Two alpine passes, 1000s of feet of climbing and 100 miles. Sounds like a perfect way to spend a Sunday in July! I had no clue what to expect when I signed up for the Breck 100 back in winter. I just knew I wanted a new challenge and this seemed like a great place for my first 100 mile mtb race. My primary goal was to finish, so once the flag dropped at the base of Peak 9, I settled into a steady tempo - and watched as Amanda Carey (1st) and Jari Kirkland (2nd) rode away into the distance. The climb up to Wheeler Pass was an hour plus gut check - I'm really out here, planning on riding my bike 100 miles! And since it's not a mtb race without some soil sampling, got the one crash of the day out of the way early on the descent down Wheeler. Kept the smooth tempo across the rolling up of Peaks trail, then back into transition to start lap 2. Still feeling good, eating and smiling on the switchbacks up to Sallie Barber mine. Then came Little French Gulch - and in the words of one of the guys I was riding with - "anything gulch or creek is gonna hurt!" Yep - pretty much... Thunder was starting to rumble as I climbed up the Colorado Trail, a hint of what was coming. But I ignored it, focusing instead on the sweet single track descent on the Colorado Trail. A grin a mile wide coming down that! But the fun was short lived as the trail turned up again. Another long climb before returning to Carter Park. At that point, I was in 4th overall, as Cathy Ekhart passed me near the end of the second lap. I was also getting passes by the B-68 racers and I have to say - They were all cool, polite and encouraging. Into Carter Park to start my last lap. I was entering unknown territory at that point. The longest mtb race I'd done so far was only 66 miles. Time to dig deep and keep pedaling. At least until the top of Indian Creek! Then it was time to walk - I walked and rode the rest of the way to Boreas Pass Road. An old railroad grade, Boreas Pass was a welcome respite to the steep and rocky climbs featured in the first two laps. I was starting to feel a little sluggish by the time I reached the top, but knew some fun single track awaited. More thunder heralded the coming storm. Luckily, I was in the trees and had a rain coat with me. Everyone was stopping to bundle up as the rain turned to pea sized hail and turned the trail into a ribbon of slime. They say mud is good for the skin! Well, I was coated in mud! Yet not two miles later, the sun was out and the trails were dry. Welcome to racing in Colorado! The rest of Gold Dust was good - a nice fun rolling and rocky trail dropping into Como. I made the left turn onto Boreas Pass road, starting the last long climb. And I was toast. There was no more power in the engine room. I tried eating, but that didn't help. Not quite pedaling squares, but not pedaling circles either! That was the hardest section for me. I knew I was almost done - I just had to get over the pass. But getting over the pass would take all my mental strength to just stay on the bike, keep pedaling. All I wanted to do was stop, sit down for a few minutes and stare at the clouds. But I kept pedaling, moving forward towards the top. Once at the top there was only a few little climbs and the rest of it was down hill. I was so happy to see the white tent of the aid station. Then the run for home... Despite the fatigue, I knew I only had a few more miles. And I wasn't going down without a fight! Even though I was hours behind the leaders, I still wanted a solid time for my first 100 mile race. Took a few chances on the last single track descents, but it was enough to bring back my grin. A sweet reward for all that climbing! The final little section of trail and the finish line was in sight. My husband (who raced the 32 SS) and my mom (who was a course marshal on the second lap) were waiting for me. I have never hurt so much at the end of a race nor had to dig so deep mental during a race. And I loved every minute of it! I'll get the full report up soon.