Breck Epic racers awoke to the pitter patter of rain upon the rooftops. The threat of rain loomed which had for the finish line moved up in the forecast and fell all evening and into the morning. After the 6:15AM decision to postpone the race by 2 hours promoters shortened a 35 mile day to a 17 mile day after working closely with local authorities. Wave starts were also implemented as the higher up sections of trail were no longer going to be used.
As riders came to the line it was clear that the opening day of the 6 day endurance stage race was going to look a lot more like a prologue than expected. Riders would pilot their steeds up pavement and into the singletrack in less than a mile as legs and lungs seared with the high alpine air. Cold morning temperatures quickly abated and the singletrack proved to be as sticky as some conjectured. Immediately in the men’s race Canyon-Topeak rider Jeremiah Bishop paced hard to gain a little breathing room. Bishop would ride clean of most of the pack in the early singletrack to what he described as an “incredible” win. “Thin air moves out of the way faster” Bishop told me. He seemed elated at the finish line to bring home the fastest time of the day (1:17) and pull on the Castelli leaders jersey. Behind Bishop Cyclocross star Jamey Driscoll (Pivot Cycles) took the second seat. Trailing Driscoll was CZ racing’s Fernando Riveras Paes.
The women’s race was a similar one-shot show as US Marathon Champion Amy Biesel (Orange Seal) charged out of the gate and into her more familiar thin air. Biesel would put substantial distance between herself and second place US National Ultra Endurance Champion Carla Williams (Joe’s Bike Shop). Rounding out the bronze medal was XXX
Riders from all over the world come for the Breck Epic and stage merely whets the appetite. Stage 2 features a little over 40 miles with 6500 ft of elevation gain and ribbons of the Colorado Trail; an over 500 mile long singletrack path through some of the most rugged landscape in the United States.
The boxes set after the abbreviated stage 1 riders set about preparing their machines at the SRAM neutral support, refilling the Orange Seal sealant in their tires and squeezing the fatigue out of their stems at the Elevated Legs mobile recovery station.