Sarah Musick will be chronicling her experiences of her first mountain bike stage race at the 2012 Breck Epic. Check back for her updates.
Today is Wheeler Pass, which is a stage I’ve been allured by since seeing video footage from the Breckenridge 100. I didn’t have the opportunity to pre-ride any of the stages and have had many preconceived notions about what to expect. Today is no exception.
I do have a good bit of experience above treeline, though, having climbed twenty Colorado 14ers over the last few years, two of which I did two weeks before Breck Epic with climbing partner Matt Payne.
Singlespeeding and climbing 14ers are both quad busters! Total training crossover.
Today is a gorgeous march above treeline. It’s crazy to be up so high with my bike. I catch myself being careful around the tundra, acting like a hiker in cycling silks.
I put in a good effort up and over the pass. As the group I’m with approaches the saddle, the unmistakable smell of bacon wafts through the air. For a split second I’m amazed at how strong my imagination is today. Then I spot the two raddest guys in the world frying bacon behind a tarp.
A bacon hand-up at 12,500 feet. It does not, will not, cannot get better than that! I bet a couple of vegans even have a dark secret after today.
I devour my ration of bacon and start the reckless descent off of Wheeler. I don’t want to drink or eat anything because I’ll lose the taste in my mouth. Sweet, life-giving bacon.
That’s it folks. Five days, 200 miles, 30,000 feet of elevation, in the saddle and all it takes is half a strip of bacon to make my world a perfect place.
I finish the stage mostly alone, catching riders and being passed throughout the remaining miles to the finish. The whole week swims in my head. Lots of reflection. Moments I am so proud of and thoughts of things I might have done differently. From my mental-Giardia to my steep power climbs. From my hang-ups to my throw-downs. What a week!
More than anything, there is accomplishment in the feat. Tomorrow we roll across the finish and I dare say every single one of us is different somehow from this venture. Better. More complete. I know I am.
Huge kudos to the race crew who have made this experience an absolute pleasure. This is a race I will recommend to others. A race I will come to watch. A race I hope my kid wants to do one day. Breck Epic, stick around we’ve got a lot of mountain bikers to send your way!
We’ll even bring the bacon.
Musick started mountain biking in denim shorts one New Mexican summer a decade ago. After three years as the only girl on the college mountain bike team she moved from her home state of Virginia to the Rocky Mountains. Colorado changes people. She was schooled and mentored by top pro riders on Colorado Springs group rides. She became instantly captivated and in 2007 won the Colorado State Series. Currently she rides and races with the YetiBeti Women’s Mountain Bike Team, works at Carmichael Training Systems, and is a part of start-up company Enduro Bites, making her days full of freakin’ fast peps. Musick writes about her struggle with depression and the therapy she finds on the bike. She’s a badass (first year) singlespeeder who’s not taking prisoners in the race of life. Thanks to sponsors Stan’s NoTubes, Yeti Cycles, Ergon, Twin Six, Golden Bike Shop, Noosa, Bulumu, White Girl Salsa, Cooper Door Coffee, Honey Stinger, Optic Nerve