Breckenridge Bike Guide: The Fall Classic race route (video)
By the numbers
Distance: 30 miles (long course), 21 miles (short course)
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
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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)
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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)
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Make Hard Right onto Gold Run Road
Climb Gold Run Road approx. ½ mile, ignore prominent left hand turn and stay straight on main road to old Preston Townsite…AID STATION HERE
Make left at Preston, ride a short distance through old Town Center and cross Dry Gulch Road onto a sharp uphill two track…this is an unmarked trail (Hard Luck Trail) with Buck and Rail Fence at its entrance.
Climb Hard Luck Trail to Draw Road (GH24)
Left on Draw Road
At Fork, merge onto Sawmill Road (GH22) staying straight and ignore Fuller Trail (GH44) to your right
In clearing just ahead bear left , go over bridge, continuing on Sawmill Road (GH22)
THIS IS THE FAMOUS HEINOUS HILL!
At top of Sawmill Rd/Heinous Hill turn right onto Spruce Road (GH 72)
Make immediate right onto Harum Trail (GH73) and then immediate left onto Golden Rule Trail (GH71)
Golden Rule Trail crosses Spruce Road (GH 72) twice and continues to Lincoln Park, a prominent meadow.
At end of Singletrack, Turn left onto two track keeping meadow on your right…then take immediate right onto Lincoln Park Road (GH66)
Stay on this main road ignoring any smaller spurs keeping meadow on your right.
After second big dip in road Stay right at fork ignoring Rich Gulch (GH62)
Lincoln Park Road (GH 66) becomes Prospect Hill Road (GH 38)
Lincoln Park Road (GH 66) to Golden Gate Loop (GH 39)
Right onto Golden Gate Loop (GH 39)
Stay on Golden Gate Loop (GH39) ignoring right hand options onto Harum Trail (GH73) and Sidewinder Road (GH35)..descend past Cabin ruins on your left.
Golden Gate Loop ends at Prospect Hill Road (GH38)
Turn Left onto Prospect Hill Road (GH38) and climb past a cabin site
Turn right and descend Side Door Trail (GH42)
Ride past abandoned snowmobile to “T” and turn HARD left
Almost immediately after “T”, ride across blonde colored tailings pile, bear right onto Lower Minnie Mine Trail, and descend to French Gulch Rd
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Cross Boreas Pass Rd (Police Marshal Here) to Sunbeam Trail
Sunbeam Trail to Carter Park and Finish
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