Carey makes it four in a row
Defending NUE Series Champion, Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) posted her fourth straight win on Sunday, coming in at 10:19:00, putting her in an enviable position to be able to step back and evaluate the competition as the series rolls on to the final showdown at the Fool’s Gold 100 in Georgia. All ties are broken at the final race but strategy often includes winning additional races to try to prevent ties from occurring.
According to Carey, “It had been years (2008) since I had done the Breck 100. As we all know, the best endurance racers have very short memories… otherwise we’d never do this to ourselves again and again! I forgot how punishing this race is. I finished totally crushed.
“My plan was to ride a conservative and solid pace all day. I took it very easy on the opening climb up and over Wheeler Pass, knowing that racing at altitude is a total game changer. I knew I had a very experienced and strong competitor in Jari Kirkland, so I wanted to save some energy for the final and very difficult last loop if it came down to a neck and neck battle. But honestly, all the loops are hard.
“That entire course is hard-there is no way to rest on the long climbs due to the lack of oxygen and how stupid-granny gear steep a lot of it is, and you cannot rest at all on the singletrack or descents because it’s very easy to flat, clock a tree or go flying off into a ravine.
“My greatest challenge turned out to be the weather. About thirty minutes into the last loop (climbing up to Boreas Pass the first time) it started to pour rain. Then, when I popped up onto the road it started to hail. Unfortunately for me, it was pouring rain on me during the very technical descent into Como. Don’t get me wrong, I love riding in bad conditions and am very comfortable riding in the rain and mud, but I really had to dial it down and shift from race mode to survival mode until I made it to Como. I could barely feel my hands which made it interesting and it took me a very long time to warm back up once I hit the road out of Como. That slowed me down for sure.
“I really wanted to get a sub ten hour time, but given the conditions, and my game plan, I’m very happy with how my day unfolded. I rode my Felt Edict 29 and think that having a dual suspension made a big difference. I also ran Kenda Kosmik Lite II tires in the SCT and had no problems all day.”
Two-time winner Jari Kirkland (Alpine Orthopaedics) of Crested Butte placed second in 10:52:02 and Kathy Eckert (Body Sync) of Denver finished third in 11:35:09.
Tracy Thelen (Ascent Cycling)placed fourth 12:04:41, just one minute ahead of Laureen Coffelt (Los Locos) from Memphis, TN 12:05:58.
“Two alpine passes, thousands of feet of climbing and 100 miles,” said Thelen. “Sounds like a perfect way to spend a Sunday in July. I had no clue what to expect when I signed up for the Breck 100 back in winter. I just knew I wanted a new challenge and this seemed like a great place for my first 100 mile mountain bike race.
“My primary goal was to finish, so once the flag dropped at the base of Peak 9, I settled into a steady tempo. and watched as Amanda Carey and Jari Kirkland rode away into the distance.
“And since it’s not a mountain bike race without some soil sampling, got the one crash of the day out of the way early on the descent down Wheeler.”
Thunder was starting to rumble as I climbed up the Colorado Trail, a hint of what was coming. But I ignored it, focusing instead on the sweet singletrack descent on the Colorado Trail. I had a grin a mile wide coming down that. But the fun was short lived, as the trail turned up another long climb before returning to Carter Park. At that point, I was in fourth overall, as Cathy Ekhart passed me near the end of the second lap.