13′s a wrap, put a bow on it

This year felt like a time warp, my race season is over and it felt as if It just started.  Since the Breck Epic, Steamboat Stinger & 24 Hours in the Sage solo race from August 11-25th I took some time off the bike, went to my favorite town in the mountains with my wife and have been periodically brainstorming on how to wrap up this past 12 months in words.

I rewind my brain back almost exactly one year ago myself and teammate Macky Franklin were hard at work trying to organize a new mountain bike racing team, in the early stages it was us and another male rider, we went into Interbike with sponsorship and team partner proposals in hand, our pitch was that we were different and planned to interact with our audience in a way that most teams don’t.  Without boring you to sleep in the first 37 seconds of reading this, It was a successful trip as we came away from it with a solid start, a bright future and lot’s more work to do.  The next three months were frustrating because we had it all in place with the exception of a bike to ride and during this time we lost the third member of our plan to another team.  Worst case scenario… we ride the beginning of the year on the bikes we had, best case scenario we land a bike deal when along comes Pivot Cycles out of Tempe, Arizona,  Pivot understood our vision, took a chance on us and allowed Macky and I to move forward in a uniform direction.   Right about this same time we were fortunate to add Karen Jarchow to the team, She is a relatively new pro who brings lots of potential so we were both pumped to add her to the roster and work on getting everything else finalized before the race season began.

Before I talk about the season I first have to thank everyone who supported me as an Individual and our team, without them there would be no racing, nothing great to write about, no road trip stories and so on.  Traveling and racing on a competitive bicycle takes time, effort and money & if it weren’t for the following none of us could be afforded the luxury of doing what we love to do the most, So thank you

Santa Fe Brewing  - Pivot CyclesOld Town Bike Shop –  ShimanoPrimal Wear –  Ergon Bike ErgonomicsPoc SportsSmith OpticsHoney StingerGeax - NorthwaveXpedoClean BottleRyno PowerX-FusionTrinity Motors of Colorado SpringsColorado StructuresChief Petroleum –  My entire family, my awesome massage lady Amy for keeping my pistons loose & all my friends and local supporters who make me feel like I’m a world champion even when we all know that’s not even close to the case.

I chose to race this season on a Mach 429 carbon which is a full suspension 29 inch wheeled do it all machine that climbs like a goat and descends like a banshee.  After riding it for two weeks I came to the conclusion that it was the first bike i’d ever ridden that I felt made me a better rider & going into every training ride and race with that confidence proved to be key in my results this season.  Add in the fact that the only thing I had to do maintenance wise all season was change tires, make a few minor drive train adjustments and true a couple wheels,  not once did a bolt come loose, the linkage make a squeak or I have a single dnf (did not finish) due to the bike.  Now like most season’s I did have my ups and downs but it ended up on a very positive note and I’m already mapping out what types of events and exact races I want to focus on not only next year but all the way through 2016… eeek, when I turn 40!

Breck Epic

So on to the season…At the start of the year I planned to ride several enduro’s, a couple 50 mile events as a duo, a 6 day stage race and a 24 hour solo effort.

Race #1 May 4thEnduro CupMoab, Utah. Held at the magnificent 7 trail system.  Leaving town for the first time to go bike racing is always an exciting day & this time I had company in the form of a buddy who was coming along to ride the great trails in the area but not race.  We left Friday morning and made it into Moab by mid day, got checked in for the race and grabbed a quick pre ride before the evening riders meeting.  That was the last part of the weekend that went smoothly, late afternoon Friday I got a call that my Dad had broken his leg and was going into surgery, then woke up on race morning to the news of a family tragedy , so needless to say my head was in a complete spin and I mentally made the decision to ride the race, but to do just that “ride” and not race.  I went to the start line with all kinds of thoughts flowing in and out of my head, wondering how my family was doing & feeling thankful that I was in a beautiful place riding my bike and made the best of the day… End of story I finished 34th in the Open/Pro Class.

Race #2 May 11th – Eagle Outside Festival  - Eagle, Colorado. This was a late addition to my schedule which I chose to race in primarily due to the event promoter who was none other than Breck Epic mastermind Mike McCormack.  With an exciting weekend of events ahead I took off out-of-town on Friday afternoon, shagged a cheap room in Eagle, participated in a few of the pre race festivities ( ya know craft beer & music in the street etc..) then went back to the room to relaxed and prepared for Saturday’s 22 mile Cross Country race. The next morning I went out for a “pre-ride” to explore some of the local trails that I had heard about… they were so good and the morning so beautiful that I rode nearly 20 miles.   I started out the race slow and my legs felt like drift wood, then little by little they opened up as I made a few moves in the last 8-10 miles to finish 4th on the day.

