There’s nothing wrong with a last minute decision, especially one that leaves you smiling all day. That’s what the B32 race was for half the racers who participated in it. Race Director, Thane Wright asked the question of last-minute-decision-makers and hands went up all around me. I was in good company at Sunday’s Breckenridge 100. The B32 version.
This race was nothing I was prepping for and everything I could ask. Loop 2 of the B100 was the B32 course and arguably the most fun of the three loops. It had challenging climbs, ripping single track descents, extremely good support, exceptional course marking and a mass of racers competing in all levels and distances.
I raced single speed which is a new endeavor for me. The
As I said, I’m a new single speeder, but no stranger to Colorado mountain bike racing. I set my sights on pushing my own abilities and I let the trail sweep me along. I was focused on holding my smile as I held my line. It made for a terrific day of racing.competition between three of us was top notch and there was no time for taking it easy. This short course was guns blazing and the need to leave nothing for a second lap. The experience was also unique because many on the same course had been racing since 6am and boy was our respect high for those racers.
We B32-ers had a comfortable mid-morning 10:30am start from the Ice Skating Arena in Breckenridge. The electricity of pre-race was in the air and the bumble bees were buzzing wildly in my stomach. I hate waiting. I love getting that first climb out of the way so I can settle in. The B68 crew departed fifteen minutes in front of us and that put everyone on course from the grueling 100 milers to we one-lappers.
A neutral rollout pulled us neatly out of the parking lot we were packed into and strung us up the initial road climb. Gears clicking, knobby tires humming, deep breathing, occasional conversations, cowbells and tiny hands clapping along the climb. We entered the flat dirt road traverse in less of a thick pack and then balled up again on the next climb. The trail was nice and tacky from the rain on Saturday making for perfect conditions.
I powered my way through the thick rocky side of the fire road and pulled ahead of several riders, including one of the other single speed women who was hammering up and over to the fire road descent. I found out after the race that she was on a 26” rigid single speed. She easily took the hardcore award!
The dreaded Little French Gulch climb was so early in this lap that it was far more manageable than when many of us did it the week before in the FireCracker 50. I kept my wits about me and climbed much higher
before getting off and hiking. Chasing and being chased was huge motivation. I was sandwiched between racers and fully aware that anything could happen in a backcountry bike race.
Hundreds of us ripped trail for the next three hours. We rode nose to tail like pack horses up the Colorado Trail climb. Everyone was cordial, breathing heavy and cordial. Passing and being passed was smooth and there was lots of it happening throughout the entire lap.
The descents were so fun it was maddening! It was hard not to laugh. I felt such a thrill and flow. And honestly it seemed like no time before we were making our way through the final mellow climb back into Breckenridge where the venue and supporters awaited.
Sounds uneventful as racing goes, but truth be told there was a level of success in keeping the drama to a minimum. No mechanicals, no flats, a couple of close calls, but no crashes.
I rolled across the finish line with nothing left in my legs or chest. It felt so satisfying to leave it all out on the course where it belonged. No regrets of not trying hard enough. A fast girl in front of me and a fast one behind me. Hundreds of other men and women hammering out the climbs and screaming down the descents. Just good ol’ Colorado mountain bike racing at its best!
Over the next couple of hours B100 and B68 finishers trickled in. It was a celebration as they each finished. Announcer, Larry Grossman, did a profoundly great job of welcoming them each home after a long day in the saddle. Lots of Oskar Blues cans later and I think it’s safte to say everyone was having a hellofa’ day. Another reason living and racing in Colorado does not suck!