What- haven’t you ever heard of the 19th hole on the golf course?
When I started the Breck Epic, I didn’t even know that there was something called “Stage 7.” I did, however, know that up until this point, I’ve trained my ass off, been early to bed/rise, sacrificed the consumption of many beers and all sorts of highly caloric food, and proceeded to race harder than I ever thought possible. All of those things, when combined in a chronic manner, can lead to burnout. I’m not saying that I’m burnt out by any stretch, I’m just saying that I have fully celebrated Stage 7 in a way that is satisfying to the burnout-prevention soul.
Last night, after the final awards ceremony, I headed over to a local dive bar with a bunch of other racers. I had a couple of beers (really- just a couple… they’re stronger at altitude) and proceeded to dance to cheesy pop club music for at least the next two hours. Today, I had breakfast at the Blue Moose (favorite breakfast place in Breck), sat by the river and drank coffee, laid around for a while, and ate lunch at Empire Burger. They have an all-natural, local beef burger. I got one with fries. Gawd, it’s to die for. After a short ride, I lounged around, packed, and met the last remaining racers I knew still in town for pizza (and a couple more beers).
It’s all about decompression. The mental aspect of preparing for and executing a race like the Breck Epic is equally as hard as the physical aspects. Of course, I love doing it. I also love acting like a normal human being for a few days after it. Tomorrow, I’m heading back towards Memphis. I still love Memphis, and I still consider the Syllamo Trails to be more difficult (technically speaking) than anything I’ve found on my most recent adventure.
Ok, so maybe the high pass, over-the-treeline descents are more terrifying. At least there aren’t as many rocks up there. The rocks around here don’t get slippery when they’re wet, either.
I’ll be sad to leave, but I miss home equally as much as I don’t want to leave here. Hopefully, next summer will include more Epic-ness and adventure.