Race #3 – June 15-16thBig Mountain EnduroAngel Fire, New Mexico - This Race never went down for me,  Black Forest – The area that I spent a good amount of my childhood, where I learned to ride and crash dirt bikes and bicycles, a place where many of my friends or friends parents still live caught fire just a few days before Angel Fire & I felt it was way more important to stay local and help in any way possible than to go off racing.

Race #4 – June 29-30th – Big Mountain Enduro – Crested Butte, Colorado - I had been looking forward to this weekend for quite a while, not only because it is in my favorite town but because it was included in the Crested Butte Bike Week which is an absolute blast with events such as the chainless world championships, A 24 hour townie race, the fat tire 40 and so on.  That’s kind of where the fun ended as I crashed hard off a big jump on my 3rd practice run down the mountain, after getting looked over by a medic and a 2nd opinion from a local orthopedic it was advised that I most likely had bruised or cracked ribs and a seperated shoulder.  I didn’t come up there to do 3 runs and go home so I tried to tough it out the next morning by racing the first two stages but after feeling like I was getting stabbed with an ice pick every time I hit a jump or had to lift the front wheel & having finishing positions that weren’t worth squat I pulled the plug, put my tail between my legs and headed home to recover.

Race #5 – July 4th - FireCracker50Breckenridge, Colorado - Five days and two confirmed cracked ribs later off to Breckenridge I/We went,  This event is held on July 4th every year & this time around my mom flew in from Minnesota and my wife Mia also came up for a few days of high mountain fun so in my head I saw no choice but to ignore any pain and pedal on.   I raced this as a Duo (25 miles each) with my good buddy Christopher & we decided the night before that I would ride the first lap which meant I got to ride out-of-town with the neutral rollout in a huge procession of bikes, the streets are lined with cheering people & little kids looking for high five’s! This goes on for blocks because when all the bikes are gone the real parade starts and Independence day gets rolling,  Props to Jeff Westcott and his staff for the organization/execution of this annual event.  Now on to the pedaling, the duo categories started out after several hundred riders had already taken off & I got caught behind traffic the whole day, on climbs, on descents, pretty much everywhere but came across the line 34th out of 94 all male duo teams.  Christopher had a terrible day on the bike with flats and more so we ended up finishing 53rd overall but had a great time.  ( I spent the next 3 days riding summit county in prep for the Epic in August)

The next 3 events, I wrote about extensively in my Fabulous 15 blogs so I will just recap them briefly here as you can look back at those if you are interested in the details

Race #6 – August 11-16th The Breck Epic Breckenridge, Colorado - After the July 4th week I was happy to have a full month off from competitive events in order to let my body heal up and get my fitness on point for this six day stage race that starts out each day at an elevation of 9,600 feet, covers over 200 miles, boasts 37,000 feet of elevation gain and crosses the Continental Divide numerous times.  It’s a heck of a fun 6 days on the bike and my third time doing it.  I raced the Clydesdale class (meaning you must weigh over 190) and at the end of the 6 days I finished 2nd overall, 1st place went to a local ripper who smoked us all.

Race #7 – August 17th The Steamboat StingerSteamboat Springs, Colorado . Stage 6 of the Epic ended mid day Friday and after attending the awards ceremony I loaded up for the 2 hour drive to Steamboat for this 50 mile event put on by Honey Stinger.  I had a good day on the bike, the race course and course support were outstanding and at the end of the day I was happy that I didn’t have to wake up and race for the 8th straight day!

Race #8 – August 24-25th The 24 hours in the Sage – Gunnison, Colorado. In the last few years I have fallen in love with the physical and mental challenge of riding solo in a 24 hour event, many people questioned my sanity and physical ability when they heard I was going from the previous seven days of racing straight into this event as a solo racer. These same people have no idea how much fun this event is and that the fun factor alone would carry me mentally through the whole noon to noon stretch even if my body wouldn’t!  After it was all said and done some 200+ miles later I came in 4th behind some guys who flat-out excel at these types of events.  Here is my theme song for the weekend!  Thanks KOA Dave & Co for another awesome event this year

So there you have it…the 2013 race season as I know it is all wrapped up like a pretty little gift, I am excited about the direction our team is going headed into our 2nd season where there will be no sophomore slump, the struggles we overcame & momentum we built this year is going to make next year seem like a breeze!  I’m super pumped on what is on tap for all of us & humbled by the support from all of you who take the time to read these blogs, comment on my social media pages and send those text messages about your favorite writings..   Happy fall – I will do my best to find interesting topics to write about and keep you all in the loop

Much Love & Happy Pedaling

StevieT

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All good things must come to an end the Fab 15 is no exception

Well here I sit, the crazy stretch of racing I termed the fabulous fifteen came in with a bang  and went out with a blast!

