Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Endurance racing has diversified over the past decade, evolving from traditional cross-country racing into events designed to challenge a rider’s fitness, bike handling skills and mental strength over a prolonged period of time. The Breck Epic is a 6-day backcountry mountain bike stage race held against the stunning high-alpine backdrop of Colorado’s Central Rockies in Breckenridge, Colorado. Two-person teams and solo competitors contest each stage with cumulative elapsed time over all five stages determining the winning team.

The format has gained traction internationally with athletes and media alike, yet to date there are no significant MTB stage races of this length in the United States. Increasingly, the most popular mountain bikes events are extreme challenges; 24-hour races and 100-mile ultra-endurance events are great examples. The Epic falls into this category – it’s experiential in nature, challenging each participant to seek out reserves of strength and character throughout a prolonged effort. Here the competitive experience is measured in days, not hours. The nature of a stage race creates drama, not just at the top of the leader board, but among each team and within the mind of each athlete as the depths of each individual’s physical and mental resolve is plumbed over a span of 6 days and 250+ off-road miles.

All images courtesy Liam Doran:

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