- September 4, 2017 at 5:31 am #17507MattSParticipant
Near the end of 2016/Early 2017 I decided I wanted to make 2017 the year I would take on a mountain bike stage race. With a young child and the idea that there might be another one in the mildly near future I kind of felt like if I was going to do it and do it how I would want to that now was the time (or maybe in 10-15 years). So after some discussions with Katie we decided that if we were going to do it we should do it right. The decision was made that the Breck Epic 2017 was going to happen.
The Breck Epic is a 6 day stage race in Breckenridge, Colorado that covers about 240 miiles/40,000 ft. of elevation gain and starts and ends in town every day. That means the start and finish are at about 9,000 feet in elevation. This was going to be a big trip for our family, after our initial discussions and some discussions with my office we decided that we’d take the week after the race as a Family Vacation and explore Colorado. We would also, spend two weeks before the race in the Denver area at my sister’s house. So almost 5 weeks away from home, our first really long drive with the little one and the mutt.
For the race I decided that to do this right I needed to actually train. Over the last year I had felt like I rode pretty strong for a while, but I also had a few months of “recovery” or less strong feelings. I really wanted to be sure that when it came time to line up for the race that I would feel good and ready for the challenge. I’d like to note that I don’t think I’ve really trained for anything since high school, so this would be a little different than my normal just go ride a bunch mentality. I did a little digging around and found that Lynda Wallenfels had some great training plans for all kinds of events and she seemed to focus a lot more on mountain biking. I also noticed that she had some single speed specific stuff and bikepacking stuff, I wouldn’t use either of these in this case but the fact that she had put time and effort in to those things and worked with that type rider made me think that her take on things would be pretty good. She also had some great recommendations from some folks I know who put far more research into things than I do so that helped.
I ended up buying a base training plan for the winter months and then the 5-7 Day Stage race PR plan based on her recommendations. I was able to send a message with my general constraints, goals, etc. and she provided a recommended way to “stack” some of her canned training plans, which was really helpful as I wasn’t sure which direction to go.
The base training plan was great as it helped me not push too hard too early in the year and just focus on building for the upcoming plan. The Stage race plan was tough at times, a lot of structured workouts, and a few weekends with a lot of riding. These big weekends were pretty tough with family time, housework, and life in general but Katie was overall supportive and I did as much as I could to make the rides unobtrusive to our schedule (starting at 6 am, etc.). Anyhow, I got through all of the training and felt pretty good about how things went.
When we lined up for the race I managed to feel great for the first day and actually achieved one of my stretch goals, which was to get on a daily podium, I was the 2nd singlespeeder on day 1. However, I don’t think I paid enough attention to nutrition during the day and had some stomach issues afterwards. I feel like those issues made the 2nd stage a day of survival that I barely made it through. I was the 7th single speeder on the day and lost almost 20 mins in the overall. I was able to bounce back some on stage 3, while still the 6th overall single speed the times were much closer and I felt better. Stage 4 I was able to bounce back to 2nd on the day and made up some time on the 3rd place GC rider. Stage 5 I managed 3rd SS on the day and made some time back on the 2nd place GC rider. The final stage I ended up as the 3rd SS on the day but wasn’t able to make up any time in the overall so I ended up 4th overall.
To get 4th overall and stand on the stage podiums 4 of 6 days in my first stage race/first time riding at elevation/first time seeing any of these trails honestly felt pretty good. I think that with a little better nutritional planning on day 1 and any real reconnaissance on the courses and I could have made the 5-6 min difference up between 2nd and 3rd and at least made a real solid run at it. Although all 3 of the riders in front of me are really strong guys with a ton of experience so I’m not sure I would have been able to out “race” them but I could have made them sweat it out a bit more.
Regardless, the 2017 Breck Epic was a great success in my book, I had an amazing time, felt pretty strong for most of the race, took in the scenery, and had my wife and daughter there to support me the whole time. I’d like to thank LW Coaching for the strong training plans and support.
- September 5, 2017 at 9:20 am #17510LyndaKeymaster
Congrats on your great success at Breck Epic. That is a hard race to finish on a SS let alone hit the podium! Awesome riding. All your training and dedication paid off. Fantastic!!!
Thanks for the super report and for the kind words about our training plans and support.
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