breck

Colorado’s first Brevet Beaver Creek an ‘investment’ event, organizer says

AVON, Colo. (BRAIN) — A brevet event planned for this weekend is a low-key “investment” event that will lay the foundation for more ambitious events in the future, the organizer said. The Brevet Beaver Creek runs Friday through Sunday

Breck Epic organizers announce summit on adventurism during this year’s race

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (BRAIN) — Organizers of the Breck Epic mountain bike stage race are planning a summit during this year’s race that will focus on backcountry recreation and related topics. The Adventurism Summit will be a gathering of “advocacy organizations, land managers, athletes, pundits, authors, journalists and filmmakers,” they said.

30,000ft up and back down again on the Pivot Mach 429SL

To say that I’m not a huge fan of climbing would be quite the understatement so when I hit the ‘confirm’ button on the registration page for multi-stage MTB race the Breck Epic, I had instant second thoughts. Why on earth was I doing a six-day mountain bike stage race across Colorado with nearly 10,000m (32,600ft) of vertical? 

Whatever reservations I had, however, were quickly erased when I suddenly remembered that all climbing comes with a lot of descending, and I quickly set to the task of laying out a bike to suit. This was going to be big-time fun.

  • The course: The Breck Epic, a six-day mountain bike stage race in the Colorado high country covering more than 400km (250mi) of distance and 10,000m (32,600ft) of climbing, all above 3,000m (10,000ft) of elevation.
  • The equipment goal: A full-suspension 29er that was suitable for hours of climbing but still tough (and fun) enough for lots of demanding, high-speed descending.
  • The horse: A custom-built Pivot Mach 429SL trail bike with Fox iCTD electronic suspension, a Shimano XTR Di2 2×11 transmission, wide-but-light wheels and tyres, and a KS carbon fibre dropper post

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This was going to hurt – but it was also going to be extremely fun

It’s not just about going uphill

Long mountain bike races are invariably won on the climbs. They occupy the biggest percentage of the total time, they quickly separate the fit from the unfit, and they require the most preparation beforehand to do well.

That said, I knew that I wasn’t exactly going to be gunning for a podium spot. While normal logic would dictate maximising my vertical rate of ascent with ultralight gear, I instead started thinking about the grin on my face for all that descending. Breck Epic would serve up a whole lot of it, too, and in massively big, fat chunks. As long as I could get myself up there with enough left in the tank to enjoy the ride down, I’d be in good shape.

Ready, set… suffer!

The benefit of hindsight

One for your bucket list

Complete bike specifications:

  • Frame: Pivot Cycles Mach 429SL, 100mm-travel
  • Rear shock: Fox Float iCTD
  • Fork: Fox 32 Float 29 120 iCTD FIT, 120mm-travel
  • Headset: 1 1/8-to-1 1/2in tapered, integrated
  • Stem: Easton EC90 SL, 70mm
  • Handlebar: Easton EC70, 720mm
  • Grips: Specialized Enduro XL
  • Front brake: Shimano XTR Trail BR-M9020 with 160mm Ice Tech rotor
  • Rear brake: Shimano XTR Trail BR-M9020 with 160mm Ice Tech rotor
  • Brake levers: Shimano XTR Trail BL-M9020
  • Front derailleur: Shimano XTR Di2 FD-M9050
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR Di2 RD-M9050
  • Shift levers: Shimano XTR Di2 SW-M9050 in Synchro Shift mode
  • Cassette: Shimano XTR CS-M9000, 11-40T
  • Chain: Shimano CH-HG900-11
  • Crankset: Shimano XTR Trail FC-M9020-2, 175mm, 36/26T
  • Bottom bracket: Shimano press-fit SM-BB94-41A
  • Pedals: Shimano XTR Trail PD-M9020
  • Wheelset: Shimano XTR Trail WH-M9020-TL
  • Front tyre: Specialized Ground Control Control, 29×2.3in
  • Rear tyre: Specialized Fast Trak Control, 29×2.2in
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Team
  • Seatpost: KS LEV Integra C
  • Accessories: Garmin Edge 520, K-Edge computer mount, Incredibell Brass bell, Arundel Sideloader bottle cage
  • Total weight: 12.47kg (27.49lb, complete, as raced)

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Horse for the Course: Pivot Mach 429SL for the Breck Epic

To say that I’m not a huge fan of climbing would be quite the understatement so when I hit the ‘confirm’ button on the registration page for multi-stage MTB race the Breck Epic, I had instant second thoughts. Why on earth was I doing a six-day mountain bike stage race across Colorado with nearly 10,000m (32,600ft) of vertical? 

