Race Report: B68 MarathonJeff Kerkove 8:23 AM
It was a great day in Breckenridge for the B68 Marathon. Using loops 2 and 3 of the three loop Breckenridge 100, the B68 is a good solid race effort without digging a huge fatigue hole. I have done this event the last 3 years. This year is year number 4. In previous years I have won the overall and hit the podium. I have this race and the pacing pretty much dialed. This year proved to be the true test with a stacked 'Pro' field.
The field rolled out of Breckenridge at 10 AM. The pace was slow and chatty. My legs felt good, so after about 10 minutes of soft pedaling with the group I went to the front and had the group running single file up Boreas Pass Rd. I wanted the hole shot to the singletrack....and I got it. Once on the trail, I rode my pace. This race is long and hard, and I was going to start chill and pick up the pace. After a few minutes in the single track I was over taken by 2 Honey Stinger - Trek riders. They would ride off the front and I would not see them again. They would also go 1 and 2 for the day.
I soon found myself with a Crested Butte rider and Len Zani of Honey Stinger - Trek. We would all basically ride within sight of each other to the Little French climb along with a few other riders in our race. Here I would get past Len and start chasing in 4th place. On the flume trail after Little French is when disastater struck. I was flying through this slightly downhill tight singletrack when I hit my pedal on something. By the time I realized what happened I was flying through the air on my back with my bike doing circles over my head. I landed about 20 feet down the mountain......my bike about another 40 feet up the mountain. I lost my sunglasses...never found them. My seat on my bike was pointed up and down instead of level. Lucky me, nothing broke on the bike. As for me, I got a bruise on my arm and my ego. Len came by and stopped. He asked if I knew where I was and what his name was. I was perfectly alert. Once he saw I was OK he pushed on.
Later on the Colorado Trail I would catch Len and pass him. I would ride the rest of Loop 2 by myself catching 100 mile racers and searching for the other 6 riders in front of me.
I came in from Loop 2 in 7th place in the Pro Men's 68 mile race. Heading out on Loop 3 and the final 30+ miles of the marathon, I knew this is where i needed to start picking off riders. I grabbed fresh bottles and nutrition.....and began my quest. Loop 3 starts with a big climb up to Boreas Pass via a rutted jeep road. It was here that I caught Derek, a RMR Team rider, on the jeep road climb. We rode together for a bit....then he dropped me once on Boreas Pass Rd proper. He got to the summit and the aid station before I. He stopped for aide.....I kept going. I would not see him the rest of the day as I started the Gold Dust Trail.
Climbing up Boreas Pass Rd on the way to Como, CO. Burning matches.
I knew I had other riders in front of me. Just had no idea how close they were. I pushed through the Gold Dust Trail. Just prior to the end of the trail I caught the 5th place rider, Rob Sousa of the Pro Cycling MTB Team. He was riding well. We hooked up to ride Boreas Pass Rd back to Breckenridge. I pulled....then he pulled. He actually dropped me at one point, but I kept my pace. Soon enough, I caught him back.....then gapped him. I soon found myself riding up Boreas Pass Rd solo.
Over the top, I started the last 8 miles downhill to Breckenridge and the finish. Pushing hard to keep Rob behind me and hoping to catch any other Pro B68 riders. I would not catch any other Pro B68 riders going back to the finish line.
In the end, I was 5th overall in the Pro Men's field. My time was just over 6 hours for the nearly 70 miles. GPS and data can be seen here on Strava.