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  1. #1
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    Favorite Stage Races

    What are the stage races worth taking a week off work and forking over $3k for travel and race fees for?

  2. #2
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Breck epic and tse

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    I think Breck is worth it, but it's the only one I have done. Going back this year

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    Breck epic and tse

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    What is the tse?

  5. #5
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    What is the tse?
    Trans-Sylvania Epic. The top pros say the hardest in America.

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    I'd also like it if you could mention what you do for over night accommodations. Whether it's hotel, camping, or ect. and the technicality of the race.

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    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    I'd also like it if you could mention what you do for over night accommodations. Whether it's hotel, camping, or ect. and the technicality of the race.
    For TSE most people all camp together at the organized location. Its the most technical riding you can find.

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  8. #8
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    TSE, Breck and the Pisgah stage race (all close to a week long) can all be done with a budget cap of $3k pretty easily. I've never done Pisgah since I ride there all the time, but have done the other two six or seven times each.

    It's pretty easy to find affordable lodging in Breck. They usually partner with the lodge on site, but you can find condos to share pretty cheap in the area. The whole town is a bike ride away, and you can get shuttles from the Denver airport.

    Most people at TSE stay on site. There are lodges, cabins and camping. Food trucks came in every morning and evening for those that didn't feel like fending/cooking for themselves.

    Any particular questions, just shoot.

    TSE is technically hard. Breck is difficult due to altitude, but the descents are to die for.
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    With the number of people I saw endoing in videos from that transylvania race I'm surprised everyone was riding with an aero cockpit and not a more relaxed cockpit with riser bars and a short stem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    With the number of people I saw endoing in videos from that transylvania race I'm surprised everyone was riding with an aero cockpit and not a more relaxed cockpit with riser bars and a short stem.
    XC people gonna XC.

    I've busted my ass (literally) once at the TSE, on a bike with riser bars, 50mm stem and 150mm fork on the Enduro Stage day.



    The only stage race that I didn't finish since 2004.

    Normally, I'm running rigid, 70mm stem, wide'ish bar and a dropper post.

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  11. #11
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    La Ruta de Los Conquistadores (Costa Rica). Probably over $3K but Costa Rica is a righteous place to mountain bike and this race is a lot of fun.

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    Funny how they charge $700 to locals and $1350 to foreigners. How is vacationing in costa rica now. Would it be safe to get drunk on the beach the week after? 160 miles with 29,000 feet of climbing in 3 days sounds pretty intense.

  13. #13
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    My take. It's only three days now (it was upped to four for a few years). They have some trail, but it's heavy on pavement, gravel and double track. Not much there for someone who likes to mountain bike. You do La Ruta for the pure challenge of it (and it is a challenge).

    As a non-local, you are getting some lodging and meals. Granted in '07, we were put up almost two hours away from the day four start. Getting up at 4:00AM on the last day was interesting, but it was a fantastic place that we stayed at... for maybe 8 or 9 hours.

    As far as distance/elevation, Breck is six days, 240 miles, 40,000 feet... all above 10,000 feet above sea level.
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  14. #14
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    I feel like if I'm going to drop serious money for a race I would prefer to do something in Asia or Europe. The Pisgah and the Trans I can drive to in a day no problem and a flight to Denver would cost me less than $300. I could race and return home for less than $2000 no problem. What would be the better races if I was to take 2 weeks off work and spend a week in a foreign country or region? Something like the swiss epic or Iron bike make it move.

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    I've done BCBR & Breck Epic. Had hoped to do singletrack 6 this year but too tough to schedule around this year. I suppose you could throw Moab Rocks in there (3 days).

    I thoroughly enjoyed BCBR but IMO the stages are a little short (same for Moab Rocks). Everything was taken care of and it's definitely a bucketlist sort of event. In the next year or two I'd like to do the Swiss Epic (not entirely sure why I've keyed on that one but...???). Have a few friends who've done Cape Epic and it sounds neat but I'm not one who does well in the heat and I can ride fireroads just about anywhere.

    I'm kinda biased but love the Breck stuff and ride many of the loops just because they're so badass (such as Stage 3/Mt Guyot)... That said, you can ride them for free too

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgerow View Post
    I think Breck is worth it, but it's the only one I have done. Going back this year
    Same, and also coming back.

    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    I'd also like it if you could mention what you do for over night accommodations. Whether it's hotel, camping, or ect. and the technicality of the race.
    Stayed at the host hotel last year, which was reasonably priced (if dated) and convenient. Have a condo booked this year. Personally I liked Breck because the courses were legit mtb bike courses. There is a nice mix of some technical singletrack (and jeep/4x4 road for that matter) lots of flow singletrack, great views, an adequate amount of hike a bike, and not enough paved or gravel roads to be offensive. One of the appeals was also that it is loops from town, enabling staying in the same place the whole time, with hotels, restaurants and such. Pre race communication was lacking IMO, and I was prepared for the race to be a sh!t show, and was pleasantly surprised that it was not, and came away pretty impressed with the organizer. The only real complaints I have are that USAC doesn't add value to participants and processing fees should be part of the stated entry fee.

