Eagle Outside Festival brings mountain biking and trail running to Eagle May 15-17 | SummitDaily.com

Eagle Outside Festival brings mountain biking and trail running to Eagle May 15-17

Little competitors in the Strider bike competition at the Eagle Outside Festival, held this weekend at Brush Creek Pavilion in Eagle.
Eddie Clark / Special to the Daily |

2015 Eagle Outside Festival schedule

Saturday, May 16

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Event expo and demo, Brush Creek Pavilion

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Gran Fondo MTB Tour of Eagle, Mountain Bike Eagle booth start

11 a.m. — Firebird XC short course, Boneyard trailhead start

12 p.m. to 3 p.m. — Eagle Ranch Village Lo-Fi Chainless DH, Mayer Gulch start

Sunday, May 17

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Event expo and demo, Brush Creek Pavilion

9 a.m. — Firebird 25 and 40 Course Start, Addison Building start

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Alison Dunlap women’s MTB clinic, Felt Bicycle booth start

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Rippin’ Chix guided skills refresher, demo area

11 a.m. — Eagle Ranch 5K run/walk/ride, Dusty Boot start

11 a.m. — Yoga in the Park, Brush Creek Pavilion

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Gran Fondo MTB Tour of Eagle, Mountain Bike Eagle booth start

2 p.m. — Chromoly Chef Competition, Dusty Boot

Registration for all events is available online or on-site in Eagle. For a complete events schedule, including entry fees and route maps, see www.eagleoutsidefestival.com.

Ladies and gentlemen, summer has arrived.

This weekend, the Eagle Outside Festival descends on the town of Eagle for three full days of racing, clinics, demos and free concerts.

The Friday events have already come and gone — sorry to everyone who missed the Bonfire Brewing Block Party last night — but Saturday and Sunday are the true meat of Eagle Outside. Now in its seventh year, the festival has grown by leaps and bounds to include five races and dozens of fringe events, all built around everything summery: mountain biking, trail running, outdoor yoga and something known as the Chromoly Chef Competition.

For early-season cyclists and runners, part of the festival’s appeal traces back to weather: While neighboring mountain towns (think Breckenridge) are still thawing out after several May snowstorms, the hundred-plus miles of singeltrack surrounding Eagle are dry and ready for anything athletes can throw at them. What’s more, organizers will provide in-town campsites at the Eagle Pavilion and Studio fields. Just be sure to bring a rainfly.

To whet your appetite, here’s a quick rundown of the best Eagle has to offer this weekend.

FIREBIRD 40 XC — SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

For the first time this year, organizers have added an ultra-endurance, single-loop cross-country race for mountain bikers, dubbed Firebird 40 XC.

At roughly 40 miles in length (with shorter distances available on Saturday afternoon), the new course winds through some of Eagle’s best trails, including Mike’s Night Out, World’s Greatest and Pipeline. The 25-mile and 40-mile races take place on Sunday morning, with divisions for men, women, single-speed, fat bike and legends (the 40-and-up crowd).

Approval of the Firebird 40 XC course is the culmination of planning between the festival production team and open space managers at the federal, state and community level.

“Our first goal when we assumed control of the festival was to create a long-distance XC very much in the spirit of Breckenridge’s Firecracker 50,” says Mike McCormack, event director with festival organizer Uncommon Communications. “A significant challenge for riders new to Eagle is the sheer size of its surrounding trail network. Unless you’re a local with lots of trial-and-error experience, getting lost isn’t a possibility — it’s a certainty.”

For first-time visitors to Eagle, the freshly minted course provides access to previously undiscovered territory in what is arguably one of the most promising mountain-bike destinations in the Rocky Mountains.

The addition of a throwback-style, big-loop course is one of several new bike-friendly amenities at the festival. World-renowned cyclists Alison Dunlap will host several female-only mountain bike clinics throughout the weekend, while fellow pro Alison Gannett leads two 1.5-hour clinics on local trails through the Rippin’ Chicks series.

EAGLE RANCH 5K — SUNDAY MORNING

There aren’t too many races that encapsulate everything outdoorsy types love about the mountains. And then there’s the Eagle Ranch 5K.

Held on Sunday at 11 a.m., the low-key course follows Eagle’s recreation path. Registration is open to just about everyone: runners, walkers and cyclists, including youngsters on strider-style bikes. Dogs are also welcome with a leash.

CHROMOLY CHEF COMPETITION — SUNDAY AFTERNOON

What do you get when you cross bike mechanics with Dr. Frankenstein? The beloved Chromoly Chef Competition.

For the past 5 years, John Cummins and Jim Mires have hosted the ultimate in Franken-bike assembly contests. Armed with mischief and a bit of cash, they spend the better part of their year combing flea markets and swap meets for the right “junk” to use in the Chromoly Chef competition.

Here’s how it works: When the event weekend rolls around, select teams from bike shops across Colorado stare at a pile of bike parts concealed with a tarp. One hour prior to the starting bell, the tarp is pulled and participants are given their first look at the competition “ingredients.” They then have one hour to build a contraption that’s stylish and, of course, still functions.

Once that hour’s up, it’s race time. The builders pilot their fully assembled crafts around a two-block course.

But winning is just one component of victory. Each bike goes before a judge panel that grades each bike on construction, originality, race worthiness and aesthetics. The winner takes home a Frankentrophy made of bike miscellany and, of course, bragging rights.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.