I need to catch up since the last writing, Breck Epic Stage 6 went well & I finished 2 overall in my class in the XC and haven’t seen any results for the overall Enduro category but I am guessing I landed somewhere between 20-30th out of the 100 + that signed up for that.

Breck Epic Final awards... and Off to Steamboat Springs

Breck Epic Final awards… and Off to Steamboat Springs

I then loaded up the rig and drove 100 miles across more beautiful country to Steamboat Springs for the 3rd Installment of the Steamboat Stinger 50 mile mtb race.. to keep it short the event was spot on but I didn’t have the greatest day on the bike mostly due to my lackluster start and then having to dice my way through a full field of racers.  Note: this is the best 50 mile mtb course in the state & one I highly recommend to anyone that live in the region and races, top to bottom it is a first class event and has sold out very quickly all three years.

So on to this weekend & I don’t even know where to start!  Generally my life is very simple and things run very smoothly, when it comes to getting ready to prepare and pack up for a race I am very methodical and everything goes as planned.. this week the universe decided to throw every pitch in the book at me during the last 24 hours especially!  In the end it all worked out and I got home after a short work day Friday just in time for my ride to the race to pick me up, did I mention that my ride was my brother Mike? Yup we loaded up the sprinter van with all my stuff and one of his motorcycles he planned on riding over the weekend while I was pedaling in circles.  This is a rare occasion that we get to spend 2 full days in a row together so it made the race/trip extra sweet.

Friday August 23 – We get into Gunnison, Colorado check into KOA and set up our pits in the “team fun” area before heading the two-minute drive back to main street to fill up our bellies with Mario’s pizza/pasta.  Back to team FUN, KOA & the reason we are up there – the 24 hours in the Sage mountain bike race which I was capping off the fab 15 by riding solo.  This event is the most fun race I have ever done and that is why I came back this year & made it my final race for the 2013 season.. Figured why not go out in style while having a blast, oh did I mention this race is coined “the best 24 hour mtb race at a party”  - It lives up to its billing from the time you check in until the time you exit the grounds to head home & it attracts very solid competition so basically it’s genius!

Back to Friday night and Team Fun, team fun is a large group of people from Steamboat who set up a massive pit area and just plain get after it before and during the race, on the course and off. They invited me into the pits this year and Friday night was no disappointment!  I won’t go into details but there may or may have not been Makers Mark, Pbr, 90 Schilling, KOA Dave, LG, corn hole, 4 wheelers, golf carts,  fire pit booter jumps, said vehicles becoming airborne. me partaking, me sliding off to the tent at a reasonable time but needless to say I didn’t get much more than 3 hours of sleep before it was time to get up on Saturday. (keep in mind the rest of the KOA was quiet as a mouse)  Both Mike and I like to eat so we haul our butts to town and fill up on some hearty breakfast food.

Fire Pit BOOter

Fire Pit BOOter

Now the race goes from noon Saturday to noon Sunday so after breakfast Mike heads out on the motorbike and I get all the last-minute things done on the pedal bike, with my fueling plan etc before just chilling in the grass waiting for the time to pass.  My goal for the 24 hours was to get in 15 laps of 13.7 miles and anything more would be a bonus in my mind, as I mentioned before the competition was no joke with returning champ Mike McAuley, Colorado Trail race & Tour Divide local bad ass Jefe Branham, Tim Lutz and others. So that’s why I set a goal of laps instead of coming into the race with a podium goal, If I could be in the vicinity of these guys at the end I was going to be pumped!

KOA Dave started us off in the street next to the Kampground and It was lined with screaming people as we went out of sight and towards Hartman Rocks for our first lap.  The first lap of a 24 hour solo event is always tough to pace, you don’t want to get to behind but you don’t want to redline and burn out either.  My approach this go around was to start relatively slow and build steam as the day went on, well the top 3 guys went out like banshee’s and separated from the rest of our category really quick, Instead of riding above my comfort zone and burning every match I brought just to try and ride their pace I stayed true to my plan and went back and forth from 4th to 6th for most of the daylight.  My fueling strategy worked great & my laps were consistent,  I put in 8 laps up until 1115 pm and decided to lay my head down for a bit because I was starting to feel the lack of quality sleep from Friday evening crept up on me so I set the alarm for 3am and crawled into the tent

Waking up feeling totally refreshed I got fresh battery packs for set up for my Lights & Motion helmet and bar mount set up and went away quickly!  I set out to get in 7 laps in 9 the last hours to reach my 15 lap goal and Some overnight rain made for a sticky course, the cool weather is right up my alley and had me feeling good about reaching my goal.  I pounded out 3 good ones and then found out that I was in a little battle for 4th and 5th which just stoked the fire in me,  I kept knocking them out lap after lap and opened up a 20 minute gap, then put in one last lap for good measure to finish in 4th with my goal of exactly 15 laps being completed.  *Congrats to Mike for the repeat, Tim for his 2nd place effort & Jefe for 3rd!  I have some major work to do before I can compete with the likes of them.