    All that said, it's hard to justify spending a week in August racing in CO when one could spend a week in Sept riding in CO, and have every bit as much fun, plus get to see CO fall color.
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    also stayed in a condo last year for Breck. It was good, but I will stay a bit closer this time and not nearly as far up-slope. I found myself going to the venue every morning (for drop bags) and every afternoon (post race meeting, which was worth while attending BTW). I wouldn't mind being a bit closer so I could walk or roll up on the bike if I don't feel like driving. Tons of options for lodging and food. Definitely starting in town each day makes things easy.....great race, as others have detailed. Breck in September sounds cold to me though! Temps were in 30s a few mornings in August, which is normal at 10k feet I guess...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgerow View Post
    also stayed in a condo last year for Breck. It was good, but I will stay a bit closer this time and not nearly as far up-slope. I found myself going to the venue every morning (for drop bags) and every afternoon (post race meeting, which was worth while attending BTW). I wouldn't mind being a bit closer so I could walk or roll up on the bike if I don't feel like driving. Tons of options for lodging and food. Definitely starting in town each day makes things easy.....great race, as others have detailed. Breck in September sounds cold to me though! Temps were in 30s a few mornings in August, which is normal at 10k feet I guess...
    Yeah, in Sept, starting at 8:30 a.m. would be rough. But without the afternoon thundershowers, there's not as much need to get done so early. Fall color makes it pretty worthwhile though. Pic below is from 2010.

    Favorite Stage Races-p1040861-1.jpg
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Disney's Frozen Head View Post
    ...I'm kinda biased but love the Breck stuff...
    This^^
    As a flatlander, Breck is the ultimate challenge for me: racing above 10Kft for six straight days. The trails are awesome too.

    If your funds are good then by all means go do one of the Alpine stage races, there are several options in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy and I've heard good things about all of them. They're too spendy for me but I would if I could. You could take a look at the Yak Attack in Nepal too.

  20. #20
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    You may talk me into doing that brec race since it would be something different for me. Where exactly should I stay if I do it? Do any of the stages at brec call for a really steep HT XC bike. My current bike is pretty slack by XC standards. None of the local trails are very steep so I went with more of a trailish XC bike.
    Last edited by party_wagon; 02-22-2018 at 08:10 AM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACree View Post
    All that said, it's hard to justify spending a week in August racing in CO when one could spend a week in Sept riding in CO, and have every bit as much fun, plus get to see CO fall color.
    In for that plan. Any year!
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    You may talk me into doing that brec race since it would be something different for me. Where exactly should I stay if I do it? Do any of the stages at brec call for a really steep HT XC bike. My current bike is pretty slack by XC standards. None of the local trails are very steep so I went with more of a trailish XC bike.
    It would make sense to stay at the host hotel, Beaver Run; goto breckepic.com for a discount code.

    Nobody in their right mind rides a HT at Breck (except those SS guys but their sanity is questionable at the best of times). You will see all kinds of FS bikes there; 100mm-120mm 29ers are the most common even among the pros but there will be guys riding loose, slack trail bikes too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdcadbiker View Post
    It would make sense to stay at the host hotel, Beaver Run; goto breckepic.com for a discount code.

    Nobody in their right mind rides a HT at Breck (except those SS guys but their sanity is questionable at the best of times). You will see all kinds of FS bikes there; 100mm-120mm 29ers are the most common even among the pros but there will be guys riding loose, slack trail bikes too.
    Is the race worth doing or would I be better off just going out there in the fall and riding solo for the fall colors?

  24. #24
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    Is the race worth doing or would I be better off just going out there in the fall and riding solo for the fall colors?
    This is the racing forum. Who rides their bike to look at colors? Not racers racing. So do you want to race or not. The thread started as what stage races, now youre talking about finding yourself looking at colors.

    Go do the Pioneer in New Zealand and spend 3k. Some friends are going. That would be different
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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    Is the race worth doing or would I be better off just going out there in the fall and riding solo for the fall colors?
    I think so. I can do the loops for free but find myself lining up every other year or so. The loops vary just a little bit as new trails are added or just to mix it up but the general gist is the same.

    That said, Sept and early Oct are probably the best times for riding up high due to (as said below) the general lack of afternoon storms.

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    What tires do people typically use at Brec? I've been thinking about picking up something like a used thunderbolt frame and moving my parts over. Is it something like ardent dhr2 or is it more like ikon ardent?

