Breckenridge 100: brusing MTB test |

Breckenridge 100: brusing MTB test

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Summit County, Colorado

When it comes down to it, race director Thane Wright describes the Breckenridge 100 Mountain Bike Race as a “true backcountry experience.”

And really, that’s an apt description. You know, if you consider 100 miles of fat-tire riding – scaling 13,719 vertical feet and crossing the Continental Divide three separate times – an experience.

Some would prefer the word punishment or torture, even.

Then again, that’s why the Breck 100 is considered to be the most difficult stop on the National Ultra Endurance mountain bike series. And that’s why some of the best cross-country riders will step into their pedals and push out of Carter Park in Saturday’s 6 a.m. start.

“We’ll have racers from across the country out there chasing (NUE) points,”

Wright said, “but at the same time, everyone in it is getting to experience some incredible terrain.”

In its sixth running, Wright said the field has gotten bigger each and every year, and part of that is that so many riders are eager to take their shot at the grueling course.

The 100-mile trek is broken up into three loops, taking riders on trails in and around Breckenridge.

The first loop is 30 miles in a literal lap around the Tenmile Range. Racers climb over Wheeler Pass to the Colorado Trail, scurry along Ten Mile Creek to Royal Mountain and cut back across the Tenmile Range on the Peaks Trail to Breckenridge. The descent from Wheeler Pass to the creek, Wright said, is a highlight to the entire course.

The second lap loops through the northeastern sections of Breckenridge trails, carving through areas of French Gulch and the Swan River basin, eventually working back to Carter Park after just over 34 miles.

On the final loop, racers scale Boreas Pass before an hour-long descent on Gold Dust Trail. Loop 3 is mapped at 35.5 miles, and the finish line is in Carter Park.

In all, competitors get everything mountain bike riding can offer – long climbs, swift descents and a healthy amount of techy singletrack.

And that’s what Breck’s Josh Tostado has conquered in all five of his Breck 100 wins. In 2008, Tostado set the race record with a time of 8 hours, 14 minutes and 37 seconds.

In last year’s race, Tostado was challenged by NUE series winner Jeff Schalk. The two battled back-and-forth for much of the day, before Tostado left Schalk in his dust on the way up Boreas.

This year, Tostado will have his work cut out for him to stay undefeated in his own backyard with an experienced field, including Schalk, looking to chase him down.

Eszter Horanyi is the defending champ in the open division on the women’s side, and former Breck resident Jari Kirkland is registered for the race and a favorite to challenge for the title.

Another local rider, Mark Thompson, is also looking at defending a title, albeit in the race’s toughest division – singlespeed.

“That category has really grown,” Wright said of the singlespeeders. “My hat goes off to them, they are the iron men of mountain bike racing.”

For those not looking for the full, um, experience of a 100-mile race, the event also has 68- and 32-mile courses. The B52, as it’s called, consists of just one loop of the course, while the B68 consists of Loops 2 and 3. Both of the shorter races start at 10 a.m.

For all categories and races, registration is still open. Anyone looking to sign up for the 100-mile race can do so at the River Mountain Lodge in Breckenridge from 4-7 p.m. tonight. Registration for the shorter courses runs through Saturday before the race starts in Carter Park.

For more information on the race or the courses, visit

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