• REPORT: Firebird 40

    It doesn't happen often, but I got to sleep in my own bed for the first running of the Firebird 40 here in Eagle, CO.  The Firebird 40 was part of the Eagle Outside Festival, a 2-day outdoor festival located in the Brush Creek area of Eagle.  FYI, don't miss it in 2014!  In addition of the high dollar prize purse mtb races, there was a massive bike demo and expo.  So, once again, I got to mix work and pleasure.....racing first, then working the 2-day expo.

    Due to the long winter and BLM permitting issue, the organizers didn't get to use the single backcountry 40-mile loop to race on.  Instead, we were forced onto a 7-mile loop in the Eagle Ranch area on the east side of Eagle.  This was a great mix of singletrack, double track, and rec path.  Going into the race, I just wanted to feel good from start to finish.  I wanted to ride hard.  Take risks.  Empty the tank.

    Firebird 40 - pro men lead out

    The lead out was neutral on a narrow rec path for about 2 miles before we turned onto a road to sprint for the single track. I stayed at the front for the duration. I wanted to be one of the first riders out of the 90 rider field into the singletrack.  Our field was staked with the Wells brothers, Hoke, Cares, Henry, Sonntag, etc.  I found myself at the front chasing the leadout vehicle.  Surprisingly, I felt good.  About 100 yards from the singletrack I let up to see who would roll past.  I had Todd Wells and 4 other go floating by.  I was 5th into the singletrack with a pegged HR.  I had nothing to loose. 

    Firebird 40 - Eagle, CO

    I remained in 5th until the doubletrack. At this point, I started to gas out on Lap 1 of 5. It was a long race and I knew I would get my legs again. Just a question of when. I drifted back to 25th or so, back riding with the guys I typically see while racing; Jon Davis, Jason Hilimire, Travis Sheefer, Matt Schiff, etc. The pecking order was set for the day. We would battle all race. Living in Eagle, it was a huge help to know the course. Riders were over shooting corners and crashing in the twisty blind corners.  I was able to keep a smooth race.

    Firebird 40 - Eagle, CO

    Bailey's Climb proved to be the toughest part of the race. This short steep climb crushed riders. Riding aboard the new SRAM XX1, which kicks ass by the way,  I was at the limit riding the 32 x 42 gear combo. I was at XC pace. No time to recover. Full gas from the gun! Surprisingly it felt good.

    Firebird 40 - Eagle, CO

    For the remainder of the laps, myself and the riders in sight would battle. It was a good healthy race. In the end, I finished in 21st place out of the 90 or so that started.

    Results: http://eagleoutsidefestival.com/firebird-results/

    Strava file: http://app.strava.com/activities/53684131

    Next up, I get to race on this course again in a few weeks time for the Vail Rec. District XC Series. But, before that is the 64-mile Gunnison Growler. I haven't taken part in this race for a few years. Looking forward to putting rubber back on Hartman Rocks.

    In the meantime, the trails are perfect here in Eagle. Going to load up on miles Friday-Sunday before chilling out heading into the Growler.  If you need your dirt fix, come to Eagle.  Trail map here: http://eagleoutside.com/activity-overview/#/mountain-bike/