Team Alpine Orthopaedics rider Jari Kirkland takes title at Breckenridge 100

“If you blow in three hours, you’re not going to make it to ten”

Team Alpine Orthopaedics Cycling pro rider Jari Kirkland hit her stride last weekend, winning the Breckenridge 100 bike race.
Kirkland has been hampered on the racing circuit all summer long by one thing: the length of the race. In the Mountain States Cup cross-country race series, races are limited to, at the most, 42 miles. That’s about the same distance that Kirkland is just getting going.

 

 

“The longer the better,” says Kirkland. “Give me the long stuff.”
Kirkland opened the summer season back in May with a race more her style, winning the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde. Since then, she’s been held back on the cross-country courses.
As a result, while she had a chance to compete at the cross-country nationals last weekend at Sol Vista, she opted to ride in the Breckenridge 100 instead.
“It sounded way more fun to race for 100 miles than two hours at nationals,” says Kirkland.
The Breckenridge 100 consists of three loops, a la the CB Classic, all starting and finishing at the same spot.
Loop one is 30 miles long with 4,300 feet of climbing and starts with a massive climb climaxing at 12,500 feet. Kirkland managed her adrenaline off the start fully aware of what lay ahead.
“In a race like that I have all day to go,” says Kirkland. “If you blow in three hours, you’re not going to make it to 10.”
Kirkland was riding through the first loop along with another woman but fell into second place during a stop to refill her water.
She made quick work of the deficit to retake the lead before the end of the first lap.
Loop two consisted of 34.5 miles of riding with 4,650 feet of climbing. Kirkland never saw her closest adversary again but run into some personal trouble at the start of loop three.
She headed out for the final 35.5 miles and 4,060 feet of climbing with Team Alpine Orthopaedics rider Stewart Gross and planned on refueling at an aid station at the 85-mile mark.
Unfortunately, there was no aid station to be found and Kirkland was looking at a desperate situation with no water to drink or to help her get some food down.
Fortunately, Stewart was there to bail her out, offering up some of his water to get her through to the finish.
“Stew saved my life,” says Kirkland. “He sacrificed half of his bottle.”
She then set her sights on her pre-race goal of finishing in under 10 hours, and after crossing up and over Boreas Pass twice, she hit her goal, finishing in a time of nine hours, 59 minutes and seven seconds for the women’s title.
Gross finished in 12th place among the men with a time of nine hours, 53 minutes and seven seconds, and Team Alpine Orthopaedics athlete Laura Anderson won the 68-mile race finishing in a time of seven hours, 26 minutes and 39 seconds.
Kirkland looks forward to returning to the event next year with her water and food situation a little more intact.
“I’m pretty psyched to go and do it again,” says Kirkland, “go back with the water I need and the nutrition I need.”
Until then she’s got another Mountain States Cup race on the radar and then an adventure race in Costa Rica in August joining up with a team from Sweden.

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