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Breck Epic Stage 3 - Breckenridge, CO

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |August 13, 2014 2:11 AM
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Breck Epic - Stage 3
Breckenridge, Colorado

Written by: Marlee Dixon

Three Stages Three Different Stage Winners for the Women; Marlee Dixon Takes Mount Guyot, Alex Grant Solidifies Lead With Stage Win

Today 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. 

Todayís 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. 

Today, 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. 

For 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.

For 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.

Stage 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

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