Czech Olympian Katerina Nash cleans up at the Grand Junction Off-Road, winning the backcountry race for a third time.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado (VN) — Czech Olympian Katerina Nash (Clif) cleaned up at the Grand Junction Off-Road, winning the backcountry race for a third time Sunday after a victory in the fat tire crit two days prior.

Evelyn Dong (Spry-Stan’s No Tubes) came home alone for second place, and Crystal Anthony (Liv) won a thrilling sprint with national champ Amy Beisel (Orange Seal) for third. Local rider Alexis Skarda (Stan’s-Kenda) rounded out the top-five.

Top-10 results

Nash wasted no time in the 42-mile race around the desert south of Grand Junction, Colorado, dropping into the first extended singletrack alone. After the Butterknife trail, she went up the course’s primary climb alone and was never challenged by the others.

“I don’t know what happened there. I didn’t even run the hill — I hiked it at a good pace. I was surprised,” said Nash about the “Widowmaker” hike-a-bike section that came early on the climb up the Tabeguache trail a few miles in.

“I just like to be up there because I know I can hike fast — you know I hike with my dogs. I put those hiking miles to good use!”

Dong said that the chase group wasn’t able to ride the Butterknife descent as smooth or fast as the Czech.

“Katerina just took off. I know that’s her strength — putting as much time in Butterknife as she can,” Dong told VeloNews. “We were all riding like hacks down that thing. I fully admit I was riding like a hack. … I crashed and went off the side at one point, hiked back up.”

A chase group of five riders reached the bottom of the Windmill climb with Nash off the front. Dong and Beisel rode clear as the doubletrack jeep road pitched up, and then Dong was alone in second.

Beisel reached the last 10 miles of singletrack solo in third, but she could see that Anthony was gaining ground. After coming off the Windmill climb in fifth, the all-rounder was steadily riding herself back into the frame on the course’s rocky finale.

“I was way back in fifth, almost in sixth, so on the last descent singletrack I was just working my way up,” Anthony said.

She caught Beisel on the final stretch of trail before a couple miles of road back into Grand Junction.

“[I was] cursing in my head,” said Beisel, the newly minted U.S. marathon champion. “I could see her so I knew I had to go for it. She just caught me on that last trail, and onto the pavement. She was just sitting back. I attacked once and I didn’t get away.”

Instead, they came into the final right-hand bend onto Main Street for a sprint finish. Anthony said that knowing the finish from Friday’s fat tire crit helped her take the sprint for third.

“I knew we had a pretty good gap so I just sat on her wheel on the road,” Anthony added. “I knew what the crit was like that you had to come into that corner in good position. … It was a good battle.”

The Epic Rides Series continues June 15-17 at the Carson City Off-Road in Nevada.