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  1. #1
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    Noob - List of Best XC Endurance Races

    Hey all, been riding a little more serious the last couple years, upgraded my bike etc a good amount over the last year...and now I want to acually push myself a bit more and enter some races, not to be the best, but just for the sake of competition and encomplishment. I have heard of (and would love to do the Leadville 100) but what else is out there? What are the best races to try and tackle.

    I live in the midwest FWIW.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Laramie Enduro - 111K
    Last edited by EricD4; 10-06-2013 at 07:13 PM.

  3. #3
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    Whiskey 50

  4. #4
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    Tatanka 100- SD
    Mohican 100- OH
    Breck 100- CO

  5. #5
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    Anything in the Arizona Endurance Series.

  6. #6
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    And why are these the "best" races?

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    Appreciate the responses. My thought about "best" means "a lot of fun and challenging." Keep the suggestions coming.

    Thanks.

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    Here is a fairly comprehensive list of endurance races:
    2013 Race Calendar | XXC Magazine
    Grit, spit, and a w**** lot of duct tape!

  10. #10
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    Butte 100 in Montana and the Capitol Forest 100 in Washington.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil.beltchenko View Post
    +1 No entry fee, good people, friendly competition. Some of the events had aid stations where we each donated food items, while others had us filtering water & stopping at gas stations. Self-supported, with cuesheets/GPX files provided. Not for everyone, but it is certainly my cup of tea.

    The Laramie Enduro has a reasonable entry fee, fast course, excellent aid station support, and the best after party of any event I have ever attended. The LE organization also puts on the Stone Temple 8-hour every September at Curt Gowdy State Park. Although the weather wasn't the best this year, the 14-15 mile lap offers excellent single track riding.

  12. #12
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    The Steamboat Stinger is great, 2x 25 mile loops, with only 2mi of dirt road. Singletrack heaven on Emerald Mt, plus all the Honey Stinger product you can eat.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by economatic View Post
    And why are these the "best" races?
    scenery

    terrain

    field size

    entry fee

    avg weather = good

    awards

    1 large loop vs multiple laps

    positive vibe...

  14. #14
    zrm
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    There are a lot of good ones out there. It's pretty hard to beat the Breck 100 though.

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    Dirty Kanza 200, if you can roll 200 miles in 16 hours or less you get a prize.

  16. #16
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    If you live in the mid west you should try the Lutsen 99er.

  17. #17
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    Breck Epic was the best race experience of my life!!!!
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  18. #18
    amd
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    Check out the NUE series. All the races are chosen based on how good they are. All are hard, all are fun.

  19. #19
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    Mohican and Shenandoah are two of my favourites. Great course, long climbs, single lap. Amazing vibe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fueledbymetal View Post
    Breck Epic was the best race experience of my life!!!!
    ok so I keep hearing this is a great race. I live Nebraska. So I ride terrain that is way below altitude, is the Breck 100 doable for a flatlander like me? Not looking to place or anything remotely close to that, for me it is all about the challenge and finishing. And I know about the B30 and the B50 (or whatever they are called). I want to do the "real one", ya know. I guess this question goes for any true mountain race. I appreciate challenges. Thanks again!

  21. #21
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    AGREE!


    I've done both as well, and they both have their unique vibe. Each has their own memorable parts/aspects too.

    IMO...

    Mohican (I did it in 2009)- Amazing rolling terrain with some deceivingly tough climbs, and INCREDIBLE singletrack. The Mongolian BBQ they had at the finish was THE BEST post-race meal ever! Also: of note: The great Lakes brew they served was beyond good!


    Shenandoah (did it in 08 and 11) - The GWNF is simply stunning. The support and volunteers were nothing short of AMAZING. They make you feel like a NASCAR driver at every aid station, as they literally attack you to see what you, your bike, and your kit may need. They Rock. The gong at the end is a nice touch too. My fiancee' volunteered at checkpint #5, and she was blown away (never been to one of these) with the whole experiece.



    just my .02
    Last edited by RSW42; 10-19-2013 at 03:47 AM.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by beltron2000 View Post
    ok so I keep hearing this is a great race. I live Nebraska. So I ride terrain that is way below altitude, is the Breck 100 doable for a flatlander like me? Not looking to place or anything remotely close to that, for me it is all about the challenge and finishing. And I know about the B30 and the B50 (or whatever they are called). I want to do the "real one", ya know. I guess this question goes for any true mountain race. I appreciate challenges. Thanks again!
    The B68 and Breck 100 are really tough races even for guys that ride altitude. They are great races and not much out there like them. There are a lot of flatlanders that come out to do them so train hard and come on out.
    The LPG

  23. #23
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    I have never done the Breck 100, I'm pretty new to racing. But I would suggest trying something with less hype. That is what I have done, and it has been great. The Gunnison Growler is a great race.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil.beltchenko View Post
    I have never done the Breck 100, I'm pretty new to racing. But I would suggest trying something with less hype. That is what I have done, and it has been great. The Gunnison Growler is a great race.
    Is it "hype" if it's true?

