Breck Epic Stage 2 – High mountains and low temperatures

By Montana Miller,

“Alright, Stage 2 of the Breck Epic! Go!” the announcer says over the loudspeaker. 

A drop of rain hits my arm. We follow the police car out of town. Up the first climb. I get off my bike and start to walk. The rain is coming down steadily.

“Don’t worry guys, there’s blue sky right over there!” a volunteer yells. I hope it makes over here.

Up some more double track, a few miles across a section of road. I start the walk up Little French Gulch. The thing is way too steep to ride on a single speed, and covered in sharp chunks of shale. The rocks crackle and roll around under my ankles.

A guy on a single speed rides past me. Dammit. This is supposed to be too steep. He can’t be riding. But he is. I hate how well the guys that live here deal with the thin air.

It’s raining harder now, and I’m starting to get cold. I stop at the top of the hour-long switchback climb on the Colorado Trail. Pull on a long sleeve jersey. I start the sweet descent down the other side. Ripping across the mountain, grabbing brakes, dropping over a wet root, turning on a tight switchback. And again. Half an hour of fast descending until I hit the bottom. I love that trail.

My jersey is soaked the whole way through now. Still sort of having fun though. I’m just trying to pretend that it’s a spring race in West Virginia. And the rain has to stop soon. It never rains all day in Colorado.

Two hours later, it’s still raining. I’m shivering badly. But it’s cool. Just keep it together. I roll through the last aid station. Only 12 miles to go.

Six miles later, I’m not keeping it together very well. I’m yelling into the woods, shouting about the climbs, and squeezing my grips as hard as I can. I’m starting to lose the feelings in my hands.

A few miles to the finish, I’m totally numb. I cross the line. My girlfriend is standing at the finish with a dry shirt and some coffee. I can barely grip the mug.

My friends Don and John finish. We start the ride back to town. John’s chain sucks, bends, and breaks. We stop with him. He can’t fix it.

“Just get out of here. Leave me,” he says. It’s still raining and not much more that 40 degrees. We don’t argue, and ride away without him. I’ve never been so cold. My chest is starting to cramp.

Don wails like a stabbed howler monkey. His teeth are chattering so much that he can’t form sentences. I make it back to the condo 20 minutes later. I’m covered in freezing mud. Dive into the hot tub. I start to warm up a little. People start rolling back into the house. They’re discouraged, angry, and hypothermic.

After we warm up, we spend the rest of the night fixing our bikes. I hope it stops raining. I don’t think I could race another day in that shit.


In the Single Speed Stage Race World Championships Race, Brady Kappius took the stage win by beating

Macky Franklin. Jenifer Wilson took the Single Speed Women’s win again.

Amanda Carey beat out Yolandi Du Toit in the Opens Women’s Race, and Friberg Calle was the fastest Open Man.

In Men’s Open Duo, Rich Dillen and Peter Keiller are still in last place.