Race Report – Breck Epic mountain bike stage race, August 13-18

Justin and I finished up the 6-day Breck Epic mountain bike stage race on Friday with some solid results at this high altitude event in Breckenridge, Colorado.  The single track in this area is amazing (and occasionally rocky) with all six stages starting right in downtown Breckenridge and heading out in a different direction each day.  These are long days with race times over three hours for the pros and longer for mere mortals.

I was racing in the 50+ category and won the first three stages, building up a substantial lead of over 25 minutes in the process.  But in stage 3 I clipped a tree with the end of my handlebar, landing on my back which knocked the breath out of me and popped all three Gu packets that were in my pocket.  Stage 4 was rough for me as I had bruised some ribs in the crash and out of the saddle efforts and any descending caused significant pain.  But Stage 5 was the queen stage which went over Wheeler Pass at close to 12,500 ft so I committed to give it a go.  I finished stage 5 but decided that stage 6 was not in my best interest.  I race for fun and to me that involves going fast on the uphills and the downhills.  But the bruised ribs made that not possible, so I reluctantly did not take the start.

Justin raced in the pro category against Lachlan Morton, Jeremiah Bishop, and several other fast riders from Colorado. He suffered through the first stage to finish 10th overall, struggling to match the power of the other riders at high altitude. But as the week went on he only got stronger, with his best finishes in 6th overall on stage 3 and 4. After several days of fast racing in the chase groups, he moved up to 7th in the GC. Unfortunately his good luck came to an end on at the top of the descent off Wheeler Pass with a big gash in his tire. He changed the flat as fast as possible and finished the stage (after a crash), but lost almost 10 minutes in the overall. Luckily he had a strong last stage to end the week, and finished 9th in the pro overall!

Check out the great photos with race leaders in pink jerseys on the front row and Justin visible on the second row.


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