I can’t believe that the 2011 Breckenridge 100 is my seventh time competing in this race, time flies when you’re having fun, and the last seven years have been a complete blast! The 4 am wake up call never gets easier but I would have to say the more early starts I do, the more I learn how to prepare for it, and this year I got some good rest the night before.
The morning of the race was a beautiful, with perfect blue skies and warm temps for 6 am as we started the hour long climb to Wheeler Pass. I got in a group with two others right from the start, Kelly Magelky who is having a great season and looked really fast and Jeff Schalk the 2010 NUE champion and in my opinion the strongest 100 miler in the country. Kelly and Jeff where pushing hard up the ski area climb so I just sat back and let them set the pace. Just before we hit the singletrack I sprinted ahead to get on the wheeler trail first and put some time into the duo behind me heading over the pass. On the descent down to Copper Mountain, I put even more time on them and hit the bike path with a minute or two lead. I decided not to push to hard on the paved decent to the peaks trail because I knew that they would be working together to catch up and by the time I got to Frisco, they had. We all hit the Peaks Trail together and rallied back to Breck. About halfway through the Peaks Trail I took the worst crash I’ve had in years. I went down really hard and my hip and arm took some good scrapes and bruises, once I gathered myself up I was a bit of a mess, but still in racing condition.
Heading out onto loop two, my legs were felling good so I set pace up the first couple of climbs. About halfway through we hit the west ridge climb of the Colorado Trail and Jeff was in front and really pinning it. At this point Kelly was having some chain suck issues and started to fall of the pace. Jeff and I pushed hard through the rest of loop two and had a really fun decent down the Colorado Trail.
On loop three we were together until the Indiana Gulch climb up to Boreas Pass. Jeff started to really kick up the pace and slowly pulled away from me, by the top Jeff had built a two or three minute lead. I rallied super hard on the Gold Dust trail to Como and made back some time on Jeff. Coming out of Como back up the pass I could see that Jeff was about 2 minutes ahead and I just put my head down and gave it everything I had. Of course Jeff was also giving it his all and I couldn’t reel him back in. I pushed all the way to the tape but Jeff had come across the line almost 5 minutes ahead. He had an incredible race and it was a pleasure to compete with him in such a hard battle. Jeff is a true champion, he beat my on my home course, showed why he is the best and I tip my hat to him. Nice work Jeff!