Organizers of the Breck Epic MTB Stage Race announced that the 2014 edition of the race is slated for August 10-15. The event will once again, with tongue firmly in cheek according to organizers, serve as the "Mountain Bike Stage Race World Championships" for all categories.
"We launched our first Breck Epic in 2009 with the simple belief that cross country racing could be better. That it could, and more importantly, should offer greater value to the mountain bike community; bigger experiences, grander landscapes, better value, and more lasting memories for both racers and enthusiasts," said Breck Epic Race Director Mike McCormack, "Along the way we've been gifted with incredible loyalty from our participants and best-in-class support from our bike industry partners."
"When we launched in 2009, our plan was simple; we combined a conscientiously organized event with ambitious back-of-beyond race courses and courted passionate people to participate. It's proven a powerful mix. Not much has changed as we prepare for 2014 - we just try to be organized and thoughtful. We attempt to set the standard for course marking. And we listen to people when they have issues," said McCormack, "It's simple stuff. Seeing the 2013 race sell out in February last year tells us that our particular recipe works."
The unofficial and self-ascribed "MTB Stage Race World Championships" designation first emerged in 2012, applying only to the singlespeed category. Created in response to what was perceived by organizers as increasing rigidity and self-importance among mountain biking's established national and international governing bodies, the world champion designation was expanded to all fields in 2013, a practice that will continue in 2014. GC winners in all 2014 categories earn the semi-official "World MF Champ" title along with a ceremonial jersey from in-on-the-joke apparel partner Twin Six.
The enduro categories successfully integrated in 2013 will return in slightly different formats, each incorporating rider feedback from their inaugural year. Additionally, in response to disparities in field sizes, 2014 categories have evolved to better reflect participation numbers. Enduro men open and Enduro women open categories expand in 2014 with daily enduro stage wins awarded in each category. Top descenders in every field will be also be ranked using a point system in lieu of elapsed time per segment method. Each athlete's inter-category point rank will be applied to determine an overall men's and women's champion at race end with overall rank format creating the possibility of an overall champion emerging from virtually any category.
2014 general categories will morph to reflect established well-established demographic trends among participants. Swollen men's solo open and men's solo 40+ categories are to be split into pro and amateur subdivisions, while lightly populated age and gender divisions will be condensed in order to create reasonably sized, yet competitive fields.
Epic's three-day "Epic-curious" event also will return, this time in two iterations. Three-day riders may elect to compete in stages one through three, or in stages four through six in open men, open women and men 40+ categories. Identical to the six-day version, three-day stages utilize the popular cloverleaf format, each beginning and ending within the historic Victorian mining town of Breckenridge.
Todd Wells (Specialized) and Amanda Carey (Stan's NoTubes) won the 2013 Breck Epic.
For more information on the race, visit BreckEpic.com.