Epic: for the purists
If you’re a rider in the Breck Epic’s 240-mile mountain bike race starting Monday, you’re a “Bad Muther-@!*!’er” At least, that’s what your belt buckle might say. The one you get at the finish line just for completing the race. It’s a fun, yet serious race, organizers proclaim. “It’s a mountain biker’s course – one for the purists,” the website says. “The best all-around mountain bikers will probably win. And the goods are…well, good. Really, really good. If you like to mountain bike, you will love this race.”On top of that, you’ll be riding at race pace. Make no mistake – these are serious rides. Local honch Josh Tostado has vouched for their difficulty and fun factor. There are a couple of big days in there and then a few moderate ones to balance it out,” the site continues. A Breck Epic representative was not available to comment on the race during the week leading up to this preview. Racers serious enough to pay $1,900 for a team and nearly $1,000 for a solo competitor means it’s a serious race. Some riders will be staying at hotels with a remote control at their fingertips and room service on call while others will rough it in the campground, awaiting the next day’s grueling grind. Each day’s course ranges from 37 miles with 6,000 feet of climbing on the Gold Dust Loop (and and from the Stephen C. West Ice Arena) to 44 miles with 9,400 feet of climbing on the Guyot Loop from Blue River Plaza to the B&B Trailhead. Organizers strived to keep it on singletrack as much as possible. The course is composed of reclaimed flume trails, footpaths, old wagon roads and hand-built singletrack. Say the organizers: “It’s almost all of what any local (and there are some discriminating guys around) would call ‘mountain biking.’ We took a look at our trail network and put together the six courses that we’d most like to ride if we and a bunch of our buddies had the entire day free.” Road riding and gravel and fire road riding is minimized. “The Breck Epic is intended to be a rugged backcountry experience. How much skill/fitness do you need to bring? Man or woman, regardless of age, you sould be within shouting distance of the middle of the Sport field,” according to the website. Total vertical climb is 37,000 feet. Looking for the highlights? It’s a tough course, designed so the best rider will win. Three “queen” stages. And, according to race materials, ” the Penn Creek stage remains a bit longer than in 2009 (we’re keeping the climb up Little French – yippee!) and the Colorado Trail stage also gets a bit longer as we add the Blair Witch section. The new Aqueduct stage is awesome. You’re gonna love it.” Registration is now closed, but spectators can now gear up for watching these riders crush miles of terrain each day for six days. Each stage starts and finishes in Breckenridge, looping out into the forests and back into town each day. Meaning racers won’t have to move camp, and spectators can find their favorite place to post up each day without traveling far. Race categories are: > Open men duo (teams of two men, all ages and abilities); > Open women duo (the same, for women); > Open mixed duo (the same, for mixed gender teams);> Duo 80+ (riders combined ages is 80 or more, can be mixed gender);> Duo 100+ (same thing, but combined age of 100 or more);> Solo men open (all ages and abilities, men, typically elite);> Solo women open (same, for women);> Solo singlespeed men (all ages and abilities);> Solo singlespeed women (all ages and abilities);> Fixed gear open (all genders welcome);> Solo Men 40+ (self-explanatory);> Solo Men 50+; and> Clydesdale Solo (200 pounds and up). Singlespeed racers in the Breck Epic are part of the Single Speed Stage Race World Championships. Some folks choose to do the three-day version, called the Breck Epic-Curious. Open men, open women and solo men 40+ compete in the first three stages of the longer race. ==========Breck Epic Routes>Monday Pennsylvania Creek>Tuesday The Colorado Trail>Wednesday The Guyot Loop>Thursday The Keystone Loop>Friday The Wheeler Loop>Saturday The Gold Dust Loop*Order may change>For more information, visit http://www.breckepic.com.==========
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