Breck Epic Stage 3: Survival turns to sunshine

By Montana Miller,

“Can you imagine shooting a kangaroo with a bow? The things have hands. It’d rip that arrow out and stab you,” my friend Brad says. We’re sitting at the dining room table in the condo. Just finished the stage.

Today’s race was way better than yesterday’s.

The sun was out from the start. We left town on the neutral roll out and started the first climb. Riding up the first hill, I take a hard pedal stroke. The chain pops and falls off. Crap. That’s not supposed to happen on a single speed.

“Get off the trail hippy!” yells my friend Don Powers.

“Blow me meathead,” I say. I put the chain back on and start riding again. A few minutes later, it pops off again. Damn it. I look at it a little more closely. Busted link. I push the pin back in with my multi-tool. Pedal a few more feet. It explodes again.

Last place duo-open team Rich Dillen and Peter Keiller pass me. That’s not good. I’m way in the back now. I stand by the side of the trail begging for a quick-link. A guy finally rides by and gives me one.

Get the chain going again, then start walking as fast as I can. The trail is too steep for riding. But I have to make time. I have to catch back up to Don Powers. If he beats me in a stage, he’ll shout and stamp his feet like a happy caveman for the rest of the week.

I rip down Little French, chunks of shale spitting out from under my tires, through the first aid station and onto the climb up French Pass.

The jeep road narrows to single track. Climbing higher, the trees get stubbier, then disappear. Just grass, and a narrow strip of rocky dirt. I can see people strung out along the pass a mile away. There’s a grey and black jersey. Powers.

I slowly reel him in, then make a hiking pass. We walk the rest of the way to the top of the pass. A guy is handing out Skittles. I grab a handful and start descending the other side.

I choke on the Skittles. Spit out a big chewed up ball of them. The trail is super fast, wide open. My front tire catches an edge. Oh shit. I unclip a foot and drag it in the dirt. My bike stays upright. Behind me, I hear a pop. Look back, Don Powers is standing over his bike, waving his arms. Nice. Don’t have to worry about him anymore.

Down a fast single-track descent, then through the second aid station. I start the dirt road climb up Georgia Pass. Half an hour later, I hit the top. Finally. All the climbs out here are so damn long.

Onto the Colorado Trail. The top section is fast and flowing, cut into the side of the ridge. Around a few switchbacks. The trail gets rougher, until I’m slamming through a huge rock garden. Slide down a steep rock chute, and across a stream.

A few more miles of fast double track, then into the finish. Excellent day.

Back at the condo, we still aren’t talking about anything bike related. “All animals are rats. Even my dog. She’s actually just a big rat,” Brad says. This week is starting to get fun.


Brady Kappius took the single speed win, beating Macky Franklin (who was racing with a broken cleat) by five minutes. Jenifer Wilson continued her dominance in the single speed women’s race.

Benmelt Swanepoel beat Ben Sontag by one minute in the Open Men’s Race, and Amanda Carey outsprinted Yolondi Du Toit for the women’s win.