Breck Epic - First timer (2018) - any advice- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Breck Epic - First timer (2018) - any advice

    So I will be doing my first Breck Epic this year (2018). I have never competed in this race before and have never ridden in Breckenridge either so I don't know the trails. I have lodging figured out, so just looking for any advice on what to expect on the trails.

    My background. From Phx Az and have been riding for years. The last few I have done backcountry endurance races from 5 to 10hrs self-supported. I have also completed a few bikepack trips including Arizona Trail 300 in 2017 and a casual bikepack trip from Silverton back to Durango on the Colorado trail. (peaked at 12k on the CT)

    Most summer's I get time in Mtn from about 5000 feet to about 9000 feet. Not much riding opportunities with in a reasonable drive over 9k peak altitude, but lots from 7k to 9k including all day rides with big climbing miles and long (30min+ sustained climbs).

    Right now my prime training area is shut down due to fire danger, but should open in July with summer rains. So this weekend I did my alternate area and did a 56 miles 6100ft climbing 6hr ride. (4800 to 6600ft). Good to get a long day back in the saddle after a winter/spring of 90min sprint XC races on my single speed.


    I am bring my 100mm FS 29er for the race and assorted spares, etc. I am estimating 4-6 hrs each day assuming no mechanical/crashes or major weather disasters. I expect some hike a bike climbs and some goo ST climbs and descents. I am thinking if it as 6 Whiskey 50's in a row pretty much, but at more altitude. Am I missing anything big? Yeah weather can change so prep for afternoon thunderstorms (either drop bag or carry in my pack).
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  2. #2
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    Having only done it once, and signed up again this year, I'd say you have it right. Lots of rock in the trails, and everything from smooth flowy singletrack to endless rock gardens. I carried a jacket the entire time and wore it on two instances as we crossed passes.

    Personally I would opt for slacker than a traditional XC bike if possible and run more tire volume and beefier sidewalls than a pure XC race.
    If it's not powered solely by you, it's motorized.

    Worshiping at the Church of Singletrack since 1993.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACree View Post
    Having only done it once, and signed up again this year, I'd say you have it right. Lots of rock in the trails, and everything from smooth flowy singletrack to endless rock gardens. I carried a jacket the entire time and wore it on two instances as we crossed passes.

    Personally I would opt for slacker than a traditional XC bike if possible and run more tire volume and beefier sidewalls than a pure XC race.
    Without a doubt sidewall protection. Bring what ever bike you are comfortable on for multiple days of 4+ hours each day.
    I’ve ridden on HT and FS 29r. I would stick with the FS to go easier on the body.
    Be ready for the long altitude climbs.
    Be ready for any type of weather.
    Most important, just simply have fun and enjoy the views.


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  4. #4
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    My first time as well. I was planning Maxxis Ardent Race 2.2 (2.25?) front/Ikon 2.2 rear for dry, Maybe bigger Ardent race (2.35?) front and the smaller Ardent race rear for wet weather. This would be on a FS 100mm bike.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamssrxtreme View Post
    My first time as well. I was planning Maxxis Ardent Race 2.2 (2.25?) front/Ikon 2.2 rear for dry, Maybe bigger Ardent race (2.35?) front and the smaller Ardent race rear for wet weather. This would be on a FS 100mm bike.
    I used the Ardent race 2.35 front and rear with EXO protection.


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  6. #6
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    I plan on running my standard tires. 2.35 Ikon Exo front and 2.2 Bonty XR3 team in the back. I have very good luck with these tires over miles desert rocky riding as well as forest riding. Sounds like no reason to change that as I never ran light XC race tires.

    Any advice for bag drops? I am thinking of carrying 1 spare tube in my pack and maybe another spare tube in bag drop rather than carrying 2 spare tubes. Extra food (I go with cliff bars based on personal experience) also good for bag drops? I am thinking of just packing a rain jacket rather than using the drops as I have heard of people needing the rain gear long before they get to the drop location.

