Piercing blue skis, majestic mountain vistas, and warm weather are the calling cards for summertime in the Rockies. It’s the perfect time of year to fly-fish the Blue River, stand up paddleboard Dillon Reservoir, hike on of the dozens of local trails, or bike through the woods or down the river trail. The warm weather of summer also brings with it some of the best competitive events in the Colorado mountains. This August brings two great bike races to Summit County with Stage II of the Colorado Classic taking place August 11th and the Breck Epic starting August 13th and continuing through the 18th.
The Colorado Classic
The Colorado Classic will bring the pro-level road bike competition circuit to Breckenridge this year while the USA Pro Challenge is on hold for 2017. Last year’s USA Pro Challenge was one of the biggest and most boisterous parties our small mountain town saw all summer. Costume clad spectators chased competitors through the streets of Breckenridge as the sound of cowbells clanging was nearly drowned out by the encouraging cheers from the crowd. This year’s competition promises much the same with new teams entering the race and a stage race design that will highlight some of the state’s best scenery while providing enhanced spectator viewing.
Cycling teams from all over the world are heading to Colorado to test their grit against the Rocky Mountains with teams coming from as far away as Rwanda, Spain, and Italy. Men pro cyclists in the 4-stage race will cover 313 miles (503.5 km) and endure more than 20,000 feet of intense, high-altitude climbing and women pros in their 2-stage race will follow essentially the same course as the men, and cover 70 miles (113.2 km) and power through more than 5,800 feet of climbing. Stage 1 will take place in Colorado Springs on August 10th before the grueling Stage 2 kicks off in Breckenridge on August 11th. The Breckenridge course will consist of 10 laps around a tough 6.4-mile loop starting in Downtown and climbing up the infamous Moonstone climb before zooming down Illinois Gulch and back through Downtown. The 64-mile Stage 2 race will test the endurance and willpower of the riders while providing awesome viewing for spectators as the racers speed past 10 times. See the complete course descriptions and get more information at veloramacolorado.com.
The Breck Epic
The Breck Epic is an event that allows competitors to loosen their collars with the only three rules of the race being:
“1. Don’t be a "jerk."* (This really covers a lot of ground.)
(subsection 1): are you now serving or have you ever served a USADA or WADA suspension? Yes? You’re out.
2. Wear your helmet.
3. Don’t litter in our beautiful backcountry. Seriously.
Anything else that pops up? We’ll do what’s right and what’s fair. That’s been working pretty well so far.”
The Breck Epic is more of a local’s event with the majority of the competitors hailing from Summit County and Colorado. The event consists of 6 big mountain bike loops ranging from 35-50 miles long spread across the 6-day competition. Each loop starts and ends within a mile of Downtown Breckenridge and all the loops form a clover leaf pattern, offering cyclists a unique opportunity to explore some of Breck’s best mountain biking. If you’re looking to join in on the fun but you don’t want to commit to a 6-day race, or you don’t think your legs can handle 6 days of punishment, you can join in the Epic-Curious group that completes 3 of the 6 loops.
For more information or to register for the race visit breckepic.com.
*Original word in rules changed for public consumption.