Josh Tostado won his third consecutive Breckenridge 100 Sunday, July 22, soundly beating 2000 Olympic teammates Travis Brown (Trek/FRS) and David “Tinker” Juarez (Cannondale) and setting a course record.
The local pro overcame chronic insomnia and a bent derailleur to set a course record of 9:05:08, more than 60 minutes better than Michael Janelle (10:06:10) and Juarez (10:08:24).
“I’ve been having some bad races,” Tostado told the Summit Daily News. “So I really wanted to come out and ride well and strong – I didn’t really care about winning. … I’m glad it’s over because not sleeping and racing sucks. It’s my second race in a row doing it; I’m trying to figure it out.”
Clear skies greeted the racers on Sunday, after five days of thundershowers and inclement weather. Starting at 6 am at the Riverwalk Center in downtown Breckenridge, the racers set off to race three distinct cloverleaf style loops among the high alpine terrain of Summit County. The first loop took riders over Wheeler Pass at 12,374 feet elevation and onto the Colorado Trail to traverse the Ten Mile range at 12,500 feet. Total elevation gain for the three loops was 13,010 feet.
Tostado, Juarez, Janelle, and Brown separated themselves from the field early and finished the first loop tightly grouped together at about 2:55. It was on the second loop, where the racers rode up little French Creek, that Tostado began to gain time. He rode into the Carter Park aid station after the second loop carrying a 12-minute advantage over Brown. Stopping only long enough to lube his chain and grab some food, he departed for the third loop looking like a man on a mission.
Tostado crashed on the first lap, bending his rear derailleur. It was enough of a wake-up call, though.
“My bike sucked all day – I was ready to throw it off a cliff,” he said. “But I felt good and I figured out what side of the cog I could ride. I was kind of Mickey Mousing it all day.”
Tostado never looked back despite his physical and mechanical challenges, leading by 12 minutes after the first lap, 15 after the second, and 27 going into the third lap after taking a scant 10 second break compared to Janelle’s 15-minute rest.
Juarez, coming off a recent cross country move and still recovering from his 2006 Race Across America finish, mistakenly went off the course with several other racers, including Janelle, and started his third lap 56 minutes behind Tostado.
“I don’t know if everybody missed the same turn I did, but nobody would have gone as far as I did,” Juarez told the Summit Daily News. “I was just like an idiot figuring, ‘There’s no point in slowing down now.
“I went from second to sixth or seventh,” he said. “I was almost ready to give in because I thought I was passed by a chunk of people. Sometimes you give up and it’s hard to get it back, but I did. I don’t know how.”
Brown abandoned the race before the third loop after missing the unsigned feed zone. After running out of food and water, Brown realized it was futile to try to stay with Tostado and the others.
“A group formed of myself, Tinker, Janelle and Tostado on the first lap,” Brown explained to Bikeradar. “Tostado was gapped by about two minutes at the top and then closed on the three of us on the descent. He was on a [dual suspension]; the other three of us on hardtails. We all started lap two together; Janelle came off early. Tinker, myself and Josh were together starting the third climb, but I realized I had missed the feed due to it being unsigned, on a descent, and the feeders weren’t saying anything. At that point I stopped in a campground and asked campers for some water.
“Tinker went off course,” Brown added. “The second feed wasn’t set up and I finished the second lap at about six hours. Having been without food or water for 1:45 I decided not to go out on the third lap. Josh continued to ride away from Janelle (who also got off course) and Tinker (who came back from around 10th to get 3rd).”
Overall Brown was disappointed not to finish, but more disappointed at the organization and course marking and feeds “for a race that had a $185 entry fee.”
“I’m in Sun Valley now for the Gelena Grinder, the last race in the USAC Ultra Endurance series,” Brown said. “I hope to have better luck here. I learned a fair amount about 100-mile races though: it’s definitely excessive…
“I have to say that Josh Tostado rode a great race,” Brown added. “Knowing the course surely helped but his ride was impressive.”
Paul Clark and Mark Thompson were fourth and fifth. Hometown favorite Monique Merrill took top honors for the women with a winning time of 10:49:47. She was followed by Kelley Mattingly and Julie Minahan in 11:25:59 and 11:41:26, respectively. Erika Tieszen and Erin Johnson rounded out the top five.