Stage Two – The Colorado Trail - Powered by Panache CycleWear
For other stage information, photos, results and other media outlets check out our 2011 Breck Epic page
08.15.2011 – (Breckenridge, CO) A bit of overnight cloud cover again brought warm temps to the start. The precipitation that rolled through in the evening was just enough to compact the soil a bit with the result being luscious dirt that was super-grippy. In local parlance, “hero dirt”. The kind that lets you rail your bike through a corner, trusting that the rules that govern the physical universe that we all occupy have been temporarily and somehow benevolently altered for your personal benefit.
Photo Credit: Devon Balet Photo
As luck would have it, the weather conditions coincided with one of the most fun stages in the event, “The Colorado Trail”. Summit County is home to several sections, the most popular being the North, Middle and South Forks of the Swan, “Swan” in this case referring to the Swan Drainage, home to a massive 2000-acre open space purchase painstakingly negotiated between local city, county and federal land managers and the B&B Mining Company.
The CT is simply a thing of beauty, and for the most part, at least in Summit County, it seems to be purpose-built for mountain biking. Long rhythmic climbs lead riders to endless narrow descents, ones that make your face hurt from smiling so much. And did we mention that the soil was also tacky? Brothers and sisters, Stage Two of the 2011 Breck Epic was MTB Valhalla, and each rider was a golden, thundering omnipotent god, if only for a day.
Bringing this long rambling preamble (that almost never happens around here!) to a merciful close, we saw a bit of a shakeup in the mens’ single stage standings. Out front for most of the stage, local billy goat Josh Tostado (Bach Builders/Santa Cruz) led La Ruta champion Lico Ramirez for nearly three-quarters of the stage, getting reeled in on the second-to-last climb of the day. Tostado said that Lico seemed to pull him in effortlessly and “then just sort of dropped a gear and steadily walked away.” Cameron Chambers rode put in a strong effort, crossing the finish line a bit more than 2 minutes in arrears of Tostado.
On the women’s side in the 6-day event Sonya Looney (Ergon-Topeak) continued to put her CTR prep to good use, punching out the stage in 4:11, nine minutes ahead of Bicycling Magazine’s “The Fit Chick”, Selene Yeager, who’s definitely wrestling with altitude issues, but seems to be getting it under control. In third was Steamboat Springs rider Katie Lindquist, riding an incredibly strong race and keeping both Sonya and Selene on their toes.
The 3-day “Epic-Curious” riders started their race yesterday as well. As a group they seem a bit calmer, although I’d observe that contentment, joy and the ability to really enjoy the moment seems to be a common trait of the entire group regardless of which stage they’re riding. The 3-day folks race has yet to shake out with only one stage under their belts, but you could see them chomping at the bit to get after it on today’s route around Mt. Guyot.
On that note, here’s a bit of info on the Guyot stage;
44 miles, 9400’ of vertical. This is a ride that every local puts in their book as a once-a-year must-do. Riders will cross the Continental Divide. Twice. First via French Pass and then coming across Georgia Pass on the way back.
Then they’re going to descend to Georgia Gulch via the CT (and missing the big-ring all the way “I can’t believe this trail is here” flume that all the local’s ride instead.). It’s a lonnnng descent with some tough rocky sections at the bottom.
Waiting for riders there? The climb back out of the Swan drainage – American Gulch. They’ll all turn a corner about 3/4 of the way up and what they see in front them will crush their souls. We call this “Awww !*$!” corner. Because it goes straight up…and you’re already fried.
When local think “big ride”, Guyot is what they have in mind.
For complete results, please visit www.breckepic.com