    The Breck 100 is one of my favorite races. It's stunning really. And it is pretty damn hard. Maybe not the best choice for a first time 100-miler but really depends on what you're looking for.

    The Growler is really, really awesome too. It's actually a lot easier to get a spot in the Breck 100 than the Growler though...

    Park City Point-to-Point is another stellar race, and another hard one to get a spot for.

    Low elevation option- Fool's Gold was fun- though really late season.

    Tatanka 100 was also fun.

    I like big loops/point-to-points better than laps of any sort. Breck 100 is a nice clover leaf which helps with support options.

    Pick one, any one, that is at the time of year you want to race big, looks like it has good terrain, and is in a great place with a good reputation for support and after race atmosphere (Breck 100, Growler, Point-to-point excel here) and sign up.

    e

  25. #25
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    Awesome, I am getting pumped already reading about this stuff. I am primarily a Cat 1 XC racer but I am preparing to devote myself to the NUE series next year. Perhaps I'll have the guts to register for the Breck 100.

    I'll just throw in the El Paso Puzzler, arguably the hardest 50 miler out there. This race is nutty.
    El Paso Puzzler Endurance Mountain Bike Race | Leaving You In Pieces

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil.beltchenko View Post
    ... The Gunnison Growler is a great race.
    Never have done the Breck 100, have heard great things.

    But the Growler? I've ridden it twice and helped at an aid station once, and I will say without reservation that it's easily the best-run bike race I've ever been part of. Outstanding, every aspect.

    I'd also agree with Neil's earlier post about the Colorado Endurance Series. Lots of super good long rides being put on as grass roots efforts.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by beltron2000 View Post
    ok so I keep hearing this is a great race. I live Nebraska. So I ride terrain that is way below altitude, is the Breck 100 doable for a flatlander like me?...
    I come form sea level (coastal maryland) and adapted well enough to compete mid-pack in the 6 day epic. The altitude is an extra challenge for sure, but you can survive, epspecially for only a one day race.
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  28. #28
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    Dakota 50

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    Chequamegon 100

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  29. #29
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    My 2 cents. You really want to test the waters before you invest in the time/effort/money to go to one of these classic races. There is a lot to learn that you simply can't learn until you show up on race day. Try a couple local 6 or 8 hr races. Lap races are mentally tougher than big loop or point to point since the opportunity to simply bail comes around every hour or so. I am straight up back of the pack "what's that fat old guy doing at the start line?" racer. But I still have fun and enjoy longer races.

  30. #30
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    My favorite endurance races in order:

    1) Shenandoah 100: It's just the best. Best trails, best vibe, best people, best volunteers

    2) Wilderness 101: See above. Same promoter, trails in Rothrock/Bald Eagle are amazing, but not quite GWNF.

    3) Syllamo's Revenge: Sweet rocky singletrack

    4) Rattling Creek Off-Road: A "local" 50 miler in PA. Great trails, chill vibe

    5) Mohican 100: Cool race, trails are nice and flowy, but I like rocky, technical singletrack better
    Brought to you by rocks.

  31. #31
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    If you are from the Midwest you might want to test the waters close to home before you drop a Ton of money for lodging, travel and racing. I had a friend from Chicago come out to visit who was 100% convinced that he was ready for a 100 mile race in Colorado. He was running marathons at home and racing bikes. Took him on a tough 40 miler and he decided he had no desire for a 100 miler.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrock450 View Post
    If you are from the Midwest you might want to test the waters close to home before you drop a Ton of money for lodging, travel and racing. I had a friend from Chicago come out to visit who was 100% convinced that he was ready for a 100 mile race in Colorado. He was running marathons at home and racing bikes. Took him on a tough 40 miler and he decided he had no desire for a 100 miler.
    Totally agree.

    Easy way to see how it could go would be to come out for one of these:

    Colorado Endurance Series | Endurance riding in Americas beer and fitness capitol

    I did Leadville three times. I have never done an endurance series ride that was as easy as Leadville. I have never done an endurance series ride that was boring.
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    Thanks, those CES races look like a good start. We are not that far from Colorado. Some of those east coast races, which look awesome, may be down the road for me. Truth be told the hardest challenge in all of this will be getting the miles in with three kiddos, still trying to figure that out.

    Again, appreciate the advice.

  34. #34
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    Any recommendations for a NorCal noob? Not looking to travel too far right now for a race. Thanks.

  35. #35
    jms
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnThaCouch View Post
    Any recommendations for a NorCal noob? Not looking to travel too far right now for a race. Thanks.
    My favorites in the N. California area:

    Cascade Cream Puff [Oakridge, OR]

    High Cascades 100 [Bend, OR]

    Fat 55 [Oakridge, OR]

    Whiskeytown 9 to 5 [Redding, CA]

    Mendocino 100 [Fort Bragg, CA]
    My Favorite Peeps:

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    ... and if we just ...

