Highlights and Bloopers From The Breckenridge 100 Mountain Bike Race

I picked myself up quickly, pedaled hard for a few strokes to gain some speed, and promptly clipped a pedal on a rock and flew over my handlebars – over the exposed edge of the trail – into a thicket of willows. It was like landing on a mattress! I peered over the edge of the willows and said a little prayer to the Goddess of Mountain Biking – it was steep!

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When Artec and Bender catch me taking mountain bike racing too seriously, they are quick to remind me it’s not worth giving up the important things in life like beer. They offer up support in the form of sloppy kisses, but when it comes down to it, they are both more interested in having fun with me than watching me win. So here’s a recap of all the ridiculous moments – some awesome and some downright silly – from our trip to Colorado for the Breckenridge 100.

Boreas Pass Hike
We spent an extra day in Breckenridge playing around at Boreas Pass.
  1. The night before the race, I put my contact case (with my contacts in it) on a ledge of metal paneling in the van and it slipped into a hole never to be seen again. I spent the next hour first trying to figure out what metal chute the case had slid down, and then rummaging around the van naked and squinting (I’m almost legally blind) looking for a spare pair of contacts.
  2. During the race, the fresh set of contacts I found in the van worked great, but my sunglasses were so foggy I missed an obvious turn at the top of the first climb. I was frustrated at the start of the race because I didn’t feel prepared (this feeling was exasperated by the late night looking for my contacts, no doubt) so I focused hard on a mantra in order to shut out everything else around me. It turns out I focused too hard. I saw Marlee Dixon cut right on a switchback in front of me. I threw down a surge in order to close the gap. I repeated my mantra, steadily increasing my power and straining my eyes through my fogged sunglasses not wanting to hit a loose rock and come off my bike. I wondered, for a second, why the road wasn’t cutting to the right the way it seemed like it would when I last glanced at Marlee. Through my foggy glasses, I saw figures in the distance so I kept surging, I kept repeating my mantra. Marlee must have made her move, I told myself. But the direction of the road just wasn’t adding up, so I took off my sunglasses. The people in the distance were hikers. I glanced frantically around. I was alone. No bike tire tracks in site. I fiddled with my Garmin for a minute and then pedaled back down the way I’d come. Five minutes later, I saw racers turning onto some hidden singletrack with a tiny arrow next to it. Larissa Connors, who took first place, told me later she rode without her glasses all day because they were foggy. She squinted for ten hours straight as mud flew up into her eyes. Maybe I’ll do that next time.

    Good morning Guinness van
    It was difficult to find my spare contacts because the Guinness van was messy.
  3. Frustrated by my wrong turn, I tried making up time on the slippery singletrack. This, of course, led to three nasty crashes. On the first one, I looked right at a patch of mud on the outside corner of a turn on the trail. I thought, “Oh, the poor dude who hit that probably ate shit as his bike cut out from underneath him.” Then, because I was looking right at the patch of mud, I hit it as I was laying into the corner, and that’s exactly what happened to me. I picked myself up quickly, pedaled hard for a few strokes to gain some speed, and promptly clipped a pedal on a rock and flew over my handlebars – over the exposed edge of the trail – into a thicket of willows. It was like landing on a mattress! I peered over the edge of the willows and said a little prayer to the Goddess of Mountain Biking – it was steep! I would have been pretty messed up if the willows hadn’t caught me. The third crash happened an hour later on a punchy little climb, as I was carrying my speed up it, my rear tire cut out from underneath me on a root. I landed on my right arm on another root. Any harder and I’m pretty sure I would have broken my arm. After that, I stopped racing the singletrack and just focused on surviving.
  4. The night before the race, before the metal paneling in the van ate my contact case, we dropped Bender off at his Rover.com sitter for the night. I gave his sitter my race bag instead of his food. Luckily, she realized it within the hour and texted me before we were up in our campsite without cell service.
  5. I peed myself during the race. I also peed myself while pumping gas last week. I need to make a lady doctor appointment about this. Smelling like pee for eight hours is embarrassing. I was hoping the rain would wash it away, but it didn’t.

    Breckenridge 100 Women's Podium
    Not my finest performance, but I’ll take another second to Larissa Connors.
  6. The Breck 100 course does three loops. At the end of the first loop, as I pedaled into the area above the exchange, two women were standing in the middle of an intersection blocking the trail and wondering out loud which direction they were supposed to go. They were in a different race than me. They were in my way. Confused once again, I rode down to the exchange area and my stash of Tailwind, Honey Stinger Waffles, and chain lube. As I was sorting through my stuff, the woman who ended up third looped through the finish area. This forced me to ask around about the correct way to ride into the exchange area, and eventually, I was told I needed to go back up to the intersection where the confused women were standing and ride around the tennis courts and under the finish line banner into the exchange tent. So I did.

    Artec on the Breckenridge 100 podium
    Artec was 2nd in his age group – awards were over when he finished, but 3rd place still hadn’t finished!
  7. I had a bad race, but Artec was 1.5 hours slower. After inhaling two slices of pizza and two pulled pork tacos, and after awards (I managed to pull off second place to Larissa Connors), he still hadn’t finished. I was late to pick up Bender from his Rover.com date, so I left Artec. He ended up second in his age group. The race officials felt so bad for him for finishing without anyone waiting for him at the finish line they gave him an entire pizza and a plate of green chili pork.
  8. After the race, we camped at Boreas Pass with a moose. Bender spent the evening sniffing in the willows at it, but he was too short to ever see it or realize what it was. I was glad of that. Moose don’t like dogs.
  9. At the Rico hot springs on the way home, two people with mountain bikes on the back of their truck rolled up after we did. They took one look at the creepy Guinness van parked in front of the creepy little shack at the entrance to the hot springs and bolted. We had the hot springs to ourselves!
  10. The day after the race, Artec and I went on a recovery spin with Larissa Connors. We got to hear a lot about life as a full-time professional cross-country racer – including the rampant eating disorders among the women. We also learned they don’t drink beer. This floored Artec. As he was trying to put it all together later that evening, I cracked open an IPA and said I told you so. 

2 comments on “Highlights and Bloopers From The Breckenridge 100 Mountain Bike Race”

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