Stage 2 of the Breck Epic sent riders out onto the Colorado Trail for their first taste of the high mountain singletrack. Riders Pedaled a brisk pace out of downtown Breckenridge CO towards the gravel access roads or Brewery Mtn before descending to the Galena Ditch trail which traversed towards Keystone resort and the Colorado Trail. All told riders were staring down the barrel of around 43 miles and 6600 ft of elevation gain.
Canyon-Topeak Factory racing’s Jeremiah Bishop donned his white leader’s jersey; filled his lungs with mountain air, and took on all comers. Bishop told me that “every second I can gain is a little buffer should something go wrong.” But on stage 2 not a thing went wrong for the veteran stage racer. Bishop would extend his lead over Pivot Cycles/DNA Cycling Jamey Driscoll to just under 5 minutes. Driscoll would have his own buffer against Orange Seal Cycling’s Levi Kurlander. Kurlander admitted that the effort was profound but that it fueled his drive for the remainder of the race.
In the women’s race things were smashing along for Orange Seal’s Amy Biesel. With an extremely comfortable lead over US National Ultra Endurance champion Carla Williams (Joe’s Bike Shop) Biesel seemed to be in control over her destiny for the week. Unfortunately sailing back into civilization Biesel caught a wheel and was launched from her bike. Emerging into the finishing chute a severely injured Biesel was rushed to the medical tent and a broken collarbone was suspected. Biesel was rushed to the hospital and the break confirmed. Biesel finished the stage with a win but would not be able to continue; leaving the door wide open for Williams or any other pro women to contend for the white leader’s jersey.
In other categories things indeed heated up. Darren Cox (Team “Wife”) narrowly kept his lead in the 50+ men’s race as the top three riders are seperated by less than 30 seconds total going into stage 3.
Pro Men’s duo saw a commanding performance by Wadsworth and Baring of Pivot Cycles/Maxxis Tires delivering some of the fastest times of the day on the alpine course to put in nearly 40 minutes on the second place duo.
Moving into the meat of the week’s racing with two passes of the Continental Divide and the much feared French Pass riders fire into stage 2 with dry powder and even drier trails.