Rougher terrain endurance races?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Rougher terrain endurance races?

    I was hoping to compile a list of races for 2019 that are done on trail systems that are more chunky and difficult. I'm thinking terrain like Marji Gesick or some chunkier Colorado stuff. Endurance races that require a little more bike than your typical 100mm XC bike, but aren't full blown Enduro. I would love to find more 50+ mile races to do that are most comfortably done on a 140ish travel bike.
    I have enjoyed fast flowy courses in the past, but find that I enjoy myself a lot more if the terrain is rooty and rocky.

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    The XXC course at the Massanutten Hoo Ha in Central Virginia has some “chunk”.

    Also the Iron Mountain 100k (part of the NUE marathon series) in Damascus Virginia is super chunky back country awesomeness.


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    I will check these out!

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    Check out Mohican 100 in Ohio.
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  6. #6
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    Colorado - Gunnison Full Growler and Grand Junction Off-road


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    Quote Originally Posted by jms View Post
    I have been eyeing True Grit for a long time, strictly because I have never been to St. George and I keep hearing how beautiful it is over that way.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleSpeedSteven View Post
    I have been eyeing True Grit for a long time, strictly because I have never been to St. George and I keep hearing how beautiful it is over that way.
    Same, same. I signed up for the fifty last week
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  9. #9
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    Butte 50 in Montana. Some fast, some rugged, all stunningly beautiful. I last raced it on a 2016 Fuel EX 120 x 120 bike, and it was a great choice.

    As far as travel goes, the fastest guy over 40 that I know on the planet uses a 140 mm bike for endurance racing, and manages to slay everybody.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  10. #10
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    I've done a few events and I'd say the 12 hours of Mesa Verde had the most chunk of the events in CO I've done. 17 mile loop with about 10-11 being fairly smooth roller coaster type singletrack that was a lot of fun. 5-6 miles of it was pretty chunky riding that really beats you up. Great event. Well organized and supported.

  11. #11
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    Of the courses I’ve ridden the Grand Junction Off Road and the True Grit Epic are both chunky, techical, and exhausting.
    Can't keep track anymore - Giant, Santa Cruz, Pivot, Yeti, Norco, Salsa, Intense - if it rolls on dirt I like it

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott@GO-RIDE.com View Post
    Of the courses I’ve ridden the Grand Junction Off Road and the True Grit Epic are both chunky, techical, and exhausting.
    +1 (or two?) on both these. I love True Grit because there's some "nice" calm stuff between the really tough stuff and overall it's a good slap upside the head after a winter on the skis/trainer/fat bike. Did this a few times on a hardtail w/ 100mm and after 2 or 3x I finally used the squish and had a much better drive home.

    Depending on where you're at OP, the Zia Rides events in New Mexico have a nice level of "this sucks" thrown in and a great grassroots vibe. I try my best to squeeze a few of their events in each year.

    as for travel, I can't think of anyone that was on a "big" bike tbh. But that also factors into where you'll be in the scheme of things. Racing open, nah. Expert Age group... maybe but as Kosmo sort of points out, there are people who can win on anything. I'm definitely not one of those people

  13. #13
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    I heard the Sedona Big Friggin' Loop (SBFL) is super hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by myt1 View Post
    I heard the Sedona Big Friggin' Loop (SBFL) is super hard.
    LOL, that's the theme in the majority of AES races I've done.
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    Which 140 frame?

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    Quote Originally Posted by westin View Post
    Which 140 frame?
    Orbea Rallon, whichever model comes with a DPX2 shock. Evan Plewes. Not terribly slow. It kind of blew my mind to see him ride away from the field at even Echo Valley 60. That course is so smooth that even I -- an avowed disliker of hardtails for real mtb riding -- would cheerfully race a hardtail on.
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  17. #17
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    Moab Rocks
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by k/dv View Post
    Moab Rocks
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    only thing here is that the stages are really short but it's great for early season fitness.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by myt1 View Post
    I heard the Sedona Big Friggin' Loop (SBFL) is super hard.
    The Sedona BFL is the most technically demanding, but it not the hardest of the AES races. I have done most of them and Sedona is a beat down for sure, but they are all hard. I the toughest is Picket Post "A" ride. some 70+ miles and most riders start before dawn and end after dark.

    for Sedona BFL I did it on my 5010 5" bike because we did it more as a group ride. However I bet I would have set a faster time on my 29er HT. The really techy stuff is faster/more fun on a trail bike, but the extra weight (30lbs vs 22lbs) on the rest of the miles dragged me down. Probably the best is 100 or 120 mm FS XC bike with a dropper. You can "manage" the worst tech, but still be light enough to push around the full distance.
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  20. #20
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    EL Paso Puzzler if nobody has already said it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximo View Post
    EL Paso Puzzler if nobody has already said it.
    This looks awesome. I wish it were later in the year, with the weather and lack of riding around here so far this year I don't think ill be ready for something like that in January.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleSpeedSteven View Post
    This looks awesome. I wish it were later in the year, with the weather and lack of riding around here so far this year I don't think ill be ready for something like that in January.
    Yeah man one of the most fun events I have done (I haven't done a whole lot), it's a good early season fitness booster. I think a lot of folks are in your boat when they do the event totally not ready yet but the course is soo much fun and challenging it is easier to push yourself to get thru it.