For this race All in All I rode 205.5 miles - climbed something like 20,000 –  feet burned 15,000 + Calories – Consumed 6,800 Calories from mostly coming from Enduro Bites, Honey Stinger Chews & gels, & Skratch Labs natural hydration drinks.  For solid food I had a breakfast burrito, an open-faced turkey and gravy sandwich and a Cheeseburger patty w/o a bun.

So that wraps up the Fab 15 – I logged over 500 mountain bike miles, climbed over 60,000 feet, burned over 45,000 calories – and had an absolute blast to end my season, I have a ton of companies & people to thank for making it all happen. If I forgot you on the list.. don’t worry I know in my head who makes it all happen so my apologies but 6 hours of sleep since Friday am is my excuse and I am sticking to it!

Team Santa Fe Brewing – Pivot Cycles – Old Town Bike Shop – Shimano – Ergon International – Xpedo – Geax – Northwave – POC Sports – Smith Optics – Honey Stinger – Primal – Chief Petroleum & of course my awesome wife for allowing me to do what I do and the rest of my super supportive family for always being there and believing in me no matter how crazy they think I am 

Fabulous Fifteen – Breck Epic Stage 5 – what riding is all about

I accomplished something today that is a personal milestone for me, I set out to enjoy the day on the mountain bike and not be competitive at all, no worrying about my finish time, no having to push a certain pace or chase down a rider in front of me.

One of the best things about being able to ride a mountain bike is the freedom that it gives you and the places it will take you, so instead of lots of words about today’s day here it is.. I finished 4th still held onto 2nd overall and had a ton of fun, took a bunch of pictures and hopefully saved some legs for tomorrows final stage.  After the stage is over I am heading straight to Steamboat to race a 50 miler as a duo team with my buddy Christopher so I will update all of the next couple of day’s events when I get back to town next week.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/359513291#.Ug1STsrU2VY.email

Here is today’s ride in pictures – Enjoy

I took this after we had already gained about 1500 feet of elevation..see that little patch of snow in the upper right.. that's where we are going

I took this after we had already gained about 1500 feet of elevation..see that little patch of snow in the upper right.. that’s where we are going

up a little farther looking south

up a little farther looking south

some wildflowers and a little pond right at about treeline

some wildflowers and a little pond right at about treeline

almost to the top looking east

almost to the top looking east

at the last switchback, still a ways to go

at the last switchback, still a ways to go

a little higher

a little higher

Bacon feed and Cowbells at 12,800 feet

Bacon feed and Cowbells at 12,800 feet

The final one, looking to the west

The final one, looking to the west

Thanks for reading all week, The fabulous fifteen is far from over, 2 days of single racing and a 24 hour solo next weekend (8/24-25) & I am pumped to keep it rolling.  Big thanks to:

http://www.pivotcycles.com/     http://www.santafebrewing.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabulous Fifteen was not so fab today – Breck Epic 2013 Stage 4

I read a quote the other day that said:

” Life is like a piano, the white keys represent happiness and the black keys show sadness. But as you go through life’s journey, remember that the black keys also create music”

Today was one of those black key days that we all must have in order to become stronger people mentally & physically  & I realize that riding a mountain bike all over the back country of Colorado is never a bad thing but it is all relative, you win some & you lose some!

I could tell the moment I got out of bed that there was no spark in me but I went through the morning routine and even put my legs up and had a ten minute be positive self talk session.  After getting suited up to go to the start line I had an issue with one of my shoes/pedals ( I had to switch to a different pair thanks to yesterdays wet ride ) so after messing with it out on the street I threw my hands up and came back to the condo to swap out pedals which then got me to the start line late thus putting me way back in the pack right from the get go.  When the gun went off I tried to work my way through traffic as we left town and get in with the usual suspects that I have been riding with most of the week,  I accomplished just that and started feeling the groove.  The race was going good until I got run off the course by a rider in front of me who had a blow out flat tire and pushed me into the trees, no big deal though, I was fine & so was the bike so onward I went but not five minutes later I decided to take a soil sample, now mountain dirt is great dirt, it’s generally way more expensive than dirt in other parts of the country but I can tell you first hand… It still tastes like dirt!  After I got myself off the ground, had a small you stupid ass talk in my head and straightened my handlebars back to normal onward I went once again.

