Breck Epic - What do I need to know?

Who’s done the Breck Epic? What are your biggest tips, prep advice, gear choice, nutrition, etc… that you’