Breck Epic: Course mischief in Stage 5
Chaos was avoided in Stage 5 of the six-stage Breck Epic Tuesday. Race organizer Mike McCormack said that course marshal Mike Hagen witnessed three men in a blue Acura SUV removing course markers and throwing them into the woods along Miners Creek Road prior to the race. Hagen was able to replace the downed signs in time for the race.
According to McCormack, a police report was filed and the offenders will be prosecuted.
“That’s not going to be tolerated,” McCormack said. “It’s mean-spirited and serves no purpose. “
Hagen was able to take a photo of the vehicle and license plate, which race organizers posted on the Breck Epic Facebook page.
With the signs replaced the race proceeded without incident.
Rider Todd Wells added almost 5 minutes, 30 seconds to his lead, winning the stage in 2 hours, 30 minutes, 53 seconds. The top three overall racers finished in order again today with Wells, followed by Alex Grant and Ben Sonntag. Sonntag, last year’s winner, crossed the line 9 minutes behind Wells.
Wells will start Stage 6 today with an overall time of 14:43:56, followed by Grant at just under 11 minutes behind at 14:53:04. Sonntag is in third with a time of 15:09:57.
“It’s pretty tight. A flat tire could derail his (Wells) win,” said McCormack. “He doesn’t have first completely locked up.”
On the women’s side, the overall top three rankings remained the same. Amanda Carey maintained the overall lead with a combined stage time of 19:13:40 and a second-place stage finish. She finished 5 seconds behind stage winner Sue Haywood, who crossed the line in 3:22:10. Haywood is in third place overall after five stages, with a time of 19:28:03. Kate Aardul, who finished Stage 5 in fourth place, maintained second place overall with a time of 19:24:46. She was also the women’s enduro class leader after Stage 4, and is reportedly riding on a hardtail, front-suspension bike.
Local Nick Truitt led the men’s enduro portion of the competition at the start of Stage 5 Thursday. He’s in eighth place overall. Stage 5 enduro results were not available at press time.
The 240-mile race concludes today with the 34-mile Gold Dust loop course, which will start and finish at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge. The Stage 6 course features 6,000 feet of elevation gain, which race organizer McCormack called “mellower” than the other five stages.
“The hard part’s over, tomorrow is more of a fun day,” said McCormack.
Friday’s course heads up and over Boreas Pass, crossing the Continental Divide twice on what McCormack referred to as a big figure eight course. The final stage will incorporate portions of Bakers Tank, Gold Dust and Indian Creek trails before the final stretch on the Blue River Trail as it makes its way back to the ice rink.
The stage sets up for what could be a thrilling finish as riders return over the pass.
“It’s all descending from Boreas Pass down,” said McCormack.
Stage 6 will start at 8:30 a.m. Both the start and finish of the course will be at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena off of Boreas Pass Road in Breckenridge. Race organizers expect the first finishers to cross the line at around 10:30 a.m.
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