In what turned out to be a battle for the ages high in the Rocky Mountains, Payson McElveen (Orange Seal) edged out former Israeli Champion Rotem Ishay (Team Jamis Bikes). Taylor Schelden (Tokyo Joes) keep pace with the leaders for most of the first lap, but faded a bit on lap two and settled for a third-place finish. J.J. Clark (Pro Cycling) finished fourth nearly fifteen minutes off the winning time. Dana Weber (Stage 21 Cycling) took fifth place.
Breckenridge, Colorado precedes it's Fourth of July parade with the Firecracker 50 race. Hundreds of racers line up to compete on one of the toughest courses in America. It consists of two twenty-five mile laps, each starting with a six-mile climb up Boreas Pass Road. The racing takes place all above 9,600 feet elevation. The weather cooperated this year with temperatures mostly in the 70's.
Having an outstanding year with high finishes in the Epic Rides Series and a national championship victory over Howard Grotts (Specialized) in Arkansas, McElveen is on a roll. He and Grotts often train together at altitude in their adopted home of Durango, Colorado.
McElveen commented on the race, "The course was long and demanding, but the real challenge was the incredibly high elevation. I'm told the course was longer this year too. We solidified a lead group on the first lap with Rotem and Taylor Sheldon (Jelly Belly road rider who recently raced the Tour of California). Rotem was riding very strong, and has shown incredible form at the races he's attended all summer. He was riding impressively aggressively considering the high elevation, throwing lots of attacks on the first lap.
"I wasn't feeling amazing after coming off a big training block in Leadville, but knew that the course was so hard everyone would be on a similar level of fatigue on the second lap."
McElveen added, "I made my move on the extremely steep Little French climb, and then pinned it as hard as I could to the line. I so happy Rotem finished a strong second. He's like a brother to me, and has been instrumental in my development. Representing the National Champion's kit was a unique honour that I won't soon forget. It was extra sweet to cap off the day with a hard-fought win. I'll definitely be back for this one."
Breckenridge was a sea of people on race day, with thousands lining the streets. Behind the riders, dozens of floats were lined up for the July 4th parade.
Breckenridge resident Marlee Dixon (MTBracingnews.com-Pivot) successfully defended her 2016 title with a three-minute victory over surprisingly strong Rae Brownsberger (Grove Subaru). Evelyn Dong (Full Cycle) seemed to struggle during the first lap, but nearly matched Dixon's time on lap two to claim third place overall. Ksenia lepikhina (Tokyo Joes) finished fourth, while Sara Sheets rounded out the podium in fifth place.
The Pro Women started with the Pro men. During the initial six-mile road climb, all of the lead women kept pace with the men for several miles, and only lost contact once Boreas Pass Road turned to dirt.
Dixon commented on her race to Cyclingnews, "This year was definitely harder with the additional single track added in and the dry dusty conditions…we were all riding together up Boreas Pass Road and once on the steeper Illinois gulch road I pulled into the lead. Once on the dirt road, Rae caught and passed me. She pulled away but then I caught her on pinball alley and descended into "nightmare" before her (which is where I crashed twice). She was right with me for the descent and down Sally barber road."
Dixon continued, "Once on French gulch road we rode together and chatted. I had never met her before in any races and she was really cool. She was in the lead for the little French climb but came off her bike at the last steep section and I passed her…At that point, I focused on finishing strong, enjoying the course and riding clean. I think knowing the course so well, living and training at altitude, and also getting cheers from all the locals on course helps me to race my best."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Payson McElveen (Orange Seal)||3:52:33|
|2||Rotem Ishay (Team Jamis Bikes)||0:02:59|
|3||Taylor Shelden (Tokyo Joe's)||0:10:28|
|4||J.J. Clark (ProCycling-EnduroBites)||0:15:00|
|5||Dana Weber (Stage 21 Cycling)||0:19:04|
|6||Sam Okeefe (CCB Racing)||0:21:07|
|7||Thomas Spannring (Epic Endurance Cycling)||0:22:26|
|8||Caleb Thompson (l Scott P-b 2nd Ave Sports)||0:23:00|
|9||Kurt Kropp (Cycleton)||0:26:29|
|10||Samuel Dolzani (Honey Stinger-Bontrager)||0:28:45|
|11||Kelly Magelky (Honey Singer - Bontrager)||0:31:14|
|13||Pablo Fernandez (Bicycle Co-Stance No Tube-Jarritos)||0:33:10|
|14||Nolan Brady (Tokyo Joes)||0:35:10|
|15||Matt Powers (Avalanche-Relish-Twist)||0:38:24|
|16||Ross Delaplane (Feedback Sports)||0:39:20|
|18||Bryan Alders (TrainingPeaks-Yeti-Pactimo)||0:42:54|
|19||Michael Hanna (Megastar)||0:48:20|
|20||Tyler Henderson (Alchemist Clothing Works)||0:48:44|
|21||Ike Nicoll (Define Cycling - Avella)||0:55:42|
|22||Donny Warbritton (Stages Cycling)||1:01:38|
|23||David Krimstock (Giant Co Factory)||1:03:37|
|24||David Ross (Go4Graham)||1:04:33|
|25||Kevin Selker (Groove Subaru)||1:17:26|
|26||Andrew Brock (Motor Mile Racing)||1:18:54|
|27||Corey Piscopo (Steamboat Velo MOOTS)||1:22:57|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Marlee Dixon (MTBracenews.com - Pivot)||4:51:13|
|2||Rae Brownsberger (Groove Subaru - Excel Sports)||0:04:48|
|3||Evelyn Dong (Full Cycle Stunt Team)||0:12:50|
|4||Ksenia Lepikhina (Tokyo Joe's)||0:14:20|
|6||Emily Schaldach (Trek Race Shop)||0:23:53|