    Generally I want to keep my pack lighter and am used to self supported stuff so tend to pack everything. Might be easier to use the bag drop like "pit" stops for certain less likely to need gear/spares.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  7. #7
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    Last year I ran skinny tires (2.25 AR/Ikon - except for stage 4 where I rode my HT) hoping to go faster but was sick leading into and for the first few days. "Most" of the trails are pretty good. I think your tire choices, generally speaking, will be fine but like smaller tires like the forekaster for moondust (stage 2 - westridge and blair witch and 4 - CT/Blair).

    the volunteers are GREAT at getting your bags to you as fast as you come in so I'd recommend going with as little in your pack as possible. I tended to ride without a jacket but had them in my drop bags just keep an eye on the forecast. Worst case I have a few of the "ponchos" (aka trash bags) from 24hop that are small enough to pack without weighing a lot or being too bulky.

  8. #8
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    Thanks...

    Makes me wonder.... Can I get away without a pack? I raced all season without a pack and just bottles, but those 90 min to 2 hr races on lap courses. I never needed anything other than water, but maybe it was just luck. My bike can carry 2 bottles (25oz an 21 oz) so that so some water, but not enough for the entire ride. Since I am on an Epic I have SWAT box for tube, CO2, tire bacon, tire lever and multitool and leaves room under the seat for normal seat bag with extra supplies. Makes me wonder.... Do I try to run a little lighter and have less emergency stuff on the course or go a little heavier and pack it.

    Hmm....
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  9. #9
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    Each time I do this event I carry less and less stuff and rely more on drop bags and aid stations, which as others have mentioned are well stocked and very efficient. Last year I even dumped my camelbak and just used a big bottle in the frame and a small one in my middle jersey pocket.

    I like to carry a lightweight rain shell with me for emergencies but my foul-weather gear is kept in drop bags at the aid stations. If it rains in Breck it's normally after noon so most extra clothing goes in drop #2 or #3.

    You should bring burly tires and rims (EXO is a good choice, or Snakeskin or Protektion depending on tire brand); anything that touches the trail will take a week-long hammering so be prepared for that. A spare wheelset would be wise. BTW it sounds like you still run tubes? Bring lots and lots of those if that's the case; carry two and put two in each drop bag.

    I train for the race at 7-8K ft elevation and I don't seem to have too many problems in that regard during race week.

    You will likely be doing some hike-a-bike every day; so will everyone else so don't worry about it.

    Mike Mac likes to torture us by throwing in 600-1000ft of climbing in the last four miles or so of each stage so be prepared for that; I invent new names for him every time that happens :-) The payoff is a fun final downhill to the finish line each day.

    Not sure what else to mention other than, as others have mentioned, look up! The views are stunning.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdcadbiker View Post
    .. A spare wheelset would be wise. BTW it sounds like you still run tubes? Bring lots and lots of those if that's the case; carry two and put two in each drop bag. ....

    Mike Mac likes to torture us by throwing in 600-1000ft of climbing in the last four miles or so of each stage so be prepared for that; I invent new names for him every time that happens :-) The payoff is a fun final downhill to the finish line each day.

    Not sure what else to mention other than, as others have mentioned, look up! The views are stunning.
    Thanks for the tips.
    I run tubeless and have for years, but always carry a tube just in case I cut a sidewall. I had that happen the last time I ran Ikon's in the back. I was 25 miles into a 55 mile backcountry race and 15 miles from my car. The only people that came by were the other racers on this event (all 15 of them). So am used to backcoutry remote self survival stuff. I am learning to ride with less gear and use aid stations more.
    Good info on the last climb.. Always good to know you are getting kick in nuts at the end of each day. And when it comes to Hike a bike.. Yeah been there done that and expect to do more. It is kind of treat if there is no extended HAB... Ha...

    Here is the bike I plan on bringing.


    2018 Epic 21.9lbs
    XX1 1x11 28t chainring and 10-42 cassette
    DT Swiss XMC1200 carbon wheels with 2.35 Ikon, 2.2 XR3.

