rejoiced. My Pennsylvania brain knew the climb had to almost be over. I asked one of the guys behind me how far we had to go. “Oh, we’re a little over halfway.” he said.
I cursed, then got off my bike. He went around me. The climb went on forever. I alternated hiking and riding. Dejay caught me right before the downhill.
We started ripping down the mountain, and I held on about a hundred feet back from Dejay. The trial was covered in loose kitty litter dust. Every few minutes, a tight switchback would pop up. I had to slam on my brakes, fall over the two foot drop that came before every corner, then try to make the turn without slipping down the hillside.
I was watching Dejay when we ripped into a clearing. He yelled, then turned into a big puff of dust. I rode passed and saw him lying in the grass wrapped up in his bike.
The downhill kept going. I blasted around a few more corners, then hit a rutted section of trail at full speed. There was a little pine to my left. “You better not hit that damn pine tree.” I said aloud.
I swerved right to avoid it, my front wheel broke loose, and I cartwheeled over the bars into the conifer. Dejay blew by. “Sorry dude. It’s contagious.”
The trail leveled out for a while, but I was starting to feel spent. I caught back up to Dejay, but on the next climb he pulled away. I got off my bike and hiked. My right ass cheek was killing me. I must have landed on a rock after I bounced off the tree.
I climbed up a mountain all alone, then rolled down the hill into the last aid station. After the aid was a paved road up the final hill of the day. I could see Breck off to my right, but the course kept pointing uphill and away from town.
It kept going uphill. Then it turned to dirt. Every few hundred feet there was a little tease of a descent. “Oh man, this has gotta be the last downhill.” I said every time. But it never was. I couldn’t see town anymore. I started loosing my mind.
Finally I hit a long and fast section of single track. There was a sharp turn at the bottom that led into a fun and flowing section. Suddenly the finish line appeared. I rolled through and smiled. Apparently the finish wasn’t in town. Guess I need to pay more attention to the pre-race meetings.
I finished 3rd SS, which bumped me into 4th for
the GC. I hate to change my gear, but 38X20 is too big for Breck. Rocky Mountains, you win. I’m gearing down for stage three.
Montana Miller is a single speeder from the hills of Western Pennsylvania. He thinks that riding in Colorado would be a lot more fun if the mountains were smaller and made of waffle crumbs. More of his literary drivel can be found on knobbymeats.blogspot.com.