Breck Epic: That’s a Wrap
By Jason Sumner
Keeping this short and sweet as we’ve got a party to go to. Or as Breck Epic race director Mike McCormack, calls it, the Gold Pan stage. (if you’ve ever corrodes around Breck, you understand. If not, do a Google search for, “Breckenridge’s best dive bar.”)
Friday’s final day was 32 miles, but only had 3,400 feet of climbing. That’s not to say it was easy. For those who kept the throttle twisted, stage 6 was an ultra-pedaly, all-out dash to the finish with very little time for recovery.
Those who backed off were treated to beer and/or whiskey hand-ups coming and going at the summit of Boreas Pass (we crossed over twice). And lots of sweet, flowy singletrack, including a little number called Gold Dust that was akin to riding your mountain bike on a bobsled track. Big banked turns, mostly smooth dirt, and a lengthy pitch that was big ring friendly. Tons of fast moving fun.
In the chase for the big trophies, all stayed the same with Ben Sonntag and Amanda Carey holding onto their top placings on GC. Sonntag was pushed to his limits, and ended up winning by just four minutes. That’s not much when you consider there was 6 days of racing, 240 miles covered, and 37,000 feet of climbing — all of it at or above 9,600 feet of elevation.
Chalk it up to consistency. The native of Germany who now lives in Durango, didn’t win a single stage, but never had a truly bad day. South African Ben Melt Swanepoel won the final stage and ended up second overall.
Also a big shout out to one of my housemates for the week, cyclocross honch Jake Wells (Stan’s No Tubes). Wells had some rough luck early in the week when his bottom bracket disintegrated. But he kept plugging and pulled off a solid third place effort today, which I believe pushed him into the top 10 on GC. Wells is truly one of the nice guys of bike racing. No oversized ego, exceptionally down-to-earth and friendly, and super talented on just about any kind of bike. Watch out 2012-2013 CX season.
In the women’s Breck Epic GC race, Carey’s margin was far greater, but I’ve yet to see final results, so no exact times for now. Safe to say she crushed it, though.
In the men’s open singlespeed affair, which has been given the tongue-in-cheek moniker of Single Speed Stage Race World Championships, Mountain Flyer blogger Macky Franklin held off Brady Kappius for the GC win. Now it’s time to see what the winner’s “trophy” is. As you may know, winners of the one-day SS world’s are required to get a tattoo.
Finally, I have to mention that it all came together for me today. I managed to get an early jump on the 40+ men’s field, and help the gap all the way to the end for the first mountain bike race win of any kind ever in my whole damn life. At the finish, 40+ GC winner Jeff Cospolich was on my ass like white on rice. But the track was a little too tight for him to get around, allowing for a narrow bike length stage W. Props to Jeff, though. He won 4 of 6 stages, and was clearly the strongest guy in our field.
Ok, that’s all I have. Time to head back into Breck for a little post-race shenanigans. Thanks for reading.