The 6th and final stage of the Breck Epic is no soft ball. While it features fewer technical sections than previous days at only 30 miles in length the course is still 100% dirt and still well over 100 feet per mile of singletrack and dirt road climbing. Two ascents above 11,500 feet and a relatively un-technical day would make for a tactical race for the riders still seeking to improve their standing for the week or seeking a stage win.
Racers paced in waves out of the start/finish and up the Aspen Alley trail to Bakers Tank trail, passing old mining centers and operations on their way to the summit of Boreas Pass and the Continental Divide. Once there they drop down the Gold Dust trail. The twisty bermy singletrack once purposed to deliver soil rich water to be panned by miners for the gold locked beneath the earth. Now it delivered grins and whoops to riders seeking to finish their week of racing off right. A return trip up the sooth gravel surface to the top of Boreas Pass road once again allowed riders the opportunity to put time in on their competition.
Atop Boreas Pass the final time riders could check all of the week’s summits off their lists and descend back towards the finish line. One 2000ft descent away from their finisher’s belt buckle riders were free to rip to their fatigued hearts content down to the final finish line of the week.
Razor sharp even after a week of racing the pro men shot up the Aspen Alley ascent with purpose. Stage wins on the line and potentially a shuffling in the standings even race leader Jeremiah Bishop couldn’t afford to let anyone out of his sight. The Construction Zone race team was eager to position one of their riders at the front after a stage win by Nash Dory and consistent presence of several of their teammates in the top 10 on each stage. An early pace-line up Aspen Alley and to the top of Boreas Pass was in effect as the team worked to find chinks in the armor of solo operators Levi Kurlander (Orange Seal), Jamey Driscoll (Pivot-Maxxis/ DNA), and even race leader Jeremiah Bishop (Canyon-Topeak Factory Racing). The pace group wouldn’t last long however as Bishop took control down the Gold Dust trail; distancing himself from the CZ team until only himself Dory and Driscoll remained.
The small chase group were already familiar with each other having spent many hours of the Epic race week on each other’s wheel and none could shake each other. A quick and violent kick in the last section of trail put Bishop and 20 years his junior Nash Dory into a sprint to the line with Jeremiah Bishop jumping across the finish with his final stage win of the week in just under two hours.
In the women’s field a confident Carla Williams allowed her competition to go up the road ever so slightly on the final descent down to the finish line. Katrina Engelsted of Boulder Cycle Sport brought home her first stage win in 02:33:28 over race leader Williams (Joe’s Bike Shop). A newcomer to the podium 17 year old Maddie Gerritsen (Natural Grocers) found herself on top of a strong performance to bring home bronze for the day and sneak a little farther up the standings in the overall women’s race for the week
Gordon Wadsworth and Elliot Baring (Pivot/Maxxis) brought home the Pro Men’s duo race after mixing it up in the top 10s all week despite lowlander lungs and Vince Anderson (Cloven Hoofed Sharks) defended his SingleSpeed title for his own Breck Epic “World MF Champion”jersey.
2019 Early bird pricing is in effect for the Breck Epic with exciting changes and developments in store for the Epic. After officially turning down the Ironman Corporations offer to buy the event director Mike McCormack has assured riders that stoke will be higher in 2019 than ever before. He continues his unique racer-centric perspective in developing the race and will surly bring the excitement to another level entirely!