Eagle-Vail rider going for the win at Breck Epic mountain bike race | VailDaily.com

Eagle-Vail rider going for the win at Breck Epic mountain bike race

Eagle County resident Ciro Zarate wets his tires in stage 1 of the Breck Epic on Sunday. Zarate won the team event this year and was positioned second in the individual event this year after the first two stages of the six-stage event.

EAGLE-VAIL — Ciro Zarate has been getting faster with each passing year, and in 2017 he might be the fastest in the field in the Breck Epic.

But the Eagle County resident keeps running into mechanical issues. Fortunately, Zarate has a little experience in the area as he works full time as a bike mechanic at Pedal Power in Eagle-Vail.

"I've had flat tires on both days so far," Zarate said Monday.

The six-stage Breck Epic got underway on Sunday and will wrap up on Friday. The annual mountain biking event takes place on the backcountry trails surrounding Breckenridge and treats riders to between 35 and 50 miles of singletrack per day. It has become a popular race in recent years, one of organizer Mike McCormack's labor of love mountain biking events along with the Eagle Outside celebration in the spring and the Vail Outlier festival in the fall.

Last year, Zarate won the team event with another Eagle County rider, Jake Wells. This year, Zarate has vowed to try his best for a shot at the win in the individual competition. It will be a more difficult accomplishment, if realized, as Wells' prowess for pedaling helped propel Zarate along last year.

Nevertheless, "I think I have a decent shot at it," Zarate said Monday. "Especially because I was leading the race by 30 seconds to a minute, then got a flat, and only finished three minutes behind."

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On Tuesday, Zarate was in second place heading into Stage 3. He's hoping for better luck in the remainder of the competition.

"The fact that I spent four and a half minutes finagling with my tire, and only lost the stage by three minutes, that's pretty good," he said.

Follow along with Zarate and the rest of the field in the Breck Epic by visiting the Breck Epic Facebook page.