Whatever reservations I had, however, were quickly erased when I suddenly remembered that all climbing comes with a lot of descending, and I quickly set to the task of laying out a bike to suit. This was going to be big-time fun.

  • The course: The Breck Epic, a six-day mountain bike stage race in the Colorado high country covering more than 400km (250mi) of distance and 10,000m (32,600ft) of climbing, all above 3,000m (10,000ft) of elevation.
  • The equipment goal: A full-suspension 29er that was suitable for hours of climbing but still tough (and fun) enough for lots of demanding, high-speed descending.
  • The horse: A custom-built Pivot Mach 429SL trail bike with Fox iCTD electronic suspension, a Shimano XTR Di2 2×11 transmission, wide-but-light wheels and tyres, and a KS carbon fibre dropper post

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This was going to hurt – but it was also going to be extremely fun

It’s not just about going uphill

Long mountain bike races are invariably won on the climbs. They occupy the biggest percentage of the total time, they quickly separate the fit from the unfit, and they require the most preparation beforehand to do well.

That said, I knew that I wasn’t exactly going to be gunning for a podium spot. While normal logic would dictate maximising my vertical rate of ascent with ultralight gear, I instead started thinking about the grin on my face for all that descending. Breck Epic would serve up a whole lot of it, too, and in massively big, fat chunks. As long as I could get myself up there with enough left in the tank to enjoy the ride down, I’d be in good shape.

Ready, set… suffer!

The benefit of hindsight

One for your bucket list

Complete bike specifications:

  • Frame: Pivot Cycles Mach 429SL, 100mm-travel
  • Rear shock: Fox Float iCTD
  • Fork: Fox 32 Float 29 120 iCTD FIT, 120mm-travel
  • Headset: 1 1/8-to-1 1/2in tapered, integrated
  • Stem: Easton EC90 SL, 70mm
  • Handlebar: Easton EC70, 720mm
  • Grips: Specialized Enduro XL
  • Front brake: Shimano XTR Trail BR-M9020 with 160mm Ice Tech rotor
  • Rear brake: Shimano XTR Trail BR-M9020 with 160mm Ice Tech rotor
  • Brake levers: Shimano XTR Trail BL-M9020
  • Front derailleur: Shimano XTR Di2 FD-M9050
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR Di2 RD-M9050
  • Shift levers: Shimano XTR Di2 SW-M9050 in Synchro Shift mode
  • Cassette: Shimano XTR CS-M9000, 11-40T
  • Chain: Shimano CH-HG900-11
  • Crankset: Shimano XTR Trail FC-M9020-2, 175mm, 36/26T
  • Bottom bracket: Shimano press-fit SM-BB94-41A
  • Pedals: Shimano XTR Trail PD-M9020
  • Wheelset: Shimano XTR Trail WH-M9020-TL
  • Front tyre: Specialized Ground Control Control, 29×2.3in
  • Rear tyre: Specialized Fast Trak Control, 29×2.2in
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Team
  • Seatpost: KS LEV Integra C
  • Accessories: Garmin Edge 520, K-Edge computer mount, Incredibell Brass bell, Arundel Sideloader bottle cage
  • Total weight: 12.47kg (27.49lb, complete, as raced)

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

New Colorado event aims to be ‘largest MTB event in North America’

EAGLE, Colo.?(BRAIN) — This month’s?Outlier Offroad Festival, to be held in Vail, Colo., will feature a consumer demo, enduro and cross-country racing, kids’ activities, a nearby farmer’s market, art fair, and distilled spirits festival, and events aimed at the cycling media. The event is Friday, Sept. 25 through Sunday, Sept

New Colorado event aims to be ‘largest MTB event in North America’

EAGLE, Colo.?(BRAIN) — This month’s?Outlier Offroad Festival, to be held in Vail, Colo., will feature a consumer demo, enduro and cross-country racing, kids’ activities, a nearby farmer’s market, art fair, and distilled spirits festival, and events aimed at the cycling media. The event is Friday, Sept.

