25 Aug 2016
TAYLOR SHELDON: BRECK EPIC RACE REVIEW
Break Epic 2016 – Taylor Sheldon
Last week was the Breck Epic, the sweetest 6-day mountain bike race that I know of. And it happens to be in my backyard. With an awesome set of mountain bike sponsors – Tokyo Joe’s, Scott Bikes (and helmet and shoes!), FSA Components, Pearl Izumi, Clif Bar, and Rocky Mounts I knew I had to race. I have done the race several times in the past but after the Tour of Utah I knew I had some good fitness, plus now that we are living full-time in Breck, it was just a short ride from my house to each and every stage.
The first stage started well, I rode a little more conservatively than in the past and around the halfway point I had caught the two leaders, Wells and Finsterwald (who happen to be two of the best mountain bikers in America). I held on for dear life on the downhills and we started the final long climb together. However, in our extreme pace (I was a bit cross eyed) we missed a trial marker and continued up the climb. We ended up climbing Humbug Hill – a dangerously steep climb. I averaged 6.1 kph (3.8 mph) for the 12 minute climb which averages around 15%. Yeah, its crazy hard. You could literally run faster, probably even walk faster. So we did the wrong climb and while it was significantly harder than the proper climb it also cut off several kilometers of racing. We took the top 3 spots but afterwards we were appropriately relegated to 4th, 5th and 6th. Kind of a bummer, but it was definitely the fairest option.
Stage 2 was one to forget for me. I suffered 4 or 5 flat tires (due to my lack of skill) and then topped it off with a stupid crash on a fast section of single-track. Sore and sad I made my way across the finish line almost 2.5 hours behind the winners. Any chance of challenging for the overall was gone.
Stage 3 started well enough, but I could feel the efforts that I had made the previous weeks at Tour of Utah creep into my legs. Plus my hips and legs had been realigned in m crash and I just took it steady. I still rode hard, but kept things in check and finished 8th.
Stage 4 was more of the same, my body was suffering and I could feel it telling me to slow down and back off. I obeyed and took the second half of the stage relatively easy and rolled home in 12th.