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Breck Epic - Stage 6

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |August 17, 2014 1:51 AM
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Breck Epic - Stage 6
Breckenridge, Colorado

Alex Grant and Kate Aardal Take Home 2014 Breck Epic Titles; Carl Decker and Marlee Dixon Win the Final Stage

Today was the 6th and final stage of the Breck Epic.  Itís the shortest and fastest stage at 32 miles and 3500í of elevation gain.  Yesterdayís stage had been really hard; I finished feeling nauseous and drained. I had thought yesterday would be easier and hadnít mentally prepared for it.  This morning was a slow start, I took longer getting ready and the accumulation of 5 days of intense racing were showing in my more lax attitude and prepping this morning. But then I started my warm up on Boreas pass road, had my music going and the sun was shining, it was a gorgeous Breckenridge day with clouds on the top of the peaks, cool weather with the sun starting to warm up everything and I started thinking, yeah I could do this race again.  I could do other stage races, this is actually fun. 

At 8:30 we all set off together from the ice rink and up Boreas Pass road.  It was a hammer-fest from the start.  Cranking a big gear up the road, I felt great, but kept questioning if I could keep up the pace or would I bonk, this pace was so fast.  We then went up Barney Ford to Sally Barber to Nightmare on Baldy and the whole time I was around Catherine and Kelly.  The three of us were closely separated for the overall and we were all fighting for it today.  On the top of Nightmare on baldy I passed Kelly and Catherine trying to use the upcoming descent to my advantage.  From there it was a short uphill on baldy to a fun flowing descent down Bankers Tank. We came out on Boreas Pass road and I was able to catch up and work with a group of guys to get up to the Continental Divide.  Then it was down the Gold Dust trail- a fast awesome 6 mile descent to Park County.  The trail is all single track and steep at first followed by a long flume section unlike any other riding in Summit County.  From Gold Dust itís a 6.5 mile climb back up the road to the Continental Divide then a descent down Indiana Gulch rd. and the Blue River trail to the finish.  The descent from the Continental Divide was a great end to the week, leaving us with the feeling of flying as we coasted down an old mining road followed by the awesome single track on the Blue River trail.

For the men today, Carl Dekker took the win for a change with a time of 2:09:30!  Followed by Taylor Sheldon in 2ndwith a time of 2:09:41, Alex Grant in 3rd with a time of 2:09:49 and Bryan Dillon in 4th with a time of 2:10:55. TK was the actual first guy to come through the finish line.  The overall remains Alex Grant in 1st, Loan Llordella in 2nd, Ben Sonntag in 3rd, Bryan Dillon in 4th and Justin Lindline in 5th

For the women, I took the final stage win with a time of 2:32:13.  From the moment I passed Catherine and Kelly on the top of Nightmare on Baldy I gave everything I had to stay in front.  Catherine Williamson came in 2nd with a time of 2:34:54 followed by Kate Aardal in 3rd with a time of 2:36:15, Kelly Kim Boniface in 4th at 2:38:42 and Liz Sampey in 5that 2:39:58. For the top 6 women, we all had a very close race today with each of us only coming in a few minutes behind each other.  There were no freebees in todayís race and we all fought hard to get our overall places. For the overall, Kate Aardal takes the win, followed by Catherine Williamson in 2nd, myself in 3rd, Kelly Boniface in 4th,and Liz Sampey in 5th. Through this week we all raced hard to secure our spots, the total time difference in 6 days of racing was only 25 minutes between 1st through 4th place.  

Well the Breck Epic is over.  Itís been an insane week.  My life became racing for an entire 6 days.  My apartment became a bombshell, my ordinary tasks and the important things in my life halted.  Every day I focused on racing- in the mornings: prepping, eating right, hydrating, then racing, followed by recovering- eating, hydrating, sitting in an ice cold river, rolling out my legs in agony, taking warm baths with Epsom salt, lying in bed each night with a heating pad on my back while eating peanut butter topped granola bars, infused beets and whatever odd craving struck me at the moment.  I brought my bike in to the mechanic , got my back adjusted by my chiropractor, went to the racer meeting and bought more coconut water from the grocery store.  Every evening became a process of getting things done to race the next day while trying to recover my body.  Over 6 days I raced ~230 miles and did ~35,000í of elevation gain.  I bled, sweat, almost cried many times, questioned myself, ate constantly, learned so much and pushed myself so hard.  There were times I was so ready to be done, many times I thought what the heck are you doing Marlee? Itís painful, itís hard, my body is bruised, chaffed, my legs are swollen, and I feel like my upper body has whip-lash.. What is this all for..?   Why are you doing this? 

To tell you the truth, I donít know that itís for anything, but this has been one of the best experiences of my life.  I know tomorrow morning when I go back to work, I will be sad that Iím not on my bike.  Iíll go past places we raced and past the ice rink (race base) and be a little sad thinking that itís all over.   Itís been one of the most difficult weeks of my life but will always remain one of the times in my life where I feel I experienced life, where I pushed myself as hard as I could, where I learned so much and where I met some awesome people.   To all the people who put the race together, to all the people who came out and volunteered, cheered us on and made this race happen, you guys are awesome.   My first stage race is done and I can only hope this is the start of some more insane, exciting, difficult, invigorating stage races. 




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