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    My suggestions would be really anything in Pisgah. Like the Pisgah 111k. Also Iron Mountain was really chunky and challenging. You already mentioned Marji Gesick. There is also Crotched Mountain in New Hampshire... formerly known as Hampshire 100. That one is also rocky and challenging

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    Forgot to mention..Snake Creek Gap in Georgia in Jan and Feb. For one price you get two shots at it to turn your best time. It's very challenging also. It get rockier and more tech as race goes on. The last 17 miles is the hardest

  25. #25
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    There is the red earth 24/12 in Ishpeming. It is a timed race, but I think the 12 would be a great yardstick for Marji, and it is on some of the same trail I think.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by broeli View Post
    My suggestions would be really anything in Pisgah. Like the Pisgah 111k.
    This. Most of Eric Wever's races toe the line between Type II and Type III fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by broeli View Post
    My suggestions would be really anything in Pisgah. Like the Pisgah 111k. Also Iron Mountain was really chunky and challenging. You already mentioned Marji Gesick. There is also Crotched Mountain in New Hampshire... formerly known as Hampshire 100. That one is also rocky and challenging
    Crotched was cancelled this year, and no news on it's return.

    Some shorter races not yet mentioned:
    Woodsplitter 6hr in VT
    Erie MTB Festival 6hr
    Carrabassett 100k

  28. #28
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    I've seen guys place very well at ORAMM on 120-140mm bikes so I guess that says it's pretty gnar. Heartbreak DH makes you wish you had more travel for sure. 60+ miles in Pisgah, 14k of climbing, hopefully they'll clear the washout on Jarrett Creek so the full course is available next year.
    -DC, just some XC Bum in Sfla...

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by broeli View Post
    My suggestions would be really anything in Pisgah. Like the Pisgah 111k. Also Iron Mountain was really chunky and challenging. You already mentioned Marji Gesick. There is also Crotched Mountain in New Hampshire... formerly known as Hampshire 100. That one is also rocky and challenging
    Yeah, this. I heard Jarrett Creek is still washed out so ORAMM might not be the same for quite some time, Pisgah 111k looks pretty gnarly and very type II fun.
    -DC, just some XC Bum in Sfla...

  30. #30
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    This one is not on anybody's radar. Its in its 2nd year and is sort of a grassroots race/ride, but it for sure qualifies as 'chunky and difficult'. But there's no elevation to deal with. It's 80 miles, (3x 27mi loop) through some super rocky chunky rocks. I've done it both years and getting your touch points to tolerate the pounding for 9 hrs is one of my biggest challenges. Good thing is that its cheap, weather is usually good and Austin is a nice place to visit.
    https://www.facebook.com/events/1043060479198943/

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  31. #31
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    Ill second or third True Grit

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximo View Post
    EL Paso Puzzler if nobody has already said it.
    yea, that thing is a chunky, sharp beatdown.

    if you survive without a mechanical, i think you can chalk it up to luck.

    SBFL is pretty darn tech as well. going down hiline on a 100mm xc bike is a nice little butt clenching test to start a long day. the only real let up is the few road connectors between trail systems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timon View Post
    yea, that thing is a chunky, sharp beatdown.

    if you survive without a mechanical, i think you can chalk it up to luck.

    SBFL is pretty darn tech as well. going down hiline on a 100mm xc bike is a nice little butt clenching test to start a long day. the only real let up is the few road connectors between trail systems.
    I have always wanted to do that SBFL never really works out with scheduling. I have only been to Sedona once and to be honest a lot of it scared me, couldn't imagine trying to do it all in a endurance race setting.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by broeli View Post
    My suggestions would be really anything in Pisgah. Like the Pisgah 111k. Also Iron Mountain was really chunky and challenging. You already mentioned Marji Gesick. There is also Crotched Mountain in New Hampshire... formerly known as Hampshire 100. That one is also rocky and challenging
    Quote Originally Posted by VegasSingleSpeed View Post
    This. Most of Eric Wever's races toe the line between Type II and Type III fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by broeli View Post
    Forgot to mention..Snake Creek Gap in Georgia in Jan and Feb. For one price you get two shots at it to turn your best time. It's very challenging also. It get rockier and more tech as race goes on. The last 17 miles is the hardest
    Quote Originally Posted by pinkpowa View Post
    I've seen guys place very well at ORAMM on 120-140mm bikes so I guess that says it's pretty gnar. Heartbreak DH makes you wish you had more travel for sure. 60+ miles in Pisgah, 14k of climbing, hopefully they'll clear the washout on Jarrett Creek so the full course is available next year.
    All of these were going to be my recommendations, so I'll just reiterate what all these folks have said.

