Breck Epic riders jostle for position |

Breck Epic riders jostle for position

summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado

BRECKENRIDGE – Jeremiah Bishop let out a laugh as he pointed up from the base of Peak 8 toward the top of Breck’s Imperial Lift, Thursday.

“That peak up there,” he said. “We went right across that sucker. It was unreal.”

Bishop, the overall leader in the inaugural Breck Epic mountain bike race, was explaining exactly what made the race’s fifth stage so unique – and grueling.

“We had to hike with our bikes on our backs for 20 minutes,” Bishop said of some trickier areas on the 40-mile course. “If you saw pictures of it, you’d see some epic shit. Just drool pouring out of our mouths while we’re going past these moon rocks.

” … It was just crazy, it was like the moon up there, just rocks and alpine flowers everywhere.”

Stage 5 – which looped around Peaks 8 and 9, before taking the Wheeler Trail to Copper Mountain and back – was the “highest” in terms of elevation that Bishop had ever ridden. Regardless, he once again paced the field, winning the stage with a time of 3:35:53.

“It was great,” he said, “except for the fact that I couldn’t breathe.”

Bishop now has an eight-minute-and-56-second lead on second-place holder Travis Brown with only today’s Gold Dust Trail Loop left before today’s final podium.

Another rider dominating his class was Mark Legg-Compton. The New Zealand native and current Colorado Springs resident, won his fifth straight stage in the 40-plus division.

Things didn’t come quite as easily Thursday for the Kiwi pro, though.

“It was bordering on really brutal. I ran out of water, and I was battling dehydration,” he said while replenishing on water and food in the refreshment tent after the finish. “I couldn’t ride in a straight line to save my life.”

That didn’t stop him from extending his overall lead to 55 minutes and 50 seconds or giving praise to the stage’s track.

“What an amazing course today. I loved it,” he said. “You get a chance to do an amazing course like this … you can just let it go on the downhills. What a beautiful course, just spectacular.”

Despite struggling a bit with fluids in Stage 5, Legg-Compton said he had the cure for today’s finale.

“Some good Breckenridge beer should suit me right,” he said.

The Epic also consists of team divisions, either with two riders scaling the peaks together or alternating in a relay.

For the team of Mark Thompson and David Overstreet, the past few days have seemed relatively easy to onlookers. The Breck residents have more than two hours between them and the next team in the 80-plus division. (That’s combined age for the two riders.)

“It’s been going pretty well,” Thompson grossly understated.

“We’ve done some of the other (races) together, and this one has been a lot more fun,” he added.

Both riders said that familiarity with your teammate helps quite a bit, especially when riders must finish within two minutes of one another for the time to officially count. Thompson and Overstreet certainly have some experience to back them up from their four years of riding together.

“We train together all the time,” Overstreet said. “I see Mark more than I see my wife.”

On the women’s side of the competition, Jennifer Gersbach won her fifth straight stage to extend her overall lead.

Now racers hit today’s final stage, knowing that no lead is truly safe.

“I want to get as much time as I can, because if I cut a tire or something, it’s gone,” Bishop said of his lead.

Legg-Compton echoed Bishop’s sentiments.

“Anything can happen, I can break a wheel or lose a tire,” he said. “Yeah, I have a comfortable lead, but I can’t ease up.”

Today’s race will begin on Boreas Pass road, loop 37 miles and end at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena at the south end of Breckenridge. Riders should start crossing the finish line anytime after noon.

Full results for the race can be found at

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