In continuation of a big training/racing weekend over the July 4th holiday, I finished up the weekend with the Colorado classic known as the Firecracker 50. I love this race from all ends....the vibe....the crowds.....and the course! Due to heavy snow over the winter, the course this year was altered and lengthened. We also had to deal with mud....which is virtually never an issue racing in Colorado.
This year, I raced in the Maverick class. This is one big category (no age groups) for top level riders that do not hold a USA Cycling license. Since 99% of the races I do are not USA Cycling sanctioned, there is no reason to drop $150 on license fees for the year. This year, the Maverick class had some strong riders. The field was about 110 riders deep. It would prove to be a good group.
The question in the back of my head was how would my legs feel after riding 100 mile and climbing 13,000 feet only 2 days prior. The day before the race, I didn't even get to ride, as the travel day from Durango to Breckenridge was longer than anticipated. So, I lined up on race morning and simply rode the course listening to my body. The start gun went off and I began the climb up Boreas Pass Rd with the group. My legs were feeling pretty good, so I went to the front and pulled the field up the road to the 1st section of singletrack. Here, 1 rider would go off the front. I wasn't eager to chase this early in the race........so I let him go. I never saw him again.
The small lead group of riders (about 5 or 6 total) would ride together to the Little French climb. I settled into a conservative pace. 2 riders would attack up the climb. I let them go, as I have seen it before and riders tend to come back. These strong riders would not come back.
For the rest of Lap 1 and the beginning of Lap 2 I would ride with another rider. It wasn't until after the 2nd time up Boreas Pass Rd would I be able to gap this strong rider on the singletrack. For the rest of the final lap, I would ride alone catching other class riders and some of the back end riders of the Pro men and women's fields.
In the end, I would finish 4th overall in the Maverick Men's race. It took me roughly 4hrs and 40 minutes to complete the slightly longer Firecracker 50 course for 2011. Overall, I felt great on the bike. The energy was clean and consistent. By far one of my better days on the bike while competing on this course.....even after having completed the DDC only a few days prior.
GPS and HR data is located HERE on Strava.
Post-race photo taken by Eddie Clark of www.eddieclarkmedia.com