The Breck Epic is different than any other mountain bike race I've ever done. This beast is a 6-day stage race, each day consisting of 3-4 hour stages, or longer if I was having a rough day. All racing is hard - I like to say that each race you do should be the hardest race you've ever done. But, the Breck Epic is hard in it's own special way, it's less of a race against other racers than simply against yourself and the terrain. And while the terrain is harsh, rugged, unforgiving, the real battles during the race were with myself.
BATTLING WITH ERIN / PHOTO: LINDA GUERRETTE
Here's the short chronological synopsis:
- Day 1: Yay! I feel great. Riding with Erin and Katerina for the first part of the day, my climbing legs are on fire, in the good type of way.
- Day 2: Ugh. I feel like everything is in slow motion. I flat. I fix it slowly. I think I cry at some points during this stage. Is this stage ever going to end?
- Day 3: Blank space in my memory.
- Day 4: I think I had fun?
- Day 5: Yay! Wheeler Pass is my favorite. I climb well, crash on my face once, and generally have a great time.
- Day 6: Almost. Done. So. Close. Then we dance.
STAGE 6 / PHOTO: LINDA GUERRETTE
As you can see, I've blacked out large portions of this race. Is this my mind's way of coping with pushing my body to limit for 6 days straight? I do remember Day 5, Wheeler Pass, a bit better than most days. Maybe because I was having a good time? I had weenie gearing on that day (30T chainring, 42-11 cassette) and it felt satisfying to stomp my way up some of those steep pitches. I rode a hardtail (Liv Obsess) for most of the week and that day, the bike felt perfect. It was light, stiff, and climbed like a billygoat.
WHEELER PASS / PHOTO - EDDIE CLARK MEDIA
For the most part, the daily routine went like this:
- 5:45 am - Wakeup. Stare at breakfast and coffee for while. Push around a pancake with my fork. Look over at my roommate's breakfast and try to steal some because it looked better.
- 8:30am - noon-ish - Ride bikes
- Post race: Chug Skratch Labs recovery mix. Swap war stories from the day. Eat Annie's Mac n Cheese. Fix bike.
And repeat. For 6 days.
ELITE WOMEN PODIUM / PHOTO: EDDIE CLARK MEDIA
I honestly don't know if I'll ever do this race again. I remember telling myself after each stage to NOT ever get talked into this again, but now, with the race blending into a hazy mish-mash of pleasant singletrack, I may...
Evelyn not only completed this brutal race, but did it FAST, taking 3rd Place Overall behind the 2016 US National Champion Erin Huck and 2012 Olympian Katerina Nash. All we can say is WOW!!