Leadville Bike Setup: Scott Scale Rock Shox SID 90 psi, Maxxis Pace 1.95 TR 30 psi front/rear. Eagle 38 50/10 Icefriction coated chain, Zipp modified aero bars, Scott road shoes, Look road pedals.
Breck Epic Bike Setup: Scott Spark, Rock Shox SID 90 psi, rear suspension 135 psi, Maxxis Ikon 2.0 EXO TR 24psi front, 25psi rear, Eagle 34 50/10 Icefriction chain CB eggbeater pedals
The Leadville/Breck Epic is a tough 7 days of racing. I’ve done it 3 times now and it doesn’t get any easier. That said it’s an awesome week where things are really simple, race, eat recover, repeat.
I didn’t know what to expect going into Leadville. This hasn’t been my best season and I only had 3 weeks to get ready for LV between Nats instead of my normal 4. I ended up getting sick, missing some big days of training, not sleeping in my altitude tent much and not getting near my target weight. So I basically went in with no expectations and just hoping not to get dropped on the first climb.
In that sense the day was awesome, I made it all the way back to Powerline with Howie but couldn’t hold on for the climb up. I didn’t explode like years past trying to follow Alban and Susi but I just couldn’t match the pace. I came in around 3 minutes down but nearly a minute faster then last year. That’s crazy because my build up was so messed up and I wasn’t nearly as worked at the end as last year. Sometimes racing is hard to figure out. I was happy with my result but didn’t have much time to enjoy it, we headed back to Copper, ate dinner and then I was off to Breckenridge to start the Epic on Sunday.
People always ask me how I can race Leadville and then go straight to Breck. It’s tough but we watch the guys at the Tour do that for 3 weeks in a row, sometimes multiple GTs per year so I figure one week on the MTB isn’t so bad. Those guys don’t have 6:30 and 8:30 am starts though, that’s the worst part plus the fact we’re at 10,000 ft so there’s no air and it’s freezing.
I was a little tired lining up in Breck on Sunday after Leadville but at least a few of us were in the same boat. It’s normally blue bird in the morning during the Epic so even though it’s only 45 degrees the sunshine makes it feel much warmer.
The BE started well and I managed to snag the jersey on the first day. I rode most of the day with Howie and Bishop. JB and I got away from Howie towards the end I managed to gain some time. The rest of the week it would be a similar group most of the day with Kabush finding his legs after a few days and gaining some time. Howie and I traded the leader’s jersey every day and he ended up crushing the last day and overcoming the 2:30 lead I had on him to win the overall by nearly 2 minutes.
I managed to ride that skinny bridge plank in the picture heading into the feezone one day. Normally I run that questionable stuff at the BE but this year the racing was so intense I had to take as many risks as I could. I think every stage we did was somewhere between 5 and 15 minutes faster then last year to give you an idea how hard the race was. If I was a little off one day I would lose a minute or two. If I was good I might gain a minute or two, we were all so close. Over the 7 days I think we did 12,000 ft of climbing at LV and around 40,000 at Breck, that’s over 50,000 ft of climbing between 10,000-13,000 ft. Not a bad amount of vertical but the downhill never seems to make up for all that uphill.) I would recommend both races to put on your bucket list if you love mountain biking. They are very different but both incredible events.
It feels nice to be back in Durango where the air is relatively thick (6,500) and it’s still summer time. I’ll have some recovery this week before heading down to Nogales for:
I’m hoping the form gets a bump after this block of racing and my acclimation holds on because after Mexico it’s back to the thin air for my first crack at the Park City Point to Point.
I wonder what Coop is going to think of Porter and Double D’s pump tracks….