Stage 4 of the Breck Epic featured around 6,000 ft of climbing towards the town of Keystone. Riders would ascend out of town much the same way they departed two days prior before traversing towards the town of Keystone, up “Vomit Hill,” and then going up the gradual ascent of Keystone Gulch; gaining over 2,000ft in one pull. Keystone ski resort in view and summit in the crosshairs riders would reach the top of the Keystone gulch climb and drop once again onto the Colorado Trail. What goes up must come down as riders sent down 2000 vertical feet of blissful Colorado singletrack. Once again in the valley riders faced yet another single and double track climb before returning towards the Breckenridge town center via the amazing Side Door singletrack. Side Door’s wide open berms-with-a-view played host to epic final battles before riders reached the finish.
US Military riders Rebecca Gross and CJ Hernandez
Pro men once again saw Jeremiah Bishop (Canyon-Topeak Factory Racing) with a commanding lead but forced to play chess with young rippers looking to prove themselves on the big stage. Orange Seal’s Levi Kurlander in particular sought to distance himself from the competition. However what was an early break would become an early chase group as Bishop’s group was lead off course briefly by CZ Racing’s Fernando Paez. The small group of 5 made quick work of reconnecting at the front of the race and once they did Kurlander and Bishop continued to push through and break off the front. The lead group of two would stay away with Kurlander sprinting to the line to take the win as wise-man Bishop celebrated the younger rider’s win.
In the women’s race things tightened up on stage 4. With the absence of Orange Seal’s Amy Biesel due to a broken collarbone on stage 2 Ultra Endurance National Champion rider Carla Williams (Joe’s Bike Shop) has been firmly in control of the women’s lead. Stage 4 saw some tightening as Boulder Cyclesport’s Katrina Englestead nearly snuck up to the Ultra Endurance rider. Only 4 minutes back on the finish line of stage 4. Williams still carries a substantial lead but each day brings new opportunity for disaster or danger.
Stage 5 will be the famed and feared Wheeler Pass. Two ascents over 12,500 Feet and a challenging descent from said height many riders call Wheeler the Queen stage despite its relatively short length.