Breck Epic was created by a group of mountain bikers who were thinking of the most epic and smile-inducing rides they could crush with their best friends in six days. That’s when, Breck Epic was born. 2019 marked the race’s 11th year of hosting one of the best mountain biking events in the U.S.
The race is a dirt rider’s dream. It’s composed of six BIG backcountry loops, each between 35 and 50 miles long. Each loop starts and finishes within a mile from downtown Breckenridge and incorporates the sprawling network of trails in both Summit and Park Counties.The six stages that compose the Epic include long middle-ring climbs and endless big-ring mashing descents.
Every day of the Epic produced a new challenge for riders. New trails meant new climbs and opportunities for riders to showcase their chops.
Day one of the Epic kicked off with heavy rain and chilly temperatures, which meant lots of wipeouts and mud covered faces. Riders endured a painful battle as they finished the first 36-mile stage of the race.
Day two amped up the mileage and vertical gain. Stage two consisted of a 41-mile climb, but also brought sunshine and warmer temperatures along with shaky legs.
Day three consisted of a grueling, 39-mile circumnavigation of Mount Guyot during the race’s queen’s stage (the stage of a race with the most climbing). Riders faced a descent through a snow field, technical downhill sections and even had a herd of mountain goats cheer them on along the course.
Day four was the Epic’s longest stage, with 40+ miles of flowy singletrack and 6 relentless climbs, including a trip up Vomit Hill. Riders pushed themselves to their limits during the hardest parts of the course, trying to build gaps and distance themselves from other competitors.
Day five was a shorter ride at just 24 miles, but don’t let that fool you. The wheeler stage consists of painfully long descents and crests 12,400 feet three times and gains 5,544 vertical feet. To top day five off, a couple got married at 12,400 feet mid-race.
Day six was the final 30-mile stage and with the finish line in sight, new riders dominated the sixth stage, beating out the men’s and women’s steady five-day leaders for top podium finishes. Afterward, it was time to celebrate.
Keegan Swenson came prepared for his first ever Breck Epic debut. The 25-year-old national XC championy dominated the men’s division with five first place finishes in a row and a first place finish in the overall six-day race. After his impressive win at the Epic, Swenson has positioned himself as the top American rider at next summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
Katerina Nash, a 41-year-old Clif Pro Athlete and five-time Olympian had a similar Epic experience in the women’s division. She showcased her years of skill and knowledge, taking home first place finishes five days in a row and winning the overall six-day race with impressive gaps.
Shop now to get gear that will hold up to even the gnarliest Breck Epic stages.
We had the chance to sit down with Eric Hill, founder and president ofProject Echelon, a 501c3 veterans non-profit that engages, equips, educates, and empowers veterans and their families through physical activity and self-discovery.
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