Breckenridge: Todd Wells leads Breck Epic at halfway mark
After finishing the Leadville 100 MTB Saturday, professional rider and Durango resident Todd Wells said he would have to take it easy the first few days of the 240-mile, six-stage, six-day Breck Epic, which started the following day.
Looking at only a night’s rest between the two events, he said he just hoped to be in the mix by the midway point.
Now, with the race at the halfway point and with Wells having three stage wins, if he was taking it easy his competition is in trouble going forward.
He crossed the finish line first again Tuesday, adding almost two minutes to his overall lead on Alex Grant of Utah. He finished Tuesday’s 36-mile stage in just over 3 hours, 8 minutes.
“He’s gifted beyond comprehension,” said race organizer Mike McCormack.
Grant finished second in 3:10:09. Last year’s winner, German native Ben Sonntag, also of Durango, finished third in 3:13:41.
“They were 2 to 3 percent stronger,” said Sonntag after the race. “It’s a little frustrating.”
Still, he was in good spirits. Speaking to conditions and course design, “the riding is so awesome,” he said with a smile.
Stage 3 got underway at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in downtown Breckenridge. Riders crossed the Continental Divide twice — at French and Georgia passes — during the 36-mile course that included a 6,500-foot elevation gain. The stage finished at the B&B Trailhead off of French Gulch Road.
The top finishers managed to cross the line before wet weather descended on the Tenmile Range. Later finishers had to contend with occasional downpours.
After three stages, Wells has a 3 minute, 47 second lead on Grant. Sonntag is 11 minutes, 28 seconds behind the leader.
“Anything can happen,” McCormack said of the remaining stages. “A flat tire is a 7- to 10-minute fix. There’s a lot of miles left and there’s a lot of wildcards out there.”
Women’s results were not immediately available. Amanda Carey claimed first place after Stage 2 Monday, with Sue Haywood in second.
Local Nick Truitt was leading the men’s enduro competition after Stage 2.
Grant said he felt good following Stage 3. He hopes to keep the race tight with Wells. “Today he took it to us.”
The race continues today with another 8:30 a.m. start in downtown Breckenridge. Stage 4’s 43-mile course includes another 6,500-foot elevation gain. It heads toward Keystone and incorporates the West Ridge portion of the Colorado Trail. The stage also ends at the B&B Trailhead.
“It’s more of a grinder. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is relentless; there’s not a lot of hiding,” McCormack said.
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