Firecracker 50 Race Report.

Sunday afternoon was the Firecracker 50 in the fine town of Breckenridge, Colorado, and served as marathon national championships for us MTB folk.  I raced, and it was a fucking adventure to just get up to Breckenridge, so grab yourself a cold one, and enjoy.  Everything started on Wednesday when I made the move from Missoula to Fort Collins, I drove the moving van, and some folks I knew from Montana were gonna drive my car down to Fort Collins on Thursday.  Well I found out on Thursday that my car would not be making the trip down.  This sucks because I was an idiot, and chose to leave all of my race equipment aside from bike, helmet, shoes, kit, and gloves in the back of my car.  The situation was remedied by Dejay who offered to hook me up with some gear for the race, and a ride to Breckenridge on Friday.  Friday comes, Dejay tells me he is on the road, and I begin to wait for him in Fort Collins.  A few hours pass, when I get a call from Jake, informing me that Dejay has been taken to jail on a bullshit “vicious dog” warrant from six years ago in Crested Butte, when his dog Juda may have bitten a guy.  For those of you who know Dejay, and therefore know Juda, you will agree with me that Juda can be described as, “loud/obnoxious/stick crazy/silly/adorable”, but not “vicious”.  I scrounge together bail money, and believe that I am the first person to ever pick someone up from jail in a rented 10 foot Budget truck.  A few hours pass, and Operation Free Dejay is completed, which finally allows up to leave Fort Collins.

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A view from camp

All of the stresses of the day are erased once we get to the campsite outside of Breckenridge.  We got good people with names like Dax, Timmy, Kramer, Greer, Sarai, Dejay, Michelle, Jake, we got a campfire, and in a cooler full of beer.  In three shakes of a stick, everyone is enjoying each others company and laughing, basically the way that trips to bike races should be.  Saturday morning comes, hangovers are remedied, chow is prepared and eaten, and everyone gets ready for a ride.  Our campsite is about a three minute ride from the Colorado Trail, which we intend to ride for a bit.  For those of you who have ridden the Colorado Trail, you know how fucking sweet that ribbon of singletrack is.  For those of you who haven’t ridden the Colorado Trail, yes it is that great of a trail, and you need to go ride it, ‘nuf said.  We stop to snap pictures, and enjoy the views, once again, this is the way trips to bike races should be.  After the ride, we head into town to do all the pre-race stuff we need to do, then its back to camp for dinner, and pre-race prep.  And by pre-race prep I’m talking about sitting around the campfire drinking Mickey’s that Jake was smart enough to pickup in town.

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Yours truly on the Colorado Trail

Race morning comes, and we head on down to town for the start of the race.  I did the race last year, and had some really bad issues with cramps, so this year I am trying to drink as much as possible leading up to the race.  The gun goes off, and after the neutral rollout through town where we high five little kids and are cheered on like rock stars, the road turns up and the suffering begins.  Six miles of climbing up towards 11,000 feet beat me down like a rented mule.  I felt like I was riding well, not too hard, and drinking enough to keep the cramps at bay.  Turns out I was wrong, because after getting to the top of Heart Attack Hill, I get my first cramp that forces me off a bike.  I trade some dude CO2 for endurolytes, and after a couple of minutes get back on the bike.  Over the course of the rest of the lap I have to stop another time with a bout of cramps, and I am starting to realize, that certain people just know how to race at high altitudes, and I am not one of the them.  After coming through the start finish, I get the third bout of cramps, that takes me off the bike for a significant period of time.  I have no endurolytes, and no one around me has any either, so I am fucked three ways to Sunday.  I decide to pull the plug (my apologies to Snake, I guess I just dont have that killer instinct like he does), rather than deal with more cramping, while hoping people passing me by would be willing to spare supplement so I can keep going.  It’s all good because, once again at the end of the race, stories are shared, drinks are tipped back, smiles and laughs are shared, it was the icing on the cake for the weekend.   More pictures below….

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Kramer and Dax climbing.

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Jake and Dejay sucking in the thin air

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A view from somewhere around 11,000 feet

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Jake ripping it like only he knows how

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About 40 Hands

A fan of riding bikes with one gear, malt liquor, riding without knowing how many miles I’ve covered, and strip clubs that let you bring your own keg. I typically have a stupid grin on my face, it is because deep down I know that no matter what, my mom thinks I’m cool. Denver, Colorado, USA

11 thoughts on “Firecracker 50 Race Report.

  1. That’s a whole bunch of awesome. I rode part of the Colorado trail a bit east of where you were last June…35 miles took this flatlander 7 hours including stop time for my hurting Colorado-based bro-in-law. The trail was spectacular…the conditions went from 87 degrees and sunny to 55 degrees and hail. Good times.

  2. Hey Mr. 40 hands,

    I’m diggin’ the race report – altitude sucks.

    I see you spent some time in Missoula. My road trip/biking adventures have landed me here for a week or so. I have done a bit of sweet MTBing (was up at blue mountain today and found some sweet trails, along with some pretty lame stuff), but was wondering if you had any suggestions for rides, MTB or road.

    CO trails seem to beat MT trails thus far, however I am trying to be open and allow that to change…

    -BA

  3. Good to see the boys out riding the Colorado Trail and racing the painful Firecracker 50. I was on the CT over by Kenosha Pass just yesterday. I love that trail. I hate that race.

  4. What!! no DC gear represented. The cramps wouldn’t have come on with the basics like DC socks!

  5. …great report & glad ya got yer bud out of the clink…

    …’the cramps’ at altitude in the high mountains seem to hurt a little deeper & when i look at those fotos, while i’m reminded of just how spectacularly beautiful colorado is, i then remember how little oxygen yer sucking in w/ every breath when climbing those damn mountains…

    …been a buncha years since i’ve ridden out there but it is worth the effort…

  6. The only way Juda would bite someone is if they were a ham sandwich. Glad you bailed Dejay out.

  7. BA – If you are still in Missoula head on over to Missoula Bicycle Works on S. Higgins Ave to buy maps of the area trails. If you are low on coin, just get your MTB ass up to the Rattlesnake Trailhead, they got trails a plenty up that way, and its really tough to get lost. I’m gonna be back in town later this week to get stuff, if you go to Bicycle Works, and leave a number for me with a guy named Reed or Chad, I’ll give you a ring and show you around.

  8. 40 hands – i went to bicycle works today before i hit rattlesnake trail and talked to chad. i realized that i did not know your real name, only your alias, which by the way was unknown at the shop. anyways, i would definitely be game for a ride later this week, this weekend, or early next week. get back at me via email with your contact info if you wanna tear up some rattlesnake or something.

    -BA – balter@email.arizona.edu

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