So the wheels were already falling off & I then made one of the biggest mistakes you can make…….not eating and not drinking, I was so pissed and rattled from the previous two events & hell-bent on making up all the time I had lost that I just plain forgot to put any hydration or fuel into my body & by the time I realized it I had already rode myself into the hurt locker and was facing a gigantic climb!  After stuffing my face & getting re-hydrated I went into the mindset of survival, in my mind the race day was over and I was going to spend the remaining 22 miles riding as fast as I felt like, so that is what I did.  All in all after nearly 5 hours in the saddle I still finished 2nd in my class, only because the rider who has been coming in behind me had a pretty big bike issue today.

today’s file: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/359003598#.UgwAonrhP0w.email

So we go into the home stretch tomorrow with a shorter day (30 miles)  that takes up on top a mountain range called “ten mile range”  It is absolutely breathtaking, you can see as far as the human eye can in every direction

Ten Mile Range

Ten Mile Range

I am bringing my camera for sure tomorrow, and taking a bunch of pictures, I am far enough behind 1st and in front of 3rd in the overall standings that 5 minutes worth of photo’s isn’t going to make any difference, we get to go tomorrow where 99% of the population will never see & I need some shots for my albums and to share with all of you.

when I made these 3 burritos I thought it might be too much.. they lasted about as long as I would on the back of a bull!

when I made these 3 burritos I thought it might be too much.. they lasted about as long as I would on the back of a bull!

Good night!

Fabulous Fifteen – Breck Epic 13 – Stage #3 – WoW What a day

WOWWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW  - That described today to a “T”

Before I get into today’s happenings I have to throw a shout out to my great friend Chris who I thought about often during today’s stage, for one he did this race with me in 2011 & if it wasn’t for him this week would not be possible this time around.  Thanks Buddie!

So I woke up feeling like someone had stuck a bottle rocket in my rear end, and that was before sipping on my delicious coffee!  Then I went with a super easy to digest breakfast of sushi rice, farm fresh eggs and blueberries.

Putting breakfast away while mapping out my aid station/feed plan for the day

Putting breakfast away while mapping out my aid station/feed plan for the day

I checked the weather and it said current temperature 37, the forecast called for low 60′s as a high and 50% chance of precipitation, A 50% chance up here means you are likely to get wet at some point through the day so I added spare gloves, long sleeves and the rain coat into my aid bags along with all the other goodies I would need to keep the motor running.

As usual the race went of at 830 and we went up and up, right off the bat I felt like I might have something extra today but the fact of crossing the continental divide twice made me second guess just going out pinned so I rode at a pace higher than the previous two days but not at my limit by any means. Aid 1 came and went, what follows that is a climb and hike a bike up to 12,000 feet and that is when the wow factor started.  At the summit of French Gulch there was a group of Summit Velo riders with some familiar faces handing out all kinds of food and beverages, I opted for a handful of skittles and a Dixie cup of what tasted like good old Pabst Blue Ribbon!  I took a look around at the amazing views before letting it rip down – here is an aerial view of where we got to go the first time over the divide.

mt_guyot

After what you can only describe as a Supercalafragalistick descent down to aid station #2 we then had four mile climb up Georgia Pass to cross the Divide once again, the climb up was pretty standard until about a mile from the top when the typical Colorado weather began… 2 minutes of rain, followed by sleet, hail and I am pretty damn sure I saw a few snow flakes.  Anyway I chose to not take any of my cold/wet weather gear at the first aid or the second for that matter ( go ahead and insert ) you ___________________ here!  So at top of the climb Richie Trent was handing out shots of espresso – Are you freaking kidding me? Mountain bike people are the best, end of discussion.  So it’s pissing all kinds of cold moisture on us and I get a shot of hot rocket fuel to supercharge the next downhill which is a long, fast, rough and rocky sob in which I had an ear to ear grin going on the whole time ( I know this because my teeth were full of mud when I got to the bottom)

At the bottom of the descent we get a little break and cruise down the road to Aid #3,  I meet up with a guy who I’ve been riding with a good portion of the week and we set out to get the last kick in the nuts climb out-of-the-way,  he and I exchanged a few choice words out loud, not directed towards each other but intended for the preceding climb all while knowing that once we hit the top it’s a pretty fast and fun eight ish miles to the finish.  I get to the top first and decide to give it all I have and mother nature had the same idea, yup a blizzard of hail, if straight up horizontal hail wont make you ride fast nothing will.  Five minutes later the hail ended and we got to descend a trail that is nothing but flowing switchbacks with huge berms that you can absolutely rail!

I make it to the finish line covered in mud, happy as hell, and just amazed at the whole chain of events!

Today’s File - http://connect.garmin.com/activity/358506568#.UgqvKzxcugo.email

Mud scrub, great for the skin

Mud scrub, great for the skin

My Pivot Mach 429 Carbon..all mudded up

My Pivot Mach 429 Carbon..all mudded up

 

After $8 at the car wash and some time doing laundry I went to the riders meeting and daily podium awards

Stage 3 podium - 2nd again and still 2nd overall

Stage 3 podium – 2nd again and still 2nd overall

High Calorie Dinner in preparation for tomorrow – the toughest stage of the week – Stage 4 the Aqueduct which takes us over to Keystone and back over the course of 44 miles and another boat load of pedaling up hill

Yummy Pizza

Yummy Pizza

I’m out like a scout & off to bed,  Have a Happy Hump Day!!