Horse for the Course: Santa Cruz Tallboy 2 for the Breck Epic

Like many of my fellow participants in last year’s Breck Epic, I had no illusions of glory heading into the six-day stage race. I certainly posed no threat to the men’s overall champion Alex Grant. Sure, I could probably beat him at drinking or doughnut eating, but that’s not his game, nor was it mine for six days last August.

While my fellow tech head James Huang focused on making his Ibis Ripley as light and speedy as possible for last year’s Laramie Enduro, I took a decidedly different approach to the Breck Epic. My strategy was simple: ride strong, keep the rubber-side down and enjoy each and every mile of singletrack (and there were plenty).

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There is plenty of time to take in the landscape while gasping for air on the high altitude climbs

With that in mind, I focused on building a steed that, while still completely race-worthy, placed a premium on fun, rather all out performance. In short, I measured my components by trail-induced grins, not grams.

Does this sound like your type of racing? Then read on, because even if you never toe the starting line at the Breck Epic (which you should) you might still learn a thing or two about building up a race bike that you look forward to riding when you’re not rubbing tyres and racing the clock in your superhero outfit. 

  • The course: The Breck Epic, a six-day mountain bike stage race that totals 240mi in length and nearly 12,200m of climbing
  • The equipment goal:  A light, efficient and reliable stage racer that would see me through six days of racing
  • The horse: Santa Cruz Tallboy 2 with a cherry-picked build kit intended to maximize fun and minimize suffering

Frame: Santa Cruz Tallboy 2

Suspension: RockShox RS-1 fork and Monarch DebonAir shock

Drivetrain: SRAM X01

Brakes: SRAM Guide RSC

Wheels: ENVE M60 rims

Tyres: Maxxis Ardent and Ikon

Cockpit: Tried and true components

Post race recap

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Breck Epic: What you need to know

The recently completed 6-day Breck Epic is not the most technical, most grueling, longest, or hardest mountain bike stage race in the world. But if you’re looking for a blend of great trails, a racer-friendly cloverleaf format, a laid-back vibe, and a bonanza of spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery, insert the Breck Epic high on your fat tire bucket list.

If you’re coming from sea level, buckle up. Host town Breckenridge, Colorado, sits at 9,600 feet. And during your six days of racing (or three, if you choose the shorter format), you’ll spend extended time above 11,000 feet, with several forays above 12,000 feet.

Here’s more of what you need to know before signing up for the 2013 Breck Epic, August 11-16.

CHOOSE YOUR BIKE WISELY

Before selecting a bike, define your goals. If you want to be competitive at the front of the men’s open race, you’re best bet will be a hardtail or an ultra-light, short-travel, full-suspension 29er that climbs like a dream.

Yes, there is plenty of rowdy, rocky, rooty descending where extra squish will pay dividends. But as any bike racer knows, races are almost always won going uphill, and the 2012 Breck Epic (according to my Garmin data) had an average of 5,333 feet of climbing per day. Most of this grunting was done on either smooth singletrack track or fire roads, both places where efficiency, not suspension, is paramount.

On the other hand, if your primary goal is a good time and a finisher’s belt buckle, forget the hardtail. Bring along a short-travel trail bike (you don’t need anything more than 5 inches of travel), and get ready to rip some of Colorado’s sweetest singletrack. Every stage includes extended trail time, and all of it is grin-inducing good.

Like most of the racers at the sharp end of the race, jake wells piloted a 29er hardtail: Jake Wells choose a 29er hardtail, as he was racing for the win. Many others choose full-suspension rigs to enjoy the ride

EMBRACE THE CLOVERLEAF

Unlike most of its point-to-point race brethren, the Breck Epic utilizes a cloverleaf format, with all stages starting and finishing in Breckenridge, Colorado. Exact sites vary from day to day, but you’re never more than a couple minutes spin from race HQ and the big adjacent parking lot. That means you get to sleep in the same place each night, be it tent, RV, hotel, condo, or your buddy’s couch.

After having done a handful of point-to-point events, I can’t emphasize enough how nice it is not to pack, unpack, and repack a duffel bag every 24 hours. Sure, you miss out on some of the adventure offered by other events, which connect oceans or span mountain chains. But Breckenridge is a great place to spend a week, and the extra down time each day is pretty darn nice.

BE A MOUNTAIN BIKER

The Breck Epic isn’t as technically hard as the kingpin of trail challenge, the BC Bike Race. But that doesn’t mean the trails are easy. Most of the singletrack is fast and flowing, but also expect to encounter loose, steep, rocky sections, and some nasty sustained root barrages.

