Breck Epic August mountain bike event aligns with cycling’s international governing body
When the 11th annual Breck Epic multistage mountain bike event returns to Summit County in mid-August, it’ll be as an event that is part of cycling’s international governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale.
Breck Epic founder and Summit County local Mike McCormack announced the news in a press release on Wednesday. More specifically, the six-day mountain bike event will be inscribed with a UCI Stage Class 1, cross-country riding classification. The event will also offer a minimum cash purse of $30,000 and UCI mountain bike series points.
“We’re going to use modern technology to communicate the drama of a high-altitude, multiday stage race to a worldwide audience in real time and in high definition,” McCormack said in the press release. “Aligning with the UCI attracts the world’s fastest riders. We’re going to pit them against each other on a supremely stunning race course.”
The event will also serve as part of USA Cycling’s Pro MTB Cross-Country Tour, or Pro XCT, which is an Olympic-style tour of cross-country and short track cross-country mountain bike racing events.
“We are excited to see the continued growth of the Breck Epic and its inclusion on the UCI’s International Calendar, as well as USA Cycling’s ProXCT Calendar, rewarding riders, spectators and the Breckenridge community,” said Chuck Hodge, USA Cycling chief of racing and events. “The race is truly epic, with challenging courses taking place on the incredibly interconnected trails of Summit County and the Rocky Mountains. It’s a true highlight on the ProXCT.”
McCormack also announced on Wednesday that the Breck Epic will take place during the inaugural “InterBreck Expo.” The expo is a planned endurance and backcountry focused demo and exposition area that will be hosted from Aug. 13-15 in Breckenridge’s arts district.
McCormack also announced that for August’s event, the Breck Epic will add a tech area for team setups. McCormack said he hopes this new tech area will allow fans of the race to mingle with the Breck Epic’s best riders.
Additionally, Breck Epic organizers revealed on Wednesday a new nonprofit dubbed “The Epic Legacy Foundation.”
McCormack said the new foundation was established to “house and facilitate” the Breck Epic’s charitable efforts.
“Over the past 11 years, our events division has donated quietly, yet significantly to individuals, nonprofits and causes in which we believed,” McCormack said. “We’ve given time, resources and funding and in our own small way, tried to make the cycling world a better place. Our efforts have been made privately and anonymously, because our goal was generosity, not recognition. To us, our backcountry permits carried with them an obligation to give back. As our events grow and (Breck) Epic continues its rise through the ranks of cycling’s great events, it’s become time to formalize their legacy.”
McCormack detailed four initiatives for the new foundation. The first is to enhance and improve the trail experience in Summit, Eagle and Routt Counties by authoring “tangible” trail improvements in each community. The second is to pursue funding and partners to help with the efforts of groups such as Breck Open Space, Summit County Open Space, Eagle County Open Space, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and other local nonprofits.
The third is to promote and increase trail project volunteerism via marketing and the utilization of industry partnerships. And the fourth is to educate more people on stewardship principles and responsible use of the forest and wilderness.
Wednesday’s news comes after a period last summer when it appeared McCormack would sell the Breck Epic to the World Triathlon Corporation, which runs the Ironman race series. Ironman’s goal for the Breck Epic was to promote it annually as the premier mountain biking event in North America, one that also served as an annual qualifier to the Tour de France of moutain biking, the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa.
After McCormack shared his and Ironman’s mutual interest in having Ironman take over the event, though, the Breckenridge community expressed their concerns. Ultimately, McCormack decided not to sell to the World Triathlon Corporation.
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