Breckenridge: Breck Epic six-stage bike race starts today
In it’s fifth year, the Breck Epic six-stage mountain bike race gets underway today with Stage 1 around Pennsylvania Creek in Breckenridge. This year’s event also includes an enduro race within the Epic. The 36-mile first stage starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Breckenridge Ice Arena and finishes in Carter Park.
The six-day event covers 240 miles of singletrack surrounding Breckenridge, culminating with a celebration during Breck Bike week on Friday.
“These are the rides you would do with your friends,” said Mike McCormack, race organizer and event founder. “Our courses are all backcountry singletrack.”
The race is expected to bring in some of the best professional riders in the country and from around the world. Among them is Todd Wells, of Durango, who just completed the Leadville 100 MTB Saturday, finishing third.
“I’m not sure how it’s gonna go,” he said shortly after finishing the famous Leadville race. “For the first few days I’m going to be suffering like a dog.”
Wells hopes he can take it a little easier for the first few stages and still be in the running in the end. He knows racers like fellow Durango resident Ben Sonntag are going to come at it fresher than him. But he is also using the Epic as training for the mountain biking world championships two weeks later.
McCormack said the race will include competitors from 35 U.S. states and 25 countries. The event is capped at 300 pro and amateur competitors and was full in Februrary, he said.
Each stage is between 35 and 45 miles.
Recently featured by Bike Magazine, the event has already garnered a lot of attention in its relatively short history.
“We’re mentioned in the same breath as the Trans Alp (in Switzerland),” said McCormack.
New this year, the race will include an enduro. “Why not add a little wrinkle,” the race founder said.
The enduro portion will essentially be a race within a race. Enduro-class racing is popular in Europe and has grown recently in the U.S.
Within the stages of the Breck Epic, there will be 20 timed sections, on primarily downhill, that will make up the enduro. The idea is similar to a timed sprint within a road bike race, but it is a separate race from the Epic. Enduro competitors will have to ride the full Epic stage courses to access the timed enduro sections.
Earlier this year Keystone Resort hosted its first enduro, using its lift-accessible bike park.
“The trend has a lot of weight behind it,” McCormack said. “Enduro embraces that competitive spirit.”
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