By Eddie Clark
(August 12, 2012) BRECKENRIDGE, Colo.— The fourth edition of the Breck Epic is rolling once again with plenty of sunshine and an abundance of Summit County’s finest singletrack. As in previous years, the race sold out once again, which adds an element of exclusive ambience that is indicative of the quality of this event.
At 8:30am sharp, racers got under way with the Pennsylvania Gulch stage that sent them on a 39.5 mile journey across the mountains east of Breckenridge. With 5,419 feet of climbing on tap, those coming in hot from the Leadville Trail 100 were sure to feel some extra burn.
Matthys Beukes of South Africa was the first to open up a gap on the opening climb up Pensylvania Gulch. Further back, his Squirt Lube teammate BenMelt Swanepoel was slowly getting himself into the race. The strategy paid off as Swanepoel was able to win the first stage with a time of 3:11:25.9.
“It was pretty fast, I must admit my legs were pretty dead at the start. So I just took it conservatively and kind of sped up and was lucky enough to get to the front. I had my teammate Matthys up ahead and we worked together a little bit before he got a puncture at about 20km in”, recalled Swanepoel.
Ben Sonntag came in second at 2:07 back, and Breckenridge local Josh Tostado took third at 4:36 off the winning time.
Mountain Flyer blogger Macky Franklin riding a brand new REEB belt drive set a massive pace to take first in the singlespeed race with a time of 3:25:31.1, and Brady Kappius kept him honest by finishing in second at just 1:22.1 back. Third place singlespeed went to Dax Massey.
In the women’s open race, Yolandi Du Toit made it a great day for the South Africans of team Squirt Lube by also taking a solid win on one of the weeks hardest stages. Amanda Carey notably didn’t have her best day, but as she happily recounted, it certainly wasn’t her worst day either, which was evidenced by her second place finish at 5:29.2 back. Third went to Karen Jarchow at a distant 17:47.3 off the winning time. Notably, the first place singlespeed woman, Jennifer Wilson of New Mexico came in at 4:13:46 which would have netted her third in the overall.
Stay tuned for daily stage updates on the Mountain Flyer.