    Thanks for the leads. Workin' on my engine this winter . Looking forward to putting one endurance "race" on my calendar. I've been camping up near Whiskeytown so that might be a lot of fun. I read here on mtbr that the Mendo100 was a blast last year. Choices, choices, choices

    Quote Originally Posted by jms View Post
    My favorites in the N. California area:

    Cascade Cream Puff [Oakridge, OR]

    High Cascades 100 [Bend, OR]

    Fat 55 [Oakridge, OR]

    Whiskeytown 9 to 5 [Redding, CA]

    Mendocino 100 [Fort Bragg, CA]

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    I did Leadville three times. I have never done an endurance series ride that was as easy as Leadville.
    Leadville is neither easy or boring if you race it. This is where many go wrong -- they "ride it". That event needs to be raced, wether your gunning for the podium or 743rd place, to make it fun. I agree that there are plenty of races/"events" that are neither easy or boring even when you're just "riding" them, Leadville just ain't one of them.

    Two very good XC endurance events I've done over the past couple of years are the Laramie Enduro (good value, great scenery, good mix of fast jeep trail and single track) and the Steamboat Honey Stinger 50 miler (good value, awesome single track).
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeT View Post
    Leadville is neither easy or boring if you race it. This is where many go wrong -- they "ride it". That event needs to be raced, wether your gunning for the podium or 743rd place, to make it fun. I agree that there are plenty of races/"events" that are neither easy or boring even when you're just "riding" them, Leadville just ain't one of them...
    I did not say Leadville was easy. Every one of my three rides there I left nothing in the tank.

    My point was that the CO Endurance Series rides are hard. How about I say it this way:

    I have never done an endurance series ride that wasn't harder than Leadville.

    I also never said Leadville was boring.

    If you actually read what I said you'll see that I do not slag on Leadville.
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  39. #39
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    I think we're pretty much on the same side here, but without the added explanation it was difficult (for me) to interpret what you said as anything but Leadville as being easy (with the caveat that riding 100 miles can ever be considered easy):

    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    I have never done an endurance series ride that was as easy as Leadville.
    I apologize for misunderstanding the intent of that statement.

    I also understand that people have definitions of "hard" that vary or apply to different things -- technical single track versus two track, hard steep climbs versus gradual ascents, and so on. I usually think about how much anaerobic hurt and muscle fatigue I experience doing the race for how "hard" a race is rather than the technical nature of the course or how steep a given climb may be. An endurance "race" is always hard, an endurance "ride" is sometimes hard...
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

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    The maah daah hey 100 in Western North Dakota. It is beautiful, tough, constant climbing and descending and cheap to enter. Based on the percentage of people that finish it each year, I am guessing it is one of the harder races in the Midwest. The pros finished it last year in 12:30.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnThaCouch View Post
    Thanks for the leads. Workin' on my engine this winter . Looking forward to putting one endurance "race" on my calendar. I've been camping up near Whiskeytown so that might be a lot of fun. I read here on mtbr that the Mendo100 was a blast last year. Choices, choices, choices
    I had a great time at the Mendo100 last year. (Note that you should take what I have to say with a grain of salt 'cause I helped out a little with planning of the race).

    I've never done the Whiskeytown 9 to 5. Although I quite like the riding up there, and the Bigfoot guys are great, a lap race and a hundred miler (or 85 miler, as the Mendo 100 actually was last year) are two very different things. I vastly prefer single-loop races, possibly because I lack the mental toughness to ride the same hour of trail over and over all day. But I think there's a reason that 8 and 24 hour races are getting less popular and 100 milers more so.

    The Whiskeytown race will be really small. Probably a few dozen people, judging from past results. The Mendo 100 was pretty small this year (around 100 riders, I think), but I'm guessing it'll be much bigger next year since people dug it so much. There's also a 100k option if you decide 100 miles is too much to bite off.

    Another option for you: the Bike Monkey Boggs 8-hour race. All the bad things about lap racing that I said earlier are true for this race but it's a huge scene (600 racers, i think?) and a pretty good party. If, like me, you discover you don't have the mental stamina to ride around in circles after 7 hours you can stop and drink beer and cheer on other people. Always a win.

  42. #42
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    Sounds like there are a lot of great endurance aces out there and a lot of people who love them.

    OP, what kind of race do YOU want? A gravel grinder, just going for distance or a beatdown? If you just want to test your legs/mind and finish do a flatter race but if you want to have a race with a good deal of uncertainty of finishing head up into the mountains. Come to AZ and do any of the AZ Endurance Series races for great scenery, people and grassroots feel. Bring your HAB shoes.

    Then there are the true ultra races found here. 2014 Ultra Racing Calendar

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