Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Firecracker 50 report, yo.

hey kids:

Marty and I went up the hill to Breck this past weekend to do the firecracker 50. As you may know from reading Kevin's outstanding report below, this race can be filled with pain, agony, suffering, and intestinal distress. I've had pretty much all that and more on this course in years past.

however, i guess i am getting a little wiser in my old age. Marty discovered some months ago that there is a mixed-duo team division, where each rider rides one lap. Hmm, only one lap? wouldn't that somehow threaten my manliness and status as conquerer of all things bike? i thought it over. 3.76 seconds later we signed up for the duo race.

race day arrived and we showed up to the expo area with a carload of GT dirt coalition crap... tents, GT-blue astro-turf, umbrellas, chairs, literature, and oh yeah--bikes. We set up right next to the GT factory set-up, one door down from the GT Golden Bike set-up. GT was bloody everywhere at this thing, and in no time we were rockin' a full 7 tent compound. take that, people who are not GT!

GT brought a definite presence to the firecracker

anyways, i got to check out some of the new 2010 stuff... pretty rad. there is a new 5 inch bike called the Sensor and while only the aluminum version was there Louis, the factory honcho, strongly hinted at a carbon version. from checking this bike out briefly, i am pretty convinced that the new pivot location and general radness of this bike would pretty much slay on Colorado trails.

the 2010 Sensor is looking scintillating

the Fury is a full-carbon downhill bike. can you say dialage?

soon enough it was time to get Marty and her bike situated for the first lap; gotta be on point when the race leads out a 4th of july parade through downtown Breckenridge. We headed down to the main drag to find a throng of people lining the streets and the staging area packed for each wave. Sweet. I did a couple last minute adjusts to Martys pedals and she was off.

The crowd at the start was organized chaos

it's go time

Now here's where you 2 lap racers take note. After Marty took off at eleven i went back to GT HQ. i grabbed a chair, a cold drink outta the cooler, kicked my shoes off, and opened a book that i had been meaning to finish. i didn't move from said chair for 2 hours. it felt oh-so-good to have the feet up, the sun shining down, and cold-kickin-it till the next episode. i don't think i have felt so relaxed on a race-day ever.

after a couple hours of witty banter from all the smart alecks that typify a race expo, i decided to start rummaging through my crap and getting myself presentable. i pulled on a brand-spanking-new kit from my friend James--a one off pirate kit done completely in black and white. pretty tough. a liberal dollop of extra-special formula chamois butter was applied and i set off to warm up.

i rode about 5 minutes and thought... warm up? what am i doing? i have all of Boreas pass road to warm up. and, i don't know exactly when Marty would come through. i was thinking a little over 3 hours, but it would suck to be out warming up when she finished. so, i headed back to the finish line and stood around trying to look cool. after about 15 minutes the rain started to come down. dammit. 25 miles in the rain? not kosher.

Marty sailed in at about 3:20, and i quickly asked her how she felt. she smiled and said she felt great and had good legs. Sweet! that was good enough for me and i handed off the GT umbrella and clipped in.

Marty bringing it home after lap one.

climbing the road i felt pretty fresh, and immediately climbed out of the rain cloud--off came the jacket. i caught up with Kevin shortly after the whiskey jump and after i rumbled over a half-assed ramp and taken a shot of rot-gut and washed it with a Dixie cup of PBR. those guys are always camped out, and i had to oblige them as so many riders passed by, eyes glued to their heart rate monitors. anyway, i shoved Kevin up the hill for awhile, giving him a little respite before he had to slog the last 20 miles.

Hitting the dirt, i kept feeling better, and put it to the big ring. to my surprise, i left it there the rest of the road climb... i think that grade is not too tough and so many people were not pushing it hard enough there. anyways, my name ain't Chris Carmichael, so i kept on keepin on.

the first flume single track arrived and i knew it was gonna be a sweet day. the ipod was cranking out one solid punk rock anthem after another, and all the fave's were there--the lillingtons, teenage bottlerocket, the apers, social distortion, the travoltas, the riverdales, the ramones, the donnas.

i seemed to be above the rain that was happening in the valley, even though i did see evidence of some moisture earlier in the day. the dirt was perfect and i kept the hammer down.

i came up on susan prieto at the top of little french, which is about the steepest part of the whole course. most everyone was walking and we got in some quick words of encouragement to each other as we crested the gulch. then it was on to more super-rad flume single track, and it was go time.

the single track dropped into a double-track trail with some big water-bar risers and natural formed table-tops, and the maverick was in its element. i dropped the Joplin, and lit the fuse... boosting huge lines and ripping xc weenies in half on the descent. Rock gardens seemed to disappear beneath me and i could pick my line at will. i was really in a flow state and i knew that the legs might give out on the next climb, so i made the best of it. i really think the downhill practice is starting to pay off.

back to the flats, and time for some fuel. blueberry pomegranate roctane Gu was on the menu and i hit a couple for good measure. i went up a few rises, then it was back into the big ring for a hairball descent down a trail that seemed to be made of huge mine tailings down onto a dirt road. i hit the dirt road and heard a wicked clanking... turns out the Joplin seat collar had backed out and the internals were just flopping around on the upper shaft. that Joplin sure is a harsh mistress, and i pulled over to stick her all back together and say a prayer that it would hold up the rest of the ride.

back up the double track road, and i caught up with my friend Cynthia. i gave her a little push and i don't think she recognized me in the il-pirata kit until i spoke out. after a little bit it was time to get on with the downhill, and i pushed the big ring off the top of the sally barber mine road down towards the final singletrack.

the last bit of singletrack was a little wet and slippery, but it was still relatively fast. i came up on a singlespeed woman, and she hollered out to ask if i wanted by... i replied that not as long as she shifted into shred-mode. she hollered back that she was in shred mode, so we both had a good laugh, and i rode her wheel until the trail opened up.

down through the final berms and into the finish line, the 25 miles was over. i thought to myself--i have another lap in me, easy... i should done it solo. then i quit pedaling for about 3 minutes, and realized that racing the duo with Marty was pretty much the perfect way to spend the 4th.

Yours truly on the finishing berms

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