No, you don’t need to be Hans Rey to get from start to finish. But if you come to the race with sharpened technical skills, you’ll have a lot more fun – and go a lot faster, too.?

While you’re thinking like a mountain biker, make sure to use tubeless tires, bring an extra set of brake pads, and know how to do at least basic trail-side maintenance. Things will go wrong. Take it from your author, who ran into a rear derailleur problem during stage 2 that couldn’t immediately be solved, and likely ended up costing yours truly a place on the old guy’s podium.

Ross schnell rides high above breckenridge valley: Go with the flow, on the trail and with the race format

DON’T BE TYPE A

If the Breck Epic has a soft spot, it’s with some of its finite details. Each evening, we were told that the ensuing stage would be X miles long, with X thousand feet of climbing, and that the aid stations would be at mile X and Mile Y.

Well… those numbers were usually off. It was never by a lot (a mile here, a mile there). But if you’re the type that freaks out the moment everything isn’t exactly as you thought it was going to be, best choose a different race.

However, if you appreciate the fact that this is backcountry mountain bike racing, and if you realize that how you deal with adversity is part of the greater test, then you’ll be right at home.

DON’T EXPECT A CAKEWALK

Breck Epic is not a death march like TransAlp, TransPyr, or Cape Epic, which all take most mid-pack riders in excess of 50 hours to complete. But the days in the Colorado high country are by no means easy.

According to my Garmin data, the six-day event included 217 miles of saddle time (longest day, 43 miles; shortest, 26) and 32,000 feet of climbing (biggest single day gain, 6,600 feet; least gain, 3,500).

Total ride times for the week ranged from 18 hours for overall race winner Ben Sonntag, to about 34 hours for the slowest riders. The fastest woman (Amanda Carey) finished in 22.5 hours. Your author was near the front of the mid-packers at 24.5 hours. Each day’s stage typically took between 2.5 and 5 hours. And even the slowest riders were never on course more than 7 hours at a time.

Remember that recovery at high altitude is a lot different than recovery closer to sea level. Sleeping can be tough, and your body simply doesn’t snap back day after day like it would lower down. That’s why pacing is key. Go out too hard the first couple days, and you’ll almost certainly start to break down later in the week as massive fatigue sets in.

Breck epic takes riders high into the colorado rockies. so high, in fact, that walking is sometimes faster than pedaling: Welcome to 12,000 feet, where sometimes walking is faster than riding

UTILIZE THE DROP BAGS

The Breck Epic is the first MTB stage race I’ve done that provides drop bag services at the aid stations. Each morning you fill your two grocery store sized bags with whatever you might need for the day, and each day they are waiting for you at the two respective aid stations. (On days with three aid stations, your aid 1 bag is transported to aid 3 after you roll through the first pit stop.)

I filled my bags with a spare tire, extra tubes, a few tools, lube, foul weather clothes, and some food. Thankfully, aside for one bad weather day when I needed to dig out a pair of warm gloves, I only used the bags as a place to drop unneeded gear as I got closer to that day’s finish. Still, the peace of mind was huge.

Access to these bags also made it easy to forgo riding with a hydration pack. As long as you could carry a couple water bottles, a few tools, a rain jacket, and a spare tube, there was no need for the extra cargo-carrier weight strapped to your back.

AWESOME AID STATIONS

It’s also important to mention that the aid stations were well stocked with food and drink if you didn’t feel like digging into a personal bag. In addition, there was usually a mechanic on hand if you needed assistance. In fact, the aid stations were among the Breck Epic’s most impressive elements.

As you rolled in, your on-bike number plate was matched to your numbered bag, and a volunteer would quickly fish your bag out of the pile and have it waiting in hand just in case.

Volunteers filled bottles, handed out gels and food, and even took trash you’d stuffed in your jersey. They were honestly the best, most useful aid stations I’ve ever encountered.

Gear bags had to be dropped off no less than an hour before each day’s 8:30 a.m. start. each was colored coded and marked with its owner’s racer number, making it easy to find on the fly: Two drop stations for your stuff, plus plentiful food and drink on course, meant you could race light

LEARN MORE

For more details, check out BreckEpic.com. Early bird registration for the 2013 event opened this week. Base price for a 6-day entry is $650.