 

Fabulous Fifteen Breck Epic 13 Stage #2 – I’ve got it all backwards or do I?

Before stage 1 Start with Macky Franklin & Dax Massey phot credits - Michael Kane

Before stage 1 Start with Macky Franklin & Dax Massey phot credits – Michael Kane

Stage 1 was done and out-of-the-way, the afternoon went smooth & I got in a good dinner before making my way to bed around 10  then 11 and midnight came and no sleep, so when the time that is meant to be having sweet dreams I am trying to shut the dome down & then part way through today’s stage and I find myself often dreaming and looking around like a tourist!

Now to my credit we did get to ride a section of the ColoRADo trail that is rated as one of the top ten “rides to do in the state” – the trail is like velcro and descends for ever all while being surrounded by nothing but mother nature made beauty!

I started out slow and came on strong once again today, After doing this mountain bike racing thing for a few years that doesn’t come as a shock, I am similar to a locomotive in that regard.  We started out climbing, yeah imagine that, after about 1200 feet of gain the course gave us some rest before a couple more little short punchy climbs brought us to aid station #1..  & That is where the day dreaming and acting like a tourist started! for the next four to six miles I couldn’t keep a steady pace because I was taking in all the scenery – Note: I don’t feel one bit bad about this, I am up here to have fun, ride awesome trails and enjoy the outdoors.  So back to the race, after I gathered myself and suffered through a good 40 minute slog to the summit of before mentioned Colorado trail and caught a group of 6-8 racers, knowing that I wanted a clear trail to shred downhill I made a pass of all the riders on a sketchy but safe by my standards line & then sent it downhill as fast as I could.  I had a fairly clear trail for the whole 6 ish mile descent with the exception of a few riders who I caught but very kindly got out of my way as soon as it was safe for them to do so.  After more ripping descending I caught 2 riders who I had been with way before the slog uphill and tagged along with then until aid #2 which left us with 8 miles to the finish.  From there I separated myself and pushed it as hard as possible to the finish where once again I landed in 2nd place and held my 2nd overall for the race.

today’s ride file

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/357966652#.UglTljU_uAQ.email

Tomorrow is when i gets real – we cross the Continental Divide twice in stage #3 – Mt. Guyot loop (38.74 miles and 7,740 feet of elevation gain) So if I have any energy left Tuesday evening you will hear from me again & I will leave you with an action shot of my teammate Macky because no photos have surfaced of me yet. Cheers and good evening, If I don’t sleep tonight tomorrow I will have no option but to resort to the whiskey and beer sleep cocktail…so send calm vibes my way pretty please

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Fabulous Fifteen – Breck Epic Stage #1

The cobwebs are no longer, they were thick and lasted longer than I had hoped but stage 1 is a goner.

Saturday nights sleep was not the best, not sure if it was the anticipation of what this week brings or what but I woke up at least twice an hour from midnight on and then I apparently didn’t set the alarm clock right and overslept by a good 45 minutes which put me behind the ball on getting in my breakfast.

Sunday a.m. bfast - Ezekiel french toast w/ coconut and cinnamon syrup + eggs

Sunday a.m. bfast – Ezekiel french toast w/ coconut and cinnamon syrup + eggs

After tossing that back I made my way over to race HQ and dropped my aid station bags full of just about everything I could need for the day. (food, fluids, spare tubes and tires, extra sunglasses, rain jacket etc)  came back to the condo to get dressed for the race.. 8:30 rolled around lickety split and the race started out as all 250+ riders headed up and out-of-town behind one of Breckenridge’s finest in a Chevy Tahoe (I love the police escorts to get you to a safe spot without worrying about cars!

To sum up today’s stage.. the first hour was rough, my legs felt dead which I kind of expected due to taking several days off the bike as of late, then after Aid station one around 14 miles into it I really started to feel it and kept that going through the climb called French Gulch and the Flume that follows it and reeled in a couple of riders that I didn’t even know were close to me.  I had a short lull at about the 25 mile mark where I could sense my legs might cramp… but they didn’t, I stayed hydrated and finished up the next 7 or so miles as my strongest of the day.  My plan today was to get back in the groove, not go into the red and build my fitness as the week goes on.  Overall I feel really good about how it played out, I only lost a little over a pound of body weight from the start of the race to the finish which means I ate and stayed hydrated thanks to having my Ergon BX2 pack/hydration system filled up with Osmo active hydration.  When it was all said and done my finish time was 3:54:23 good for 2nd in my class. Below is today’s ride file from my GPS

