Sunday, July 8, 2012

Independence (from the Saddle) at the Firecracker 50 and the JJ Memorial Ride

After 50 miles of hard riding and some real suffering at the Firecracker 50 in Breckenridge on July 4th, I was definitely ready for some independence from the saddle!

The race took out easy for a few miles before my good buddies, Greg Krause and Jay Henry, decimated most of the field with some nasty attacks that brought us all the way to the start of singletrack off Boreas Pass Road.  The leading group contained somewhere around 15 riders, and Jay continued to rip things apart as he took the lead from there.  Henry held on for the lead, holding off a very strong rider from South Africa.

The race went fair for me.  I lost some time on loose descents to riders who either had better control, more guts, or both.  When French Gulch approached for the second time, I planned to pass a number of competitors and ride to glory.  Conversely, I found myself "reduced to a shadow of a man," as Phil and Paul would say in Tour commentary, as I struggled to simply make it through.  Some much-needed Gatorade from race volunteers brought me back enough to hammer home and finish in 14th around 3:53.  I was thankful that my Yeti ASR-C provided a relatively smooth ride on some pretty bumpy trails.

The weekend brought around the Jeff Jewell Memorial Ride, and 11 hours on the road bike over a couple of days in the mountains with Jeff's best friends provided some good time for reflection on the inspirational man who passed due to brain cancer.

My thoughts go now to Ryan Haebe, a young man and friend from Evergreen who ran to two DII National Championship titles this year for Western State, who now fights for his life after a serious brain injury.  Hang tough, Ry!

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