The Breck Epic is a troublesome 6-day mountain bike race within the peaks surrounding Breckenridge, Colorado. And when one lady’s husband died earlier than competing this 12 months, she picked up his bib and headed to the beginning line.
“I really feel like I owe it to him to complete what he began.” — Daybreak Whaley
In contrast to most Breck Epic opponents, who spend 6 months to a 12 months coaching for the race, Daybreak Whaley didn’t determine to enter till 6 weeks in the past.
It was not by alternative. On June 27, Whaley was within the kitchen of her house in Hamilton, Montana, when her husband of 19 years, Marland, suffered an enormous cardiac arrest and died. He was 60.
Marland had been a standout rider his complete life, first as a five-time bike trials nationwide champion and later as an endurance mountain biker. He’d gained the masters title within the Nationwide Extremely Endurance collection and this 12 months deliberate to race the Leadville 100, then begin the Breck Epic the next morning.
The day after he died, Whaley’s niece prompt she enter the races for Marland, who’d launched her to mountain biking shortly after they met.
“I don’t even suppose I might journey my bike out of the driveway proper now,” she replied. However it received her considering, and the subsequent day she says God informed her in her bed room: “You’re going to do that, and you aren’t alone.”
Whaley dropped to the carpet and began sobbing.
Using for Marland: Celebrating Life within the Mountains
She had struggled to schedule a memorial service for Marland. Doing the Epic out of the blue appeared like a prerequisite to celebrating his life. She received permission from race organizers to switch his entry into her identify.
Coaching was condensed however cathartic. “It was the one factor that felt regular to me,” she mentioned.
When she informed her native store, Crimson Barn Bicycles, that she needed to race Marland’s new full-suspension bike, they put in a shorter seat publish, new stem, new saddle, and 28-tooth chainring to adapt to the Epic’s monster climbs. By no means thoughts that Marland rode a big body and he or she rode a small.
Because the race neared, Whaley grew intimidated by the 240 miles and 40,000 ft of climbing — virtually all of it above 10,000 ft of elevation. She thought of altering to the Three-day race as an alternative of the 6-day however determined towards it.
“I’ve one thing driving me to simply strive, even when I fail midway by way of,” she mentioned. “I determine I’ve been by way of the worst mentally and bodily with shedding him, and this race goes to be every thing I can do exactly to outlive and end. However I’ve to do it.”
After the Epic concludes, Whaley will return to Montana and maintain Marland’s memorial service on August 24.
This text initially appeared on the Breck Epic weblog and is reprinted right here with permission.