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/357308555#.UgfnuPjQFok.email

Quinoa & Beef. Big Salad & some greek yogurt w/granola, honey and dark chocolate -- Dinner and Dessert

Quinoa & Beef. Big Salad & some greek yogurt w/granola, honey and dark chocolate — Dinner and Dessert

Dinner is done, The bike is ready to go for tomorrows stage: The Colorado Trail – 38.06 Miles with 5,312 feet of elevation gain * I can’t wait, if you are ever in the area it is a must do loop*

Time to put the legs up and get some shut eye – Thanks for the support & for reading & Thanks to everyone who makes this possible

Santa Fe Brewing – Pivot Cycles – Ergon Bike – Shimano – Geax – Osmo Nutrition – Northwave – Xpedo – Honey Stinger – Poc Sports – X-Fusion – Trinity Motors – Chief Petroleum – OldTown Bike Shop – My ENTIRE Family and Friends!

Fabulous Fifteen – B.E. Pre Game

The day has come, all the preparation & planning that started months ago when I decided to end this race season with a 6 day stage race, followed by a 50 mile duo effort the next morning and topped off with a 24 hour solo journey the next weekend is about to commence.

The seat time has been put in, my training this season has been similar to that of a roller coaster with stretches of brilliance followed by periods of that would make coaches cringe, If my racing this week is anything like my drive up here today it is going to be lame, Had I been driving one of those hybrids that only use electric until you pass 30 mph I would have used about a liter of gas on the oh so slow and frustrating drive. I did however make it safely and in the process found out that my car has a governor… during the one chance I had to pass the cow trail I had to follow for countless miles, but nothing else matters now, it’s Saturday the 10th of August my fabulous fifteen starts tomorrow morning with stage #1 of the Breck Epic.

Throughout the week I am planning to write about the day’s stage, post up some pictures and talk about the food that I have made myself for the day & I might just add in a few barley pop choices during the week. I have done this event two times before, once in 2010 and the following year of eleven, I skipped last year and don’t remember exactly why but it had to be a great excuse because it’s just that much fun!  after a last-minute decision today after talking to my teammate Macky and a couple of others I decided to ride in the Clydesdale class (for us not so little people who weigh over 190lbs but still like to race) In addition I am signed up for a “enduro” race within the race that will be calculated using GPS & Strava.

Stage 1 tomorrow is Called Pennsylvania Creek – 36.06 Miles & 5,509 feet of elevation gain. We go off at 8:30 am and with that I will leave you today with a few pictures to get things rolling, starting tomorrow there will be much more time to put together good reads.

My little porch

My little porch

My goods for the week

My goods for the week

Race swag - everyone who enters gets sweet stuff

Race swag – everyone who enters gets sweet stuff

Part one of tonight's garden pasta

Part one of tonight’s garden pasta

Complete dinner

Complete dinner

F to Infinity number 1

Here I sit one week out from the start of what I will be calling the Fabulous Fifteen. A 15 day stretch of doing what I like the most, where I like to be the most , in the mountains riding bikes, cooking food and drinking craft beers.  Starting next Sunday August 11th through Sunday August 25th I will be racing my beloved mountain bike all over the wonderful state of Colorado in which I estimate by the time the nine days of actual racing are all said and done I will have pedaled 600+/- miles and gained roughly 70,000 feet of elevation, It all starts with 6 straight days in Breckenridge, followed by a day in Steamboat Springs and then after a few day’s of rest I am off to Gunnison for a season ending 24 hour solo ride.

I never realized until I sat down tonight that there are so many words that start with the letter F that relate to racing a self-propelled two-wheeler all over this beautiful country of ours. The F thing started of course with the Fabulous Fifteen and then brought (Fun – Fly – Fall – Fail – Fast – Flat – Fear – Flow – Free – Fuck, usually preceded by OH – Filthy – Flume – Falling – Fatigue – Focused & you get the picture)

Tonight I sit here preparing for the six-day stretch in Breckenride, the http://www.breckepic A 6 day Stage race that brings 240 or so miles and 37,000 feet of vertical gain over the course of this mtb stage race, This is a true back country race & during the course of it we get to see some of the most breathtaking views in Summit County.

So as I count down the remaining days, I’m getting the grocery list prepared so I can have an entire week of home cooked meals and portable goodies to consume during the race days.  my plan is to not eat out the entire week as I want to race, cook great meals, drink a few beers and relax in my condo as I document it all through pictures and blogs over the course of the week.

Next up — the grocery list for the Breck Epic.

