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New Colorado MTB Endurance Stage Race for 2009

By Fred Dreier

Breckenridge played host to this year's national endurance championship.

Breckenridge played host to this year’s national endurance championship.

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Colorado’s Summit County has granted provisional approval for a six-day endurance mountain bike stage race in Breckenridge for 2009. The “Breck Epic,” is tentatively scheduled to run from July 5 to the 10th.

Mike McCormack, former director of the Mountain States Cup, is spearheading the Breck Epic’s organization. McCormack said the last hurdle the race needs to clear is approval from the United States Forest Service.

“We can’t submit our application to [the Forest Service] until the new year,” McCormack said. “But we’ve gotten positive endorsement from the [Breckenridge] mayor and town council.”

The race hopes to secure Forest Service approval with a business plan aimed at giving back to the local open space. The Breck Epic’s organizers will donate the race profits to the Breckenridge department of Open Space and Trails, as well as the Dillon Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service.

“The race’s goal will be to provide the funds necessary to add one additional season staff member for each organization,” reads a press release for the race. “The public relations generated from the event will create millions of unique consumer impressions, further solidifying Breckenridge’s status as a worthwhile stop for national and international mountain bikers.”

McCormack is unveiling a unique public relations strategy for the race based on participant blogging. The race will offer four free entries to riders who agree to write 500-1000 words about their race experience after each day, which will then be distributed to local and national media sources.

Last year McCormack and a team of organizers tried to get the proposed multi-day Colorado Epic stage race off the ground, but that event stalled under logistics and McCormack’s personal commitments to running the Mountain States Cup. The Breck Epic will pick up where that plan left off, and will highlight Summit County’s huge network of high-altitude trails. Instead of a point-to-point racecourse, the Breck Epic will feature a “cloverleaf” style route, with each day’s course beginning and ending in Breckenridge.

McCormack says he expects to cap registration at 400 riders. A website for the race is still under construction, but anyone interested can email McCormack at mikemac01@gmail.com.

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