marked the halfway point in the Breck Epic. It was arguably called the "queenís
stageĒ for being the most difficult stage (although some would argue that stage
4 is the hardest). The stage started in
town with a mass start out toward French Gulch road. From here we started climbing up Minnie Mine
to Side Door to Lincoln road- a pretty extensive climb that helped spread out
the droves of racers. Then it was down
Little French on to our second climb up French Pass. This is the most scenic climb in Breck with
massive views of Mount Guyot. Itís a tough
climb with one to two hike-a-bike areas, depending how badass your climbing
skills are. At the top of the pass were
a few locals with skittles to get us going for the epic descent down French
Pass. If you have a minute here to
look, itís a beautiful view down into Breckenridge and over to Park
County. The French Pass descent is a steep high-alpine
descent with a few techy areas that goes on for a long time. Itís a thrill ride that you can fly down,
avoiding the few sharp rock faces along the way. From here we headed up the
road to the top of Georgia Pass and were rewarded with another epic descent
down the Colorado Trail. Then we were on
to our last big climb- American Gulch road, which is a long.. long climb, back
to a fun descent down Lincoln road, Side Door and Minnie Mine again.
stage was 38 miles with over 6500 feet of elevation gain. It was a very challenging day with some large
extended climbs but most importantly, some of the best descents! When Iím racing sometimes I think about what
Iíll write in my race report- how awesome the guys with skittles were on the
top of French pass, how great it feels to hear people cheering you on that day
or whatever else stuck out in my mind.
for me, felt very smooth. These are my trails that I ride on normally
and I love them. Being able to race on
them and push myself as hard as possible was an amazing feeling. I donít think Iíve ever let loose going down
French Pass like I did today, coming close to wiping out in multiple sections,
but holding it together for an ear to ear grin. On the third day, Iím starting to ride with some of the same guys, chit-chatting
and being pushed by people who are becoming familiar to me, is so cool. Everyone Iíve met on the trail has been
awesome. Itís like we are racing but
weíre also cheering each other on through the tough climbs and after the great
descents. With racers from over 25
countries, so many new and old faces, itís been an epic three days.
the pro men today, with a repaired dislocated shoulder, Japanese National
Champion Kyosuke Takei would have taken the win if he hadnít been disqualified
after not finishing yesterday. A huge cheer
to him for coming back from a bad crash yesterday, having an injured shoulder
and just crushing it. Alex Grant took
the actual win today, only a few seconds behind Kyosuke with a time of 3:09:30,
Joan Llordella finished 2nd with a time of 3:16:38 followed by Ben
Sonntag in 3rd with a time of 3:17:57.
the pro women, I took the win today! I started a little back in the pack but
was able to catch Kelly Boniface on the first dirt road section and had Kate
Aardal in my sights until I was able to pass her at aid station 2 just beyond
the French Pass descent. Kate and I both
passed Catherine Williamson on the French Gulch descent. My time today was 3:56:08, Kate Aardal
finished second at 3:59:57 and Catherine Williamson finished in third with a
time of 4:08:17.
three is complete and now itís time to put my feet up, eat a lot of food,
hydrate and get some rest for another big day tomorrow. Epic.
Tomorrow's stage 4 is the Aqueduct Loop. It's the second longest stage of the Breck Epic at 44 miles and features 6,300 feet of climbing.
Check in with MTB Race News for results, photos, and reports from tomorrow's stage