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Breck Epic Stage 4 - Breckenridge, CO

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |August 14, 2014 2:40 AM
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Breck Epic - Stage 4
Breckenridge, Colorado

Written by: Marlee Dixon

Marlee Dixon Wins Again and Continues Her Mission to Recover Time Alex Grant Looking Unbeatable for the Men

Stage 4 of the Breck Epic started this morning and waking up today at 6am, I was wishing stage 4 was a stay in bed day. Stage 4 is argued by some (myself included) as the "Queen StageĒ or the most difficult stage of the race.  Itís 43 miles and over 7000í of elevation gain- the biggest day of the week with some sustained difficult climbs.  Similar to the past 2 days, we started in a mass neutral start out of Breckenridge and headed up Gold Run road.  This morning I was very close to the front of the pack and I saw Alex Grant (Sho-Air/Cannondale) and Kyosuke Takei, also called "TKĒ, chatting in the lead pack. Then as soon as we turned onto the dirt road, they sent it.  I had a hard time digesting how fast TK took off with Alex right on his tail.  Itís incredible to see the speed and power of the top men of the Epic. 

The course today went up some classic and very difficult climbs- Vomit Hill, Keystone Gulch Road to Westridge and Rock Island Gulch among some smaller climbs.  We also got some awesome descents down the Colorado Trail, Side Door, Minnie Mine and just some overall fun trails like the Aqueduct trail and Turks. 

For the Pro men today, Alex Grant took the win again in 3:19:49 with Joan Llordella (Buff Pro) in 2nd in 3:20:30 and Bryan Dillon (Grigg's Orthopedics) in 3rd in 3:22:18.  TK crossed the line 2nd right behind Alex but because he was DNFed on day 2, so his results donít count in the overall.  The top 5 pro men all finished together today and rode for most of the entire race together.  Ben Sonntag (Stan's NoTubes) had a flat, which dropped him to 4th place with a time of 3:24:54. 

For the Pro women I took the win today in a time of 3:59:51; less than a minute ahead of Catherine Williamson (Squirt Lube) with a time of 4:00:49 followed by Kate Aardal (Ridley's) in third with a time of 4:05:21and Kelly Boniface (Moots) in fourth with a time of 4:10:17.  Catherine and I leap frogged for the first half of the race and then I passed her on the climb up to Westridge.  After that I knew she was right behind me but didnít know how far away she was.  Kate caught up to me before the climb up Keystone but I managed to stay ahead of her and gain distance on the climb. 

Today was a close race for us women.  I definitely was feeling tired from the previous three days of racing and struggling.  The highlights of my day though were all the awesome men Iím riding with who cheer me on.  The little push on the back and whisper "go get Ďem, MarleeĒ as Iím heading up the first climb or starting to fade a little bit on the Keystone climb and having two or three of the guys look back and tell me to get up there with them, were aspects of racing that you donít realize how much you need, until they happen. I could have cried on Keystone road today, just emotional as I sometimes get while racing, and it was the little pep talks, the encouraging pushes on the back, the look over the shoulder to make sure I wasnít letting up that kept me pushing for more today. 

After todayís win I moved up to 3rd overall, Kate Aardal remains in 1stwith less than 4 minutes on Catherine Williamson.  

Tomorrow we climb up and over Wheeler pass then itís a rugged, technical descent to Copper- should make for an interesting race.   

Stay tuned to MTBRaceNews.com to see what happens over the next two days.

Click Here for Full Stage 4 Results

Click Here for GC Results Following Stage 4

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