  35. #35
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    NIMBY 50 in Pemberton bc is a good one

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin267 View Post
    NIMBY 50 in Pemberton bc is a good one
    2019 supposedly will be the last one.
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximo View Post
    I have always wanted to do that SBFL never really works out with scheduling. I have only been to Sedona once and to be honest a lot of it scared me, couldn't imagine trying to do it all in a endurance race setting.
    it's pretty low key. there's hikers on the trails that you have to be courteous to and jeeps tours on some sections, gotta ride through busy traffic in town.

    broke my wrist there in 2017, going UP the broken arrow trail. i think i dabbed once or twice coming down hiline, cleared everything else.....then 10 miles from the end unexpectedly caught my pedal on a little stump while climbing out of the saddle. went over the bars, put my hands out to catch myself and crunch. i was like 20-30 minutes in front of everyone too. tried to keep going hoping it was a bad sprain, but there was no way. hiked out to the nearest road and pedaled back to town...then off to the ER.

    goal is to go sub 5hrs one of these years.

  38. #38
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    I also agree with anything in Pisgah. Come one out for PMBAR next year... it's a wild time!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timon View Post
    it's pretty low key. there's hikers on the trails that you have to be courteous to and jeeps tours on some sections, gotta ride through busy traffic in town.

    broke my wrist there in 2017, going UP the broken arrow trail. i think i dabbed once or twice coming down hiline, cleared everything else.....then 10 miles from the end unexpectedly caught my pedal on a little stump while climbing out of the saddle. went over the bars, put my hands out to catch myself and crunch. i was like 20-30 minutes in front of everyone too. tried to keep going hoping it was a bad sprain, but there was no way. hiked out to the nearest road and pedaled back to town...then off to the ER.

    goal is to go sub 5hrs one of these years.
    Dang dude that's a bummer...

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACree View Post
    2019 supposedly will be the last one.
    Serious? Dammit, that was on my to-do list, but wasn't planning on going in 2019 atm.

  41. #41
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    Oh yeah! Snake creek gap is a great event. The 34 was literally my first time riding in the mountains, haha. I had no idea how to keep my front wheel down on steep climbs. Talk about a wake up call. But yeah your entry fee gets you two races, and both have chili, beer, and swag at the end


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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    Orbea Rallon, whichever model comes with a DPX2 shock. Evan Plewes. Not terribly slow. It kind of blew my mind to see him ride away from the field at even Echo Valley 60. That course is so smooth that even I -- an avowed disliker of hardtails for real mtb riding -- would cheerfully race a hardtail on.
    He smoked the 40+ Cat1 field at the Breck Epic last year on a full on enduro sled with a Fox 160 fork. I was only 9 min back at the start of stage 3 and I could see him at the high point of the stage. I had no idea he was on an enduro bike and foolishly tried to run him down on the descent and starting destroying equipment. Whoops. I didn't find out how outgunned I was until I saw his bike a day later.

    Anyway, to answer OP's question there is some nice chunk sprinkled throughout that race but stage 5 has a full on EWS style enduro descent. It's legit. Monster chunk and pucker steep. The kicker is I wouldn't want to drag my enduro bike up that climb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobo the clown View Post
    He smoked the 40+ Cat1 field at the Breck Epic last year on a full on enduro sled with a Fox 160 fork.
    I'd love to see a bike check on that thing! That sounds awesome.

  44. #44
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    If you're looking for something challenging, rocky, rooty and more rocky try the Dragon Slayer @ Georgetown, TX.
    It's 3 - 27 mile loops (81 miles total) of the IMBA EPIC Goodwater Loop around Lake Georgetown...would say 70% of the trail is chock full of rocks (lots are jagged and sharp) and roots...I rode it this year first time and it's absolutely brutal.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by broeli View Post
    Forgot to mention..Snake Creek Gap in Georgia in Jan and Feb. For one price you get two shots at it to turn your best time. It's very challenging also. It get rockier and more tech as race goes on. The last 17 miles is the hardest
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    All of these were going to be my recommendations, so I'll just reiterate what all these folks have said.
    Quote Originally Posted by MudderNutter View Post
    Oh yeah! Snake creek gap is a great event. The 34 was literally my first time riding in the mountains, haha. I had no idea how to keep my front wheel down on steep climbs. Talk about a wake up call. But yeah your entry fee gets you two races, and both have chili, beer, and swag at the end


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    +4 for Snake Creek Gap TT. First one of the series is this Saturday. And that 15th Anniversary belt buckle design is looking good!

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    Ouachita Challenge.

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