By Rob Quinn
The Firecracker 50. A family tradition.
The prognosis was Grimm. It’s July 3rd at the start of a very busy day at Green Mountain Sports in Lakewood. Owner, Corky Grimm in giving my daughter’s bike the once over twice (the title of song by an 80’s punk band called X and I can’t resist using that one when I get bikes worked on). Not good. Rear hub, front shock, chain, cluster, brake system. But with a little Wisconsin ingenuity he gets it workable for the day, while a line of anxious customers form. I have by the way…just committed the cardinal sin of a team rider. Bringing in your busted bike the day before a race (the day before a holiday no less) and have the owner rig it together to last the day. Next time I show my face in there (today actually) I better be baring gifts.
This article is about Family traditions! According to the people that monitor these types of things…American’s are shedding long standing family traditions and that’s supposedly not a good thing.
Sooo let me tell you about one of ours…The Firecracker 50. A long standing Summit County Mountain bike race that features two monstrous laps around Breckenridge’s upper reaches…starting with perhaps the highlight of the day…a parade start…if ever that term can be used, it’s for this event…through main street Breckenridge, packed with 4th of July vacationers, the race starts the 4th of July event off. The collective energy is incredible.
The party if over quickly. The course takes you dogleg left up towards the labyrinth of trails accessed on top of Boreas Pass. Each 25 mile lap is over 6k in vertical with the descending as challenging as the climbing. Simply put…other than the awesome buffet at the end…and the food offered at the rest stops…there ain’t no free lunch on that course.
I don’t know what it is…Put me on a 100 mile point to point and I’ll finish. Give me two or three laps on a tough course and my mind gets in the way. With the “if you think the 1st lap sucks just wait until the 2nd”
On the most fun day of the year to BBQ and party. Tough love.
Enter the team relay. One hard lap (revised course this year with ONLY 4k of climbing…not 6K… due to snow and avalanche debris). One great party. And you can enjoy both.
As usual, Maverick Sports hosts an impeccably produced event that just gets better each year with the full support of The Summit County endurance community. The party is just as good as the race. The race is pretty damn good. Check out their menu of events at www.mavsports.com
No records set. No podium position challenged. Just a dad and his daughter grinding out a lap each, returning to the truck with a T-shirt, a pair of sox and a used finishers pint glass with another rich deposit in the experience bank account. They say when the end is near you don’t think of how much you have in the bank, you think of traditions that became memories. The drive back down the hill was fast and easy with the two of us talking story about the race and old friends we saw, but mostly talking about what we are going to eat! The one thing I love about a race is there is always a start, a middle and an ending, and somewhere in between something interesting will usually happen.
I had a slow rear leak. For some reason (only during a race) when I stopped to top it off with my Co2 cartridge, my thread on my inflator head must had become bent because when I screwed my air in, it shot off like a 4th of July rocket! Not good. Just then a rider from Denver Porsche Audi pulls up and offers me his air. I accept and thank him profusely and ramble on, not seeing him again the rest of the day. A random act of kindness reminds me to be a nicer more considerate person. A takeaway worth the price of admission right there.
When we pull into the driveway with our feast ready for grilling, we settled on Beef Kabobs, we make a pact to race The South Boundary 40from Taos to AngelFire New Mexico August 4th. We’ll ramp the training up and really give it a go. Could this be another Family tradition?
But first a quick run to Green Mountain Sports to drop a couple of tired rigs for repair….oh and not to be that guy we talked about earlier…team douchebag guy…but… I know you are short handed…but I’ve decided to race Winter Park tomorrow so can you do mine while I wait….
Latte’s for the house!