    Last I bikepacked part of the CT with Santa Cruz Highball with the same 28t and 10-42 cassette. The low end was not that bad even to 11,500 loaded with bikepack gear so I think it will be ok and once I need a lower gear I will be walking anyway.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Thanks for the tips.
    I run tubeless and have for years, but always carry a tube just in case I cut a sidewall. I had that happen the last time I ran Ikon's in the back. I was 25 miles into a 55 mile backcountry race and 15 miles from my car. The only people that came by were the other racers on this event (all 15 of them). So am used to backcoutry remote self survival stuff. I am learning to ride with less gear and use aid stations more.
    Good info on the last climb.. Always good to know you are getting kick in nuts at the end of each day. And when it comes to Hike a bike.. Yeah been there done that and expect to do more. It is kind of treat if there is no extended HAB... Ha...

    Here is the bike I plan on bringing.


    2018 Epic 21.9lbs
    XX1 1x11 28t chainring and 10-42 cassette
    DT Swiss XMC1200 carbon wheels with 2.35 Ikon, 2.2 XR3.

    Last I bikepacked part of the CT with Santa Cruz Highball with the same 28t and 10-42 cassette. The low end was not that bad even to 11,500 loaded with bikepack gear so I think it will be ok and once I need a lower gear I will be walking anyway.
    I ran 3 bottles. Third in my jersey and just filled up at the aid stations. Using my own tailwind. I think the aid used GU.

    Drop bag had light weight jacket and extra tubes, CO2, and eats. Carried one tube in my jersey and one strapped under my seat.

    Gearing wise I used shimano 30 up front and 11-42 in the back.


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  12. #12
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    Breck Epic - First timer (2018) - any advice

    Not signed up but maybe next year.....I don't know if they have spare bottles at aid stations but I've decided to add a bottle in my usual drop bag in case I eject one on the trail.


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  13. #13
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    I've done the BE for the past three years and it is awesome. Kind of having withdrawals not doing it this year.

    I have ridden in on:
    Turner czar
    Cannondale fsi
    Cannondale scalpel si

    Each bike was fine and i preferred the scalpel with a dropper on it. Dropper for the fire road descents.

    I have used:
    Ikon, rara, roro, ardent race, mezcals at the race.

    Mezcals were the best

    My times were in the 2:15-4:30 range i think for each day.

    Only carried 2 water bottles, tube, tools. Had filled water bottles in aid bags when needed.

    It is an awesome race. The scenery is just beautiful. Make sure you look around and soak in the sights.

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  14. #14
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    I've done BE six or seven times.

    I carry tools (Tülbag loaded with allen keys, chain break, spare link, Dynaplug Air, tire boot material, and always Gorilla tape), two bottles, a little food, and maybe a light GORE jacket if rain is predicted.

    That said, I still put a(nother) jacket in the last drop bag of the day regardless of predicted weather. Also spare gloves, cycling cap, and a long sleeve layer. Extra tubes and CO2 preloaded in a Backcountry Research strap in all drop bags.



    Oh yeah, if jersey pocket space is at a premium, a Super 8 strap on the top tube can hold most light rain coats.



    Also, the few times I skimped on tires, I paid the price on Little French Gulch. Not worth it to me.

    Two bottles was all I ever needed to get from aid to aid, but it's not a bad idea to toss a bottle (even if it's empty) in a drop bag. Better safe than sorry.
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  15. #15
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    Looking to sign up for the 3-day. First timer, though I have ridden in breck many times, F50 five times. Which 3 days is more fun? Flat lander here.

  16. #16
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    IMO Days 2,3 and 5.

    2 is fun
    3 is the "queen stage"
    5 is Wheeler Pass. It's unique.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fazz View Post
    IMO Days 2,3 and 5.

    2 is fun
    3 is the "queen stage"
    5 is Wheeler Pass. It's unique.
    I would have to agree these are the best 3 days. But there is no 3 day even that just does those.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  18. #18
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    Did the 3 day this past August (first 3 days)....signed up for the full 6 for 2019. I love the riding in Breck some of the best anywhere in the state. This was my first time doing a multi day race; I really enjoyed it and like the vibe. 6 days will be a really big test for sure.

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