How often do you have the opportunity to ride around a mountain? A 13,376-foot mountain?
Breck Epic stage 3 is considered the queen stage of the six-day mountain bike race based out of Breckenridge, Colorado. Tuesday’s race was not only aesthetically satisfying — a huge loop around an even huger peak — it was also damn hard.
To start the day, the 41-mile route took riders up French Pass, in the remote high-Alpine terrain between Summit County and Park County. The majority of riders had to hike the final grinding pitch up and over the saddle at 12,000 feet above sea level. That was the first time over the Continental Divide. Then riders plunged into the valley only to climb back up the divide — all within the first half of the race.
In the women’s pro race, Carla Williams (Joe’s Bike Shop) won the day and extended her lead over Katrina Englested (Boulder Cycle Sport) to a whopping 33 minutes. Meghan Sheridan (Bingham Cyclery Peak Fasteners) is third overall and was third on the day behind Englested.
Jeremiah Bishop (Canyon-Topeak) continued his domination of the men’s pro race, extending his overall lead on Jamey Driscoll (Pivot-Maxxis) to 8:34. Kyle Trudeau (Construction Zone) is third overall. However, the revelation of the day was Trudeau’s 20-year-old teammate Nash Dory, who was second on the day, less than 90 seconds behind multi-time national champ Bishop.
Three stages remain, including Thursday’s fearsome Wheeler Pass stage, which like stage 3 will take the racers high above treeline — and often off their bikes, hiking to the top.