Yesterday started a busy month of racing with the COSMIC Five Peaks Race in Breckenridge. Jan Koles and I teamed up in hopes of winning the coed division and placing well in the overall standings. Mission accomplished. And the best part – we had fun.
With a short skin and ski to the start as a warm-up I said good morning to Jan as the race started right at 6am. After an hour and 20 minutes of climbing we reached Peak 9 for the first time in 4th place overall. Despite being warm for 7am in ‘Breckenfridge’, the wind was howling and we were pelted with granular snow on the descent. Jan and I quickly mastered the teamwork of the transition with him arriving a few seconds in front of me and helping with my skins. We climbed a steep boot pack and then hiked a wind scoured grassy and rocky ridge back to Peak 9. With the bare ground it felt as if we were racing in Europe.
Jan and I battled with the team of Chris Kroger/Scott Simmons for 3rd place overall as the teams of Max Taam/Pete Gaston and Bryan Wickenhauser/Mike Kloser had opened up a gap on us. As we topped out on another boot pack we skinned towards the top of Peak 8 with a tailwind blowing us right up the ridge. The wind was blowing us over as we tried to pull our skins so we dropped into Whale’s Tale in an attempt for some reprieve.
Scott and Chris passed us on the descent and left for the final climb a few seconds in front of us. I fell off of Chris, Scott and Jan by about a minute which gave Chris and Scott 3rd place overall. My legs were fried so we took our time on the last descent and finished in a time of 3 hours 55 minutes 7 seconds. Good enough for 1st place in the coed division and 4th overall. Despite being a fairly short race, I don’t think I took in enough liquid or food which was probably why my legs were so tired by the end. Throughout the race I only ate 1-1/2 packets of Honey Stinger Chews and 1 Honey Stinger Gel as well as about 16 oz. of water with Nuun.
My Honey Stinger teammate Max Taam and my Grand Traverse partner Pete Gaston took the overall win from Bryan Wickenhauser and Mike Kloser. Wick broke his ski behind his binding on the first descent and toughed it out for second place. Very impressive.
Race organizer Pete Swenson changed the course up a bit from the inaugural race last year and was thinking the winners would come in at around 5 hours. I’m not sure why we were so much faster but it probably had something to do with the great conditions, snow and volunteers. With no wrong turns made and volunteers giving beta on what to expect next, the race was superbly organized. Thanks to all the volunteers especially the ones I know personally – Pete Swenson, Monique Merrill, Sebastien Sxay and his girlfriend Anne and Jason McGowin.
Five Peaks results are here.
My Garmin info here. I’m not sure why it shows we had 20 minutes of stopped time. Our total transition time equaled about 5 – 8 minutes.
Great photos from Kevin Krill at Crested Butte Photography here.