I Admit: I am Giddy

The day following the Leadville 100, there’s a 10k running race for charity. It’s a great cause, and it’s a short distance, and as far as I know, nobody takes it very seriously as a race.

And yet, in the eleven years I’ve done the Leadville 100, I have never done this 10k. My reason is simple: I am too beat. I am sore and tired and in no mood for any more exercise shenanigans.

Which makes my new — as of last night, in fact — obsession even more foolish than it otherwise would be.

I want to race the Brian Head Epic, the first MTB Epic stage race in the U.S.

The Essentials
Here’s the idea in a nutshell: four long days of mountain biking, with each day being around 50-60 miles.

Each day starts in or near Brianhead, so I wouldn’t have to pack my stuff and move it each day. Just get up, do the ride, eat, sleep, and repeat.

I think it’s really funny that I began the previous sentence with the word “just.”

As I am prone to do when I get all excited about something, I wanted more information, so I called the race organizer, Tom Spiegel. Here’s what he says the four days will be like.

Day 1: Drive out to Navajo Lake, about 25 miles from Brian Head (there might be shuttles available). Ride 25 miles on fire road, then 32 miles on the Virgin River Rim trail. Which, I am compelled to point out, is some of the most incredible forested singletrack in Utah, and therefore in the world. This is the kind of trail you come do just because you love mountain biking.

Day 2: Start in Panguitch, then out to Casto’s Canyon via Mt. Dutton. Back to Panguitch. 60 miles. I frankly expect it will be this second day that will be the hardest for me. I’ve never done two giant rides on back to back days before. I will likely have gone out too hard on the first day, and will be tired on the second day. I’m going to tattoo “Pace Yourself” on the back of my hands. Which won’t do any good because I always wear gloves when I ride, but still.

Day 3: Start at Brian Head and do about 2/3 of the traditional Brian Head Epic 100. Not the full 100 miles of the race, as VeloNews reports, for which I am grateful (for those of you wondering whether it’s VeloNews or me that’s right on this contradiction, I’m the right one).

Day 4: Down to Parowan and back up, which is about 4500 feet of descending, followed by about 4500 feet of climbing, in 50 miles. So the race ends with a massive grunt of an interminable uphill, just the way it should.

I have to say, I have not been so excited for a race since my first Leadville 100. That is not hyperbole, either. I’m always saying that my great gift in mountain biking is to keep turning the cranks. This will be an awesome test of that gift.

More Details
Here are a few extra details from my conversation with Tom Siegel:

  • Cost: The entry fee will be $400. This, to me, seems like an incredible bargain, for a four-day race.
  • Prizes: There will be cash prizes for the pros, and every finisher gets a jersey and a medal. I, for one, look forward to wearing that jersey.
  • How many people? Tom’s hoping for between 200 and 400 people. Beyond that, you’ve got a singletrack conga line situation in several places on the course.
  • Support: There will be fully-stocked aid stations along the courses each day. And — not settled, but possible — breakfast and dinner each day, too. Which makes the $400 even more of a bargain.
  • Who’s the Title Sponsor? Sho-Air, an airfreight forwarder, which also sponsors an MTB racing team.
  • When’s the race? August 21 – 24.
  • Where can I find more info? Team Big Bear will be posting info up on their website around the third week in March, once they get more logistics nailed down.

I’ve talked to Kenny; he’s excited for this race. I’ve talked to Rick Sunderlage (not his real name); he’s excited for this race.

And I, for reasons I simply cannot fathom, am incredibly excited for this race.

Suddenly, I feel a greater urgency about my training and diet. I’ve got a four-day epic to prepare for.

Anyone else thinking about it?

PS: I beat my weight loss goal for this week by 0.6 pounds. I’ve set a goal for next week of another two pounds. The jackpot for next Friday’s weigh-in (i.e., the amount you can win if I don’t meet my goal) goes up to $100.

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