Huck retakes GC lead; Bishop hammers to Stage 3 win

Breck Epic Stage 3: The Circumnavigation of Mt. Guyot 

By Shauna Farnell

Erin Huck (Scott Bicycles) 
Image: Eddie Clark Media

Mechanicals were not going to thwart Erin Huck for two days straight, even if her bike did get impaled by a log early on in Stage 3’s Circumnavigation of Mt. Guyot on Tuesday.

The 42-year-old Olympian who rides for SCOTT-Orange Seal-Shimano had led the stacked pro women’s field through the majority of Stage 2, when she flatted out about 2 miles before the finish line Monday and Kaysee Armstrong fired ahead, winning the stage and taking over the race lead by a mere 1 second.

However, Huck took the lead back on Tuesday, winning Stage 3 in 4 hours, 2:16 minutes in spite of the impaling incident.

“You know what happened? It was the weirdest thing. We were cruising along one of the fire road descents and no joke, a log punctured this trap door on the frame and was stuck in my bike. It jerked me almost off the bike. It pierced that plastic and I couldn’t get it out,” Huck said.  “I thought it was in my derailleur. I’m glad it wasn’t my leg. I took the whole contraption off. It was a super short fix.”

Huck now leads the overall race with a total time of 11:22.30, 2:26 minutes ahead of Armstrong, who took second in Stage 3.

“I knew that Kaysee was going to be hot on my tail, for sure, especially this last section. After getting a flat yesterday, I was like, I’m going to be as careful as I possibly can,” Huck said, adding that in spite of the successful day winning the stage and retaking the lead, she can’t describe herself as feeling “good” in a race like the Epic, which she won in 2017.

“You never feel good. You never, ever feel good,” she said. “You’re always in various degrees of suffering and telling yourself you can make it.”

Evelyn Dong once again rounded out the pro women’s podium Tuesday for the third day straight, sitting in third in the standings with a total time of 11:37:19 after three stages.

“It’s not my best race, but I’m having a good time,” said the Team Juliana rider, who won the Epic in 2015, was third in 2017 and 2019 and second in 2021. “I know which stages to look forward to now. Today was one of those. Even if it was a little suffer-y, it was super fun. I love trying to clean the climb and those two descents today are so great.”

Evelyn Dong (Juliana)
Image: Eddie Clark

Bishop takes Queen’s Stage; Morton still leads GC

Not as inclined to admit to suffering, the men’s pro field shuffled a bit in Stage 3. After once again peeling ahead early on in the race, EF Team rider Lachlan Morton gashed a tire coming down the steep and technical Georgia Pass. Spending several minutes on the fix gave Canyon rider Jeremiah Bishop an opportunity to fire up his legs and charge ahead. Although Morton turned on the turbo once he got his tire fixed, the 47-year-old veteran took the stage win, finishing in 3:22:43 as Morton took second in 3:23:48.

“I was determined to claw my way back into the lead group with second and third. I got in the back with them and found some good composure,” said Bishop, who won the Epic in 2010 and, on top of countless other achievements throughout his lengthy career, also won a gold medal at the 2003 Pan American Games.

Jeremiah Bichop (Canyon)
Image: Eddie Clark

“Suddenly I started to feel acclimated. I pinned it on the climb up to French Pass, rode the whole thing and started to feel pretty good. I got a good lead on [the second and third] guys. Lachlan was probably a couple of minutes up, riding strong. I was trying to focus on my own race. I got to the bottom [of Georgia Pass] and saw Lachlan had flatted. I knew I had an opportunity and I took it. It was a full-on time trial after that. My legs woke up. When you’re not in contention, it’s easy to drop it down to fourth gear. I was able to drive a pretty solid pace for the first time this week. It feels really good to ride like myself.”

Morton, who still leads the GC with a total time of 9:27:42, estimated it took about eight minutes to fix the flat on Tuesday.

“It was my own fault. I wasn’t paying enough attention, just tagged a really sharp rock,” he said. “I got a pretty big cut in my tire, then plugs wouldn’t do the trick. I made my way to the aid station and eventually put a tube in it, then started a long chase. It was fun. I slowly picked up, finally caught Cory at the last aid station. I was giving everything to try to catch Jeremiah, but couldn’t find him.”

Kona Adventure Team’s Cory Wallace, who was third in last year’s Epic, has finished three-for-three in the third-place spot so far this week, but is now runner-up in the GC, trailing Morton by 7:18.

“I didn’t have the best leg todays, but I had solid legs,” Wallace said Tuesday. “My goal this week is to be steady and it adds up to a good GC.”

Bishop’s effort on Tuesday now puts him in the third-place spot in the GC at the Epic’s halfway point with a total time of 9:45:45.

The 3.5 mile descent into South Park from French Pass
Image: Devon Balet

A wrap for three-day racers

There were some impressive finish times among racers competing in the three-day stage race that wrapped up Tuesday. Tony Baca won the Men’s Open with a three-stage total time of 10:15:13. Kimberly Webster won the Women’s Open in 15:29:23. Local Thomas Spannring won the Men’s 40-plus in 11:40:15 and Oman Dickenson won Men’s 50-plus in 12:27:17.

Moving into Stage 4 on Wednesday, riders tackle the Aqueduct course. Canceled last year due to inclement weather, Stage 4 covers more than 42 miles and nearly 6,500 feet of climbing, from Breck to Keystone Gulch and back. 


Epic 2024 is now on sale. Enter “2024LFG” at checkout until Sunday, August 20
for an additional $100 of existing early bird pricing.


Rider unknown
Image: Jace Stout

Rider: Kaysee Armstrong
Image: Jace Stout

Rider: Geoff Kabush (Yeti Cycles/Fox), riding the walking part of French Pass
Image: Devon Balet

Epic 2024 is now on sale. Enter “2024LFG” at checkout until Sunday, August 20
for an additional $100 of existing early bird pricing.