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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    What tires do people typically use at Brec? I've been thinking about picking up something like a used thunderbolt frame and moving my parts over. Is it something like ardent dhr2 or is it more like ikon ardent?
    I use 2.5 dhf and aggressor in the rear on my fun wheels and for "racing" typically ride 2.25 Ardent Race up front ikon 2.25 back. Maybe mix it up with a forekaster if it's too loose from lack of rain (Blair witch area or keystone/westridge both of which can have a bunch of moondust). The trails are pretty buff generally and I think tread doesn't really matter too much but sidewall protection should be mandatory as there's often some short sections of loose shale to slice things up if you're not paying attention (Little French or Miners Creek).

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    This is the racing forum. Who rides their bike to look at colors? Not racers racing. So do you want to race or not. The thread started as what stage races, now youre talking about finding yourself looking at colors.

    Go do the Pioneer in New Zealand and spend 3k. Some friends are going. That would be different
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    I already do a few long 1 day races and a decent number of 2 hour races. I get an extra week of vacation next year and I'm trying to plan a mtb centered vacation and a race seemed like a good idea. A southern hemisphere race would be nice since it's already cold and raining or snowing all the time where I live in November.
    Last edited by party_wagon; 02-22-2018 at 12:22 PM.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    What tires do people typically use at Brec? I've been thinking about picking up something like a used thunderbolt frame and moving my parts over. Is it something like ardent dhr2 or is it more like ikon ardent?
    Conti X-King Protection 2.4"

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdcadbiker View Post
    Nobody in their right mind rides a HT at Breck (except those SS guys but their sanity is questionable at the best of times). You will see all kinds of FS bikes there; 100mm-120mm 29ers are the most common even among the pros but there will be guys riding loose, slack trail bikes too.
    I will be there on my 29er HT unless I get a Specialized Epic before then. I have my eye one, but only after spring racing season is done in May. If not it will be my 21.5lbs Santa Cruz Highball and Not my 29lbs Santa Cruz 5010.

    Not worried in the least as I have plenty of rocky miles on that Highball including miles in Durango on Colorado trail.

    BTW... I am racing this spring on a Steel SS so I guess my sanity is questionable, but I am sane enough to no bring it to Breck. I want my gears there.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdcadbiker View Post
    Conti X-King Protection 2.4"
    I used Conti X-king front and race king back in 2.25 (protection). Thought that was a great combination. 2.4 certainly wouldn't have hurt.
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    I like 2.35 barzo a lot. Any issues with vittoria tnt tires out there?
    Last edited by party_wagon; 02-22-2018 at 01:26 PM.

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    Did BE 3 times. Mega fun. Doing it as a race is better than going out and riding those loops solo. I only live an hour away and I still say do the race. And run 2.3/2.4 grippy tires.
    Oh, and don't be a dick. Rule #1
    That is a great rule btw.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by FerrouSS View Post
    Did BE 3 times. Mega fun. Doing it as a race is better than going out and riding those loops solo. I only live an hour away and I still say do the race. And run 2.3/2.4 grippy tires.
    Oh, and don't be a dick. Rule #1
    That is a great rule btw.
    Local guys paying to race their everyday trails is probably the best recommendation that you can get. BTW, rule #2 is "see Rule #1" :-)

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    RE: Tires, I somewhat agonized over this in the weeks leading up to the race last year. I run Schwalbes pretty much exclusively, and honestly I am not sure what width I ran, but I am pretty sure I ran Racing Ralphs, which were fine. The biggest thing on tires is don't run some weight weenie tire that doesn't have good sidewall protection or is paper thin in the tread. That is what matters the most. If you are worried about weight eat a few less hamburgers and fries.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgerow View Post
    RE: Tires, I somewhat agonized over this in the weeks leading up to the race last year. I run Schwalbes pretty much exclusively, and honestly I am not sure what width I ran, but I am pretty sure I ran Racing Ralphs, which were fine. The biggest thing on tires is don't run some weight weenie tire that doesn't have good sidewall protection or is paper thin in the tread. That is what matters the most. If you are worried about weight eat a few less hamburgers and fries.
    I ran RaRa's the first two times at Breck but they were horrible in the wet; after switching to Conti's last year I was able to PR the fast DH sections (e.g. Little French & Gold Dust) even though they were sloppy after heavy rain overnight.

    However, tires are like saddle: some fit some don't. If you're happy on RaRa's stick with them!

  37. #37
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    I have only done the Pisgah Stage race so its all i can speak on, It was a great experience and super tough on my SS, loads of climbing and all the typical Pisgah stuff. I will probably do it again next year only this time on proper tires, a dropper and 120mm fork. To me it was totally worth it, lodging is very reasonable in Brevard using Air BnB or VRBO and there is always camping too.

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