Over and Out

Big Bang……. As in I have a universe sized amount of unpublishized matter

Not that it makes a difference as the world will not skip a beat but It has donned on me as of late that all of my insignificant writings and jibber jabber have been left on paper, not a single keystroke has been made on the old blog.  Apparently my short-term memory has been cluttered up with other things & I’ve completely neglected putting up anything on the www. for the 587,000 people who actually follow my writings – Oh did I add 3 extra zero’s whoops to late now, the delete key on this 2003 PC is broke. I either need to get this thing fired back up or let it R.I.P.  because  I have a big string of events that commence with my 3rd go at the http://www.breckepic.com on August 11….but enough small talk, lets get down to business and catch up on the past,, lets just say 12 months since my unbiased bike review as quickly and efficiently as possible.

After the 12 hour solo and the bike review I went into Interbike trying to establish a new mtb team, Interbike was fun and frustrating as I/we got a good amount of positive feedback and interest in the new team but it was followed up with disappointment and lots of  “talk” that never materialized!  But I will touch on that later because two weeks later I was about to race in my first ever 24 hour solo event in practically my backyard none the less,  The 24 hour National Championships in Palmer Park, an event that I was waiting for all year-long.  That Saturday morning came, noon rolled around and the race was underway, the object for all teams, duo’s and solo riders was to put in as many 13.5 mile laps by noon Sunday as you could.  To sum up the race, it went well until about 4 am (16 hours of straight riding into the race) when I came unglued and had to take a nap for an hour or so because I was seeing all kinds of  weird things on the trail.  So I got a small amount of shut-eye in my support crew pits and headed back out on course at roughly 6am.. put in a few more laps and ended my first solo attempt with 15 laps/202 ish miles completed good for 6th place

The following months were spent working on the new team, trying to secure capital and industry support to make the whole program come together,, In the end we launched http://www.mountainflyermagazine.com/view.php/santa-fe-brewing-pivot-cycles-announce-professional-enduro-team.html going into 2013 we had amazing bikes and an incredible amount of support from http://www.santafebrewing.com  -  http://www.pivotcycles.com/ & everyone of our other team partners.

Fast forward to early May, I raced my Pivot Mach 5.7 Carbon in the http://endurocupmtb.com/ at 7 bridges in world-famous Moab, UT.  The event was amazing, the stages were great but I had a terrible weekend off the bike with some family issues and ended up just riding to ride and not get injured.  The next event was the http://eagleoutsidefestival.com/  a relatively new event and one put on by Breck Epic guy Mike Mac,  I probably wouldn’t have even considered this event had he not been the promoter but everything Mike touches goes off with out a hitch & this was no exception.  I made the three-hour trek to Eagle Colorado on Friday afternoon, found a place to rest my head and woke up Saturday very excited about the expo and the fact that I was going to meet the owner and demo truck driver for Pivot.  I had made arrangements to ride the new Mach 429 Carbon in the twenty something mile XC race that day,  After meeting Chris and Josh I got set up on a green 429 and went to the starting line.  Ended up with a decent race, finished 4th and was 100% sold on that bike so I came back to town and ordered one to ride/race on the rest of the season.

After a good month off of racing where I was able to focus on just training and dialing in bikes I ventured to Crested Butte for the 2nd round of the big mountain enduro series, Crested Butte is one of if not my favorite towns in Colorado & after that much time off I was super excited to spend a weekend ripping the great trails on the mountain and surrounding area.  unfortunately the 3rd practice run I made on Friday landed me on the ground hard with a couple of cracked ribs, a jacked up shoulder, a very swollen wrist and a front wheel that was destroyed.  After a scramble to find a replacement wheel that proved to be a waste of time so I rented a bike and tried to tough it out the next day… 2 out of 6 stages later with the pain being too much I pulled the plug, loaded up and drove home.

Five days later I was scheduled to race a duo event (1) 25 mile lap each  in the annual FireCracker50 with my good friend Christopher so I figured that I would try to heal up as much as possible. Independence day came, my wife, mom and other family was around and we decided for me to ride lap number 1.. as we went out-of-town to start the race and headed up Boreas Pass my legs felt like whale shit then at the point of the course where most people get mentally or physically beat down I started to feel great and rode past countless people up little french,  The remaining miles went by w/o incident and I finished up my lap in about 2:15 or so and watched Christopher head out on course.

That brings us to current time… Only 11 months giver take a week or so since the last post & I can now rest at night knowing I’m caught up and ready to get after the blogging and racing that will take place from August 11 through 25th when I tackle the Breck Epic. Steamboat Stinger as a duo the following day  http://www.honeystinger.com/steamboatstinger.html and cap it off with the http://www.24hoursinthesage.com/  in this years 24 hour solo event.

Thanks for taking the time to read, I have something very cool (at least in my book) planned for the Breck Epic, so stay tuned and until then.  “Live, Laugh & Love”

StevieT

Pivot Mach 429 Carbon

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