Breckenridge Bike Guide: The Fall Classic race route (video) | SummitDaily.com

Breckenridge Bike Guide: The Fall Classic race route (video)

No one quite knows when The Fall Classic started going by the term "classic," but by now it hardly matters. This really is the original Breckenridge MTB race.

If you believe the old timers — and by that I mean whoever wrote copy for the Maverick Sports website — the vaunted Classic was founded by "mountain goat stoners rolling to a previously agreed upon start line and scratching out a course in the dirt…ceremonies were observed and the race was on!"

Back in 1984, hardly any of those mountain goat stoners wore a helmet, just about everyone was riding a full-suspension frame and, again from Mav Sports, "denim cutoffs were the preferred choice of 'chamois.'"

If the web description is any indication, the Classic is still the same rowdy, laid-back, by-locals-for-locals race it was 32 years ago. It's ebbed and flowed over the years — at one point several thousand riders showed up when it was the final race of the Colorado Off Road Points Series — but by now it's reached a manageable size of about 1,000 riders, give or take a few.

So what exactly makes the Classic, well, classic, other than old age? Simple: the trails. The route has changed little over the years, taking riders on a tour of Breckenridge staples (Gold Run Road, Boreas and Baldy roads, good ol' Heinous Hill) and a few new-ish connectors (Turks, Side Door, a few more in French Gulch). The Classic rides are familiar to anyone who competes in the Summit Mountain Challenge series, but they're connected in unusual ways, like grinding up Gold Run Road instead of riding down, and weaving down the Flumes trails instead of up. The long course is 30 miles with no loops or doublebacks, which shows just how versatile Breck's backyard can be after all these years. Here's to another three decades of the Classic.

Highlights

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There are almost too many to count, but the one that keeps people coming back year after year, whether they love it or hate it, like it or loathe it, is Sawmill Road — aka Heinous Hill. It's exactly what the name implies: a steep and brutal climb up tight singletrack. The hill comes less than 5 miles into the race, so at least it's done and over early, but it's a nasty way to begin a 30-mile race with 4,800 feet of ascent.

Next is Nightmare on Baldy, another steep climb with a name that's completely accurate. In the early years this one was straight uphill over loose rock for nearly 1 mile, but a relatively new reroute now leads to singletrack switchbacks. It's a welcome addition.

Heinous and Nightmare are bookend climbs for the Classic. One comes early, one comes late, and from the top of Nightmare it's almost all downhill.

For a complete guide to the long and short courses, see http://www.mavsports.com.

Parking

The finish and packet pickup are at Carter Park in downtown Breckenridge. From Frisco, drive south on Highway 9 to the second roundabout and bear right to stay on Highway 9. Follow this past downtown Breckenridge to the light at Park Avenue and Main Street. Continue south on Highway 9 to the first stop light at Boreas Pass Road. Turn left (east) onto Boreas Pass Road and take an almost immediate left onto French Street. The park is on your right at Jefferson Avenue, with limited parking on the street and Carter Park lot on High Street.

The route

Want to see what you're in for? Here's a select look at trails on The Fall Classic long course, with directions from http://www.mavsports.com.

START on French Gulch Road at Midnight Sun Road, next to The Wellington Neighborhood.

Ride east approx. 75yards and Turn left onto Gold Run Road (GH9)

Turn right onto Prospect Trail (GH41) and climb switchbacks

Ignore Side Door Trail continuing on Prospect Trail

Bear left onto Prospect Hill Road (GH 38)

After crossing large mine tailings area, begin descending and bear right onto Extension Mill Rd(GH25)

Descend Extension Mill Rd (GH25) to Fall Classic Singletrack (GH10)

Cross Gold Run Road and descend Slalom Singletrack (GH 3)

Turn left onto Upper Flume Trail

Right down Mike's Trail

Right onto Middle Flume Trail

Middle Flume Trail crosses Highlands Drive and goes down "Private Drive 699 + 747". (Marshal location)

Middle Flume Trail crosses Spaulding Terrace and continues straight

Middle Flume Trail crosses Highlands Drive at a 45 degree angle and continues(Marshall Location)

Middle Flume Trail crosses Preston Way at 90degree angle and continues climbing

Middle Flume goes past Tom's Baby Trail…continue climbing

Middle Flume intersects with Upper Flume (GH12)…go left

Upper Flume ends at Gold Run Road (GH9)

Turn Left onto French Gulch Road

Ride French Gulch Road approx.. 1/2 mile and turn right onto Reiling Dredge Trail

Reiling Dredge Trail to Turks Trail

Turks Trail to Upper Turks Trail

Upper Turks Trail to Sallie Barber Road AID STATION HERE

Right on Sallie Barber Road and climb for approx. 1 mile to the top

Turn left onto Nightmare on Baldy

At top of Nightmare on Baldy go through Buck and Rail Fence and stay straight

Ride this two track through deep ruts all the way to Baldy Road (ignore left hand turn at huge mud puddle staying straight instead)

At Baldy Road make slight right THEN CROSS BALDY ROAD ONTO SINGLETRACK CONNECTOR.

SINGLETRACK CONNECTOR merges onto County Road 528, an old dirt road

Ride County Road 528 uphill to major 5 way intersection and stay straight through intersection

Ride uphill another ½ mile. Just as this road appears unrideable look for singletrack on your right.

This is Pinball Alley…PinBall Alley to Mt Pride Mine

Mt Pride to Bakers Tank

Left onto Boreas Pass Road for 2.5 Miles

Right down Indiana Creek

Right onto Blue River Trail

Blue River Trail to Little Mt Trail

Little Mt Trail to Illinois Creek Trail

Illinois Creek Trail To Ice Arena

Cross Boreas Pass Rd (Police Marshal Here) to Sunbeam Trail

Sunbeam Trail to Carter Park and Finish

By the numbers

Distance: 30 miles (long course), 21 miles (short course)

Rating: Advanced

Time: 3-6 hours

Elevation: 9,500-11,200 vertical feet (4,800 feet climbing long course; 3,000 feet climbing short course)

Trail: Singletrack, dirt road

Season: June to September

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The Fall Classic

What: The seventh and final race of the Summit Mountain Challenge MTB series, a true classic held on about the same course since 1984

When: Sunday, Sept. 4 at 10 a.m.

Where: Wellington neighborhood start line, Breckenridge

Cost: $50 adult (no day-of fee), $30 juniors, free 10 and younger

All SMC races have divisions for men, women, juniors and singlespeed, with multiple age brackets for each. Online registration is open until 10 a.m. on Sept. 3. Day-of registration is at the Carter Park Pavilion beginning at 8:30 a.m. For more info or to register for the race, see the Maverick Sports website at http://www.mavsports.com.

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