Words: Shauna Farnell  Images: Eddie Clark

Breck Epic 2022 – Stage One – Pennsylvania Creek

Lasse Konecny, local teen takes Stage 1 win; Nash reclaims dominance over women’s field

Lachlan Morton slowed by puncture as Lasse Konecny takes late lead. That’s why they play the games.

BRECKENRIDGE — The flat tire fairy has plagued Lachlan Morton lately. A late race puncture cost the Australian pro the lead in 2022 Breck Epic’s Stage 1, paving the way for local teen Lasse Konecny to swoop ahead in the last few miles and take the stage win on Sunday.

“I caught him like right next to my house,” said Konecny, 18, who lives in Breckenridge’s Wellington neighborhood and who is working his way up the ranks in mountain biking, having taken second in this year’s Firecracker 50 race and competed in his first World Cup cross-country race this summer in Snowshoe, West Virginia. “I kept trying to catch him, but he was really strong today. I didn’t think I would do it, but I had a little bit of luck on my side. I didn’t realize he had a flat. I passed him and from B & B [trail], I didn’t look back until I finished.”

Konecny won the 36-mile Pennsylvania Creek stage in two hours, 50 minutes and 15 seconds, more than two minutes ahead of Morton, who led the entire race until he punctured his tire descending Gold Run, about six miles from the finish at Carter Park.

“It was a fun day until then,” said the 30-year-old EF Education-EasyPost rider, whose resume (on both fat and skinny tires) includes winning the Mount Evans Hill Climb, the Tour of Utah and Tour of the Gila stage road races, the Telluride 100 and completing last year’s entire Tour de France route unsupported to raise money for World Bicycle Relief.

Lasse Konecny, Men’s PRO

Image: Eddie Clark

Rider: unknown
Image: Eddie Clark

Rider: Lachlan Morton, EF Pro Cycling
Image: Eddie Clark

Morton succumbs to mechanicals

Morton, who held at least a minute lead over Konecny at the halfway point of the race, was hoping for redemption Sunday after a series of flats also curtailed his Leadville 100 race on Saturday, putting him in sixth place.

“It’s been all year,” he said of his mechanical difficulties. “I tore a sidewall with about 10K to go. I tried plugging it today, but it was too big. I just had to ride it. I got caught with like 5K to go. No plans for the rest of the week, just ride hard and have fun, as always.”

Reigning Breck Epic champion Keegan Swenson was busy winning the SBT GRVL race in Steamboat Springs on Sunday after claiming another Leadville 100 victory Saturday.

“Obviously, it’s nice to not have Keegan here,” said Konecny, who crossed the line with style points, popping a wheelie, as did his younger brother, Nico Konecny. Nico, 16, handily won Sunday’s race among the men’s open three-day field with his time of 3:03:09.

Lasse said staying within striking distance of Morton on Sunday was a huge confidence boost. “He’s a legend. It’s cool to keep it going with him. Honestly, the goal the next few days is to survive. I went kind of deep today to see if I could take the stage win, but other than that, each day the plan is to take it as it goes and have fun.”

Stage 1 began at Stephen C. Ice Arena and took riders up to Boreas Pass, down Aspen Alley, up Pennsylvania Creek to Baker’s Tank, down Nightmare and Sally Barber, up Little French, through Lincoln Meadows, down Gold Run, up V3 to descend and finish at Carter Park. After a couple of days of heavy rain and a storm that kicked up mid-day Sunday, riders crossed the line mud splattered, but smiling.

Kat Nash absolutely DEMOLISHING Little French, one of Epic’s signature climbs. Image: Eddie Clark


“I’m really excited to be back here,” said Katerina Nash, who was the first woman to finish with a time of 3:26:44 and the was the 2019 Epic female overall champion. “I haven’t done that much racing since 2019 with the pandemic. When the opportunity came up, I was like, I just want to go back to the Breck Epic. It’s a real mountain bike race. It’s logistically pretty easy. You can stay in one place, yet you get to race for six days.”

The 44-year-old Czech cycling veteran and former Olympic cross-country skier was struck down by Covid earlier this summer, but says her endurance has improved over the last couple of years riding recreationally on her home trails in Truckee, Calif. Her Stage 1 finish time put her in the middle of the pack of pro men, where she remained throughout the day.

“The women’s [pro] category is small, but what’s great for us is we’re always mixed in with the guys,” Nash said. “It’s worse for a strong guy to not have any competition. For me, I’m always around some guys. You can push yourself as hard as you want or get caught in the emotion of riding with guys and go too hard. I was in a tiny group for half the race and rode the last 10 miles with one of the Spanish guys. I really like riding with other people. It was smooth today. I hope it keeps going that way.

Only five pro women are racing the six stages of the 2022 Breck Epic. Fellow veteran Sonya Looney, who is now a mother of two and who last tackled the Epic in 2011, was the second woman to finish Sunday in 3:40:33.

“It’s been a couple years since I was able to race,” said Looney, who took time off to have children. “I’m just grateful to be here. The last time I was here, it was one of my first stage races. I love the Breck Epic. It’s just fun. There’s so much singletrack and such a good vibe.”

Sonya Looney, former Epic champ, returning to the scene of the crime
Image: Eddie Clark

The trail goes UP.
IMAGE: Eddie Clark


Rider: Caroline Mani
Image: Eddie Clark

Cheers to team Spain and guy in donkey costume

The Spanish guy riding with Nash was Ruben Lopez Cueto, part of a contingent of riders from Spain competing in the Epic for the first time. 

“It’s holidays and we want to know another mountain and other singletrack,” Cueto said, describing Stage 1 as “really hard.” “Tomorrow I will push with less gas.”

Although a couple of riders collapsed onto the grass of Carter Park after crossing the finish line, the field of nearly 500 competitors – including a guy in an Eeyore costume who was impressively near the front of the pack after 20 miles – looked strong on day 1.

The 2022 Breck Epic continues with Stage 2 on Monday, a 42-mile route that starts in downtown Breckenridge and takes racers on a loop covering several miles of the Colorado Trail.

Real-time stage and GC results now available.

2023 Early Bird pricing thru August 21, 2022