The rain and the cold that battered riders during Stage 1 moved out with the moon. The Breck Epic was greeted with sun and clear skies this morning to the relief the riders. With clean drivetrains and hopefully dry shoes, the competitors looked to get after a big day of climbing taking them far into the mountains and onto the Colorado Trail.
Whatever excitement the clear skies brought to today’s stage the first real test heading up Gold Run would undoubtedly be putting a damper on the collective. After a long slog across the jeep trail, the race dipped into its first section of singletrack. Upfront were the usual suspects from yesterday with men’s race leader Keegan Swenson, Russell Finsterwald and Ryan Standish working together for the bulk of the day. Swenson would go onto taking today’s stage as well and lengthening his lead for the overall.
In the women’s race, Katerina Nash also repeated victory keeping teammate Hannah Finchamp a few minutes off of her pace. There is a host of other categories going on as well, and they all have worthy leaders: Tandems, Duo’s, age groups, Juniors, Singlespeeders and on and on.
It should, however, be noted that a large contingency of single speeders from the east coast has descended upon the Breck Epic. Descending is most of what they will be doing on their bikes, with steep grades and thin air, one’s gear ratio selection is a crucial one.
The course today was in great shape, yesterdays rain provided riders with a near-perfect race track. While there was plenty of awful and steep unforgiving climbing, there was also plenty of delightful singletrack sections. Flowing through pine forest and moss high above Breckenridge it’s no wonder why so many people show up to ride and race on these trails.
Tomorrow the race heads higher and further into the mountains. After two very tough days of racing, it will be interesting to see if either Nash or Swenson will show any weakness with four days of racing left to go.