Summit’s Nico Konecny crowned three-day stage champion of Breck Epic after storm cancels Tuesday competition
Breckenridge is a hot spot for a wide range of events throughout the summer. Whether it is a festival, concert or a family reunion — the town of Breckenridge is never not busy.
One event that brings in a different type of crowd to the streets of Breckenridge is the Breck Epic multiday mountain bike competition, where instead of tourists lining Main Street, it is common to see competitors in full mud-caked racing garb returning from the day’s race.
On Sunday, Aug. 14, the 13th annual Breck Epic got underway with hundreds of riders taking to the starting line. The field included plenty of Summit County locals, including Lasse and Nico Konecny of Breckenridge.
Lasse Konecny, 18, is competing in his second six-day Breck Epic after making his debut last season, while Nico Konecny, 16, is debuting in this year’s three-day epic race.
On a mild Sunday morning, competitors lined their tires up at Stephen C. West Ice Arena in order to embark on Stage 1 of the multiday trek across the backcountry trails that surround Summit County. The first stage took competitors up Boreas Pass Road to Baker’s Tank before heading towards Little French Trail. The 35.7-mile trek concluded at Carter Park in Breckenridge.
In Stage 1, both Lasse and Nico Konecny got off to a hot start, leading the rest of the competition in their respective divisions.
Lasse Konecny, who is coming off an incredible performance at a recent World Cup race, completed Stage 1 in a time of 2 hours, 50 minutes and 16 seconds. He led the professional men division by over two minutes, with Boulder’s Lachlan Morton placing second in a time of 2:52:26. Following Morton was Cory Wallace of the KONA Adventure Team with a time of 2:56:56.
In the professional women’s division, it was the Katerina Nash and Sonya Looney show. Both riders set themselves apart from the rest of the competition in Stage 1. Nash completed the course in 3:26:44, while Looney completed the course in 3:40:33. Kelsey Devereaux finished in third with a time of 4:34:58.
In the three-day open men’s division, Nico Konecny dominated the competition, crossing the finish line close to 15 minutes ahead of second place. He finished Stage 1 in a time of 3:03:10, while Michael Hand of Vail finished in a time of 3:18:34. Alexander Huppertz, 16, of Colorado Springs completed Stage 1 of the course in third place with a time of 3:58:16.
In the women’s three-day epic, Renae Power of Park City led the field in a time of 4:31:45, while Jennifer Bennett followed in second with a time of 4:35:06. Amy Shultz, of Madison, Wisconsin, finished in third in a time of 4:57:54.
The Konecny brothers, Nash and Power all got the honor of wearing the Breck Epic leader jerseys for Stage 2 of the race on Monday. The second stage spanned 42.5-miles and is regarded as one of the more challenging stages in the competition.
During Stage 2, Lasse Konecny battled hard throughout the entirety of the course but was not able to match the speed of Morton, who completed the stage in a time of 3:16:35. Lasse Konecny completed the course almost nine minutes behind Morton in a time of 3:25:32, falling into second place and losing his leader jersey for Stage 3 of the race.
Wallace maintained his position in third with a Stage 2 time of 3:28:52, while Nolan Van Harte of Frisco moved into fourth after a strong second stage.
Nash was able to maintain her leader jersey on the second stage, finishing in a time of 4:05:31 to Looney’s 4:18:01. Devereaux finished the stage in a time of 5:14:52 for a total time of 9:49:49.
Nico Konecny also maintained his lead, continuing to set himself apart from the rest of the competition in the three-day epic men’s open division. Nico Konecny finished the second stage in a time of 3:41:37 for a total race time of 6:44:46.
Hand followed in second with a total time of 7:20:41 and Huppertz maintained third with a time of 8:26:52.
“I took this race as an experience and wanted to find that pace for me and have a race within my limits,” Nico Konecny said of racing one of the longer sections of the race. “It’s a long time out on the bike, so I had to make sure I was feeding correctly and pacing myself so I didn’t blow up and suffer through the rest of it.”
In the women’s three-day division, a close race to the finish line unfolded with Power being beaten out by Bennett. Bennett finished in a time of 5:33:18 to Power’s 5:34:40. The performance from Bennett was not enough to beat out Power for first place but did move her closer to Power in terms of total time. Shultz finished the stage in a time of 5:36:26 to keep her third-place position.
Nico Konecny and Power were expecting to race for a title in the final stage of the three-day epic on Tuesday, Aug. 16, but due to consistent thunderstorms in Summit and the surrounding area, the entire stage was postponed.
“I was pretty bummed, but Mike McCormack (the race director) made a great choice,” Nico Konecny said. “With 400 people, it could’ve been such a bad idea because once you go over French Pass the way to evacuate people would be by the backside of French Pass. To Georgia Pass it is about an hour 20 drive, which is on the backside of French Pass. It would not be feasible.”
According to a statement made by Breck Epic, the Guyot stage will run on Wednesday, and the Aqueduct stage originally scheduled for Wednesday will be removed from this year’s Breck Epic.
As a result of the cancellation, the current leaders for the three-day epic were awarded for their performances over the first two stages of the course. Power took home first place with a combined time of 10:06:25, Bennett placed second in a time of 10:08:23 and Shultz placed third in 10:34:19.
Handily in front of the rest of the competition, Nico Konecny was crowned the champion of the men’s three-day epic competition. Despite not competing in the final three-day stage, Nico Konecny put an exclamation point on what has been a groundbreaking season.
“The whole season has been really great for me,” Nico Konecny said, “staying healthy, not getting sick, no injuries and putting down performances when I have needed to. I am just really happy with how it all went.”
Nico Konecny finished with a total time of 6:44:46, Hand was awarded second place in a time of 7:20:41 and Huppertz finished in third with a time of 8:26:52.
Breck Epic will allow any of the three-day stage riders who wish to join in on another stage to do so since inclement weather canceled the final stage. Racing is scheduled to resume on Wednesday, Aug. 17.
For full results visit, ItsYourRace.com.
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