Summer Plotting and True North

Summer is a hard time of year when the focus is on one big event. Summer is the time for having fun, traveling and expoloring - not buckling down and focusing. Everyone else is racing all over the country or going on exciting trips for new singletrack. The Facebook and instagram highlight reel from friends is filled with awesome vistas and sweet trails, as well as the occasional podium shot. It's easy to get distracted by everyone one else's adventures and worried that no matter how much you are doing it's not enough. There's always the fear of missing out with the coverage of other races and other riders. It's something I've dealt with for the last few years and I'm very familiar with the feeling.
Focus on the goals doesn't mean you don't pause for the views
After Growler, I turned my focus to August - to the one kind of racing I have never done. Stage racing. The Breck Epic in fact - six days of big, high country singletrack around Breckenridge. With stages between 20 and 40 miles, it's going to be a long week of riding and racing. Breck isn't a place we get to for riding, so most of the trails will be new and the courses unknown. I know Breck delivers on both the epic and the alpine singletrack I love. I did my best to simulate the demands of stage racing in my training, stacking hard workouts into long endurance days. I didn't have any of the huge endurance rides like I usually do in the summer, but that's not the current goal. Having the ability to ride hard multiple days in a row is more important and the accumulated fatigue will provide the endurance I need.

Tackling the hard line - always willing to give something a try
 But there's one more thing to make this run at the Breck Epic even more exciting and interesting. Instead of racing solo or Coed Duo with Nick, I'm racing with Amber in Duo Women. I've never done this kind of Duo racing before. In 24 hour races, it's a handoff. One lap at a time, constantly swapping back and forth. If one teammate is having a bad day, the other one can do a few more laps to make up for it. Not with this kind of Duo racing. Amber and I will both be riding every stage, staying together through good days and bad. We have to be our own rolling support system for the mental and emotional stress of racing. If one person is flagging, the other needs to step up and carry the load. I know Amber's been asked a few times if she's ready and if we are a good match for this kind of racing. And yes - I think we are a perfect match. We are both stubborn and focused and willing to tolerate discomfort to reach our goals. We climb together well and her descending skills have blossomed over the last three years. There might even be times where I am the weakest link! I'm looking forward to the challenge of both Stage Racing and racing with Amber.

Amber's rubbing off on me - baggies, no jersey and some fancy Swiftwick socks

Those two bikes have seen some amazing adventures - and more to come!


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