With 13,719 feet of climbing, Saturday’s Breckenridge 100 Mountain Bike Challenge course offers three Continental Divide crossings, altitudes of over 12,000 feet and spectacular scenery.
Set to take on the fourth race in the Kenda National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE) is five-time undefeated Breck 100 Champ, Josh Tostado (Bach Builders/Santa Cruz). He’ll battle it out yet again with the reigning NUE Series Champion Jeff Schalk (Trek).
In 2009′s race the two battled until an intense push from Tostado in the final stage of the race left Schalk to chase atop Boreas Pass, the last major climb reaching 11,500 feet of elevation.
Earlier this season the competition stiffened at NUE Series race #3 at the Kenda Mohican 100 in Loudonville, Ohio. Schalk added this year’s race to his Mohican win in 2008. Schalk also topped the charts at the Cohutta 100 in Tennessee and the Lumberjack 100 in Michigan and with three wins in this best 4 of 8 series, appears unstoppable in the Men’s Open Division.
However, Tostado had his best finish ever at Mohican, taking third in the largest race so far. Tostado is steadily moving up the NUE rankings each year. His home course advantage also comes into play at Breck, which is evident by his five-straight victories.
Meanwhile, MTB veterans Kip Beise (Pearl Izumi/Old Town Bike Shop) and Garth Prosser (Cannondale Factory Team) will be circling along with many other possible dark horses with dreams of knocking off the reigning champions. And at least one other question remains. Will anyone top Tostado’s 2008 record finish of 8:14:37?
In the Women’s Open, Eszter Horanyi (Waltworks Space Cowgirls) is back to defend her Breckenridge victory last year. Horanyi’s finish at 10:07:19 last year will certainly leave her challenger’s with a tall order.
The most likely challengers include Jari Kirkland (Team Alpine Orthopedics), a record holder at Montezuma’s Revenge and the 24 Hours of Moab, returning to her hometown for a taste of the action. Another giant is 2008 NUE Women’s Champion Cheryl Sornsen (Team CF), who currently stands atop the Women’s Open of the NUE Series coming off a big win at the Lumberjack 100 and second place finishes at Cohutta and Mohican.
Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) her nearest series competitor, is not registered for Breck but has won two of the three NUE races this season. If Sornsen can somehow manage to stand atop the podium at Breck, she will further solidify her slim series lead over Carey. Currently fifth in the NUE Standings, Brenda Simril, (Motor Mile Racing) will also contend at Breck.
Also new this year, the top 10 finishers will receive payouts in addition to the top 10 Men and top 5 Women. Podiums will be four deep and each will be rewarded with a custom Breckenridge 100 mug. In addition to cash, NUE Sponsors Pro Gold, Ergon Grips, and Kenda will be offering prizes. Racers who complete at least 4 races will also become eligible to earn prizes from Velocity Wheels, Yakima Racks, and Terry Precision Cycling will offer comfy women’s specific seats to all women who complete the series.