Biesel confident heading into Carson City Off-Road | NevadaAppeal.com

Biesel confident heading into Carson City Off-Road

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com

EPIC RIDES

When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Where: The Friday night criterium and Sunday morning backcountry race for pros starts and ends in front of the Legislature building.

Admission: Free

Defending champion: Katerina Nash won both the criterium and 50-mile race last year

WOMEN’S PRO STANDINGS

1. Katerina Nash. 2. Amy Beisel 14-minutes 26-seconds behind; 3. Evelyn Dong 17:37; 4. Crystal Anthony 17:49; 5. Maghalie Rochette 19:15; 6. Sofia Gomez Villafane 33:11; 7. Isnaraissa Moir 42:40; 8. Serena Bishop Gordon 45:53; 9. Chase Edwards 59:57; 10. Rebecca Gross 1:09.23; 11. Nikki Peterson 1:25.37; 12. Christine Jeffrey 1:53.20 Learn more about the Off-Roads Carson City and its schedule of events.

Amy Biesel’s first trip to Carson City was a rousing success.

The 33-year-old Beisel, who lives in Colorado Springs, notched a third in the criterium and a fifth in the 50-mile backcountry race at last year’s inaugural Epic Rides event in Carson City.

And, if her first two Epic Ride events of the season are any indication, she has a chance to match or better her 2016 performances.

Beisel, who’s second overall to Katerina Nash, opened the three-event Epic season with a ninth in the 50-miler at the Whiskey Off-Road and a 12th in the crit. She found the Grand Junction course more to her liking, racking up a pair of second-place finishes.

You can hear the confidence in her voice when she talks about coming to Carson City.

“I feel pretty good,” Beisel said. “I feel I’m ramping up. Every year I start slow and finish strong. I got second at Grand Junction and I pushed as hard as I could on the top competitor.”

That would be Nash, who currently leads the field by nearly 13 minutes after two which makes her almost impossible to catch, barring illness or a mishap. The overall winner is determined by the fastest combined time after three races.

Also in contention are Evelyn Dong, Crystal Anthony and Maghalie Rochette, who was ninth in the 50-miler and third in the crit in Carson last summer.

Fans should keep an eye on Rose Grant, who’s ineligible for the overall title because she missed an earlier race. Grant can still win prize money for the Carson City race.

Beisel, like many riders, did track, basketball and soccer in her high school days.

By her own admission, she was a wild child in college, focusing more on partying than academics.

“I knew I needed something different in my life,” she said. “It (biking) really changed my life. I’m glad I was able to find it.

“My brother got me into it. I didn’t start until I was 24, so I got a late start. I lived in Gunnison at the time. I had some good teachers.”

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Another rider to watch is Serena Bishop Gordon, who was fifth in the 50-miler last year in Carson City and sixth in the criterium.

Bishop Gordon was fourth in the crit and 12th in the 50 miler at Grand Junction last month.

The 38-year-old racer from Bend, Ore., who’s an outdoor enthusiast, was dismayed to learn the 50-mile course had been changed because of weather.

“I’d heard that,” she said. “It is disappointing. It was a good course, and the scenery was amazing. I’m sure the new course will be just as challenging if not more challenging.”

The tougher the better. You won’t find anybody more competitive than Bishop Gordon.

“My passion for playing outdoors motivates me to ride, train and race at the highest level,” she said on her resume/website. “Mountain biking and doing cyclocross provide the perfect playground for pushing limits.

“This is my third year with Epic Rides. I love mountain biking. I started in the lap style format and not liking it (much).”

That isn’t a surprising comment. Most mountain bikers love courses with a lot of scenery, which the original Epic Rides course in Carson had before Mother Nature wreaked havoc this past winter.

She has some impressive credential since 2012. In mountain biking, she was the Oregon cross country bike champ in 2012 and 2014, and she also won the High Cascade 100 back in 2013 and 2015. She took second in the Pro Marathon Mountain Bike Nationals, also in 2013. In Cyclocross she won the Crusade Series from 2011 through 2015.

She has yet to break though and win an Epic Rides event, but no doubt her time is coming.

If she isn’t riding a bike for fun or in competition, she’s likely hiking with her husband, Ben, or doing some skiing. No doubt if she could live her entire life outdoors, she would do it.

It’s why she left number-crunching corporate jobs at Enron and Adidas. After a sabbatical that included a six-month winter caretaking job and a through-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, she landed a program director job at The Conservation Alliance, and now she gets a chance to help protect what is dearest to her heart. She puts businesses together with non-profit organizations.

“Yes, my work with The Conservation Alliance is rewarding, challenging and brings value and balance to my life,” she said.