Breck Epic Round II
Sunday kicks off the second installment of the Breck Epic. 6
days of high-altitude mountain bike racing in and around Breckenridge,
Colorado. The Epic differs slightly from other mountain bike stages races like
The BC Bike Race or TransRockies in that each stage begins and ends in
The Breck Epic boasts roughly 240 miles of classic Colorado
trail riding and 37,000 feet of climbing.
In itís second year the Breck Epic continues to evolve. Race
director Mike McCormack, sums up the changes to this yearís course by saying
simply, "Itís gonna be harder.Ē
Last seasonís prologue has been replaced with a 39-mile time
trial to kick things off. Some of last the shorter stages have been lengthened
with all the climbing and thin air Breck riders are accustomed to.
One thing that hasnít changed is the competition on hand at
this unique and challenging race.
Headlining the menís competition will be still undefeated stage race
virtuoso Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale). Bishop won all but one stage at last
yearís Breck Epic and will be difficult to unseat at this yearís event.
Bishop was forced to miss the marathon world championships last
month by a health issue but seems to have recovered nicely throwing down a
fifth place at the Leadville 100.
Breckenridge local and endurance specialist Josh Tostado
might be the best bet to end Bishopís winning streak that is now up to four
consecutive multi-day events. Tostado knows the Breck trails like no other,
which should help over the 240 miles.
The other top prospects include Bishopís Cannondale
teammates Alex Grant and Ben Sonntag. Both have incredible climbing ability and
tons of experience stage racing.
Other late entrants certain to break things apart at this
yearís Breck will be Matt Shriver (Fort Lewis College), Colin Cares
(Kenda/Felt), and Jorge Espinosa (Prerace.com). Espinosa snatched the final
stage of last yearís event from Bishop preventing him from taking the sweep.
On the womenís side, Pua Sawicki (TeamOkolestuff.com) and Tammy Jacques (Eriksen) are looking like
the women to beat. Pua, an ultra-endurance specialist, has won the American Mountain Classic stage race which was also at altitude. Tammy, a former Olympian has been enjoying some success
throughout the season with strong finishes at races like The Laramie Enduro and
XC national championships.
Jacques crashed out of the Firecracker 50 in Breckenridge
earlier this season and hopes to have more luck this time around.
Other contenders will be Coloradoan Jennifer Tilley and Jill
Damman (Fitzgeraldís). Damman has had a break out year this season with podium
finishes at the Laramie Enduro and Dirt, Sweat, and Gears.
With a collection of fantastic mountain bike terrain and
high-end competitors the second annual Breck Epic is poised to cement itís
status as one of the great races in the United States.
Stage One, Pennsylvania Creek, is a 41-mile trek comprised of many of the same trails as the Firecracker 50 racecourse.
Stay tuned to MTBRaceNews.com all week for the latest news
from the Breck Epic.