Breck Epic comes to exhausting finish
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
BRECKENRIDGE – Jeremiah Bishop summed it up nicely.
“It was an exhausting week,” he said of the inaugural Breck Epic stage mountain bike race which concluded Friday in Breckenridge.
For Bishop, the men’s overall winner, it was also a gratifying week.
After finishing second in his quest for back-to-back national titles in the Firecracker 50 in Breck last Saturday, the Virginia pro rider controlled the race all six days.
Bishop pulled away from second-place rider Travis Brown on Wednesday and Thursday and eventually finished nine minutes ahead after navigating the 200 total miles and 40,000 total vertical feet of Summit County trails.
Though it seemed that everything went just as he imagined through the grueling week, Bishop didn’t exactly see it that way.
“I was feeling it a little bit today and yesterday, but I still had a little kick. … It didn’t go quite as planned this week,” he said, despite accomplishing his sole goal for the race – winning. “You can’t really plan for a stage race.
Race organizer Mike McCormack certainly would disagree. The Breck local had been working for more than a year in preparation of hosting one of the world’s only mountain bike stage races.
And he couldn’t be happier with the end product.
“We know we have great trails up here, but we kind of tried to downplay it, because everyone beats that drum,” McCormack said. “But people were blown away.”
For the most part, the riders blew away the times McCormack had anticipated, that is, except for Thursday’s fifth stage.
“People took a little longer on Wheeler,” he said of the trail that took riders literally across the peaks of the Tenmile Range. “There was more swearing that day, I think.”
There was very little cursing or even negative thoughts from Jennifer Gersbach, as she claimed each of the six stages on the women’s side, earning a 38-minute victory.
“It feels awesome,” she said of her win. “I didn’t know what to expect coming into this week … but it was so good. I felt better as the days went on.”
Despite the large gap she built over singlespeeder Christina Begy, Gersbach wasn’t taking anything for granted in the final stage.
“Christina was an amazing competitor,” she said. “She was so strong and out there on a singlespeed. Every day I had to work my butt off to get ahead of her. … The whole day, I was just thinking, ‘Make it to the bottom and you’re fine.'”
Jen Hanks, who wound up two hours and 10 minutes behind Gersbach, finished in third place.
In all, there were 10 winners Friday, each in their respective divisions.
The singlespeed title went to Dave Wilson. The military veteran from Texas took over the lead on Thursday with an exceptional showing in the Wheeler Loop.
Dan Durland finished eight minutes back in second place, and Jake Kirkpatrick was third.
The men’s duo title – where riders travel the trails as a team – was won by Russell and Brady Kappius, while local riders David Overstreet and Mark Thompson teamed up for the men’s duo 80+ division (combined age). Overstreet and Thompson won by nearly two hours.
The women’s duo team of Kristin Schwarck and Elizabeth Winfield finished atop their division.
Marais Dewet (men’s solo 50+), Mark Legg-Compton (men’s solo 40+), Greg Frozley and Alison Dunlap (coed duo) and Chad Melis and Brian Riepe (relay) all won their respective divisions.
Due to the feedback he’s received, McCormack said there will be little change for next year’s edition of the race, which Bishop was happy to hear.
“I think it’s going to just get bigger,” he said. “I think it’s sick that I’ll have some insider advantage on it now.”
Full results from the race can be found at http://www.breckepic.com.
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