Breck 100: a scenic monster of a ride
summit daily news
Undefeated six-time champion Josh Tostado might make it look easy, but undoubtedly for the other 500 or so riders at Saturday’s Breckenridge 100 Mountain Bike Race, it’s one of the toughest days they’ll ever have on two wheels.
The fifth of 11 stops in the National Ultra Endurance Series, the Breck 100 attracts some of the best endurance mountain bikers from across the country.
“I wanted to put together a race that really showcased the trails here in Summit County and the incredible high-alpine singletrack that we have here. So we got the maps out to see what we could put together,” said race director Thane Wright of Keystone, who founded the race seven years ago.
Organizers say the Breck 100 is considerably more grueling than Leadville’s 100-mile counterpart, which takes place in August and has hosted the likes of Lance Armstrong, who said it was one of the toughest things he’s ever done.
“Leadville’s got a lot of dirt road. This course has a lot more singletrack, which makes it more fatiguing. Physically and mentally, it’s a lot more tiring than riding on dirt roads. Also, altitude – there’s a lot more vertical, continuous up and down,” he said.
Climbing 13,719 feet over 100 miles, the race consists of three cloverleaf loops that start and finish in Carter Park. The 29-mile Loop 1 offers some spectacular scenery. Loop 2 stretches out and around 33 miles utilizing part of the Colorado Trail and features classic Colorado singletrack. Finally, on the Gold Dust Trail that takes you to the other side of the Continental Divide, the 36-mile Loop 3 is a “hidden gem” of a ride, Wright says, which most people don’t know about.
There will be over 500 racers saddling up for the ride, and registration remains open. For many, the goal is simply to finish, something which an estimated 30 percent of racers have failed to do in the past.
“It’s a personal challenge for people to push their boundaries, to do something they’ve never done before,” Wright said. “For many people, this is the highlight of their summer. They’ll take their family vacation to come to Breckenridge, come to Summit County, come to Colorado, which is an experience in itself. So it’s rewarding on a lot of levels – physically, mentally and personally.”
Like all other high-elevation mountain bike races this year, the Beck 100 was challenged by the massive snowfall over the winter. Loops 2 and 3 are going to be completely dry, but loop one is going to have more snow on it than in years past. There has always been a small snowfield that racers have had to walk across. This year, there will be three.
“It’s going to be pretty exciting for them – people from Mexico and the Midwest – to be up at 12,000 feet walking across a snowfield at sunrise. It’s going to be spectacular,” Wright said.
As far as the bike race goes, Wright said he’s got his money on the six-time defending champ, who’s attempting to continue an Armstrong-esque winning streak.
“(Tostado) is a high-altitude specialist,” he said. “He comes from a skiing background – a national caliber skier. So he’s very at home in the mountains and at altitude. Plus, it’s his home turf. It’s his home course. He knows it like the back of his hand.”
Tostado, an Alma resident, will be going up against tough competition in Christian Tanguy and last year’s podium finisher Jeff Schalk, respectively ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the National Ultra Endurance Series this season. They’ve each competed in four races this year, while Tostado has only participated in one.
The race starts at 6 a.m. at Carter Park with the top riders finishing up in the mid-afternoon. There will also be 32- and 68-mile races. Registration remains open at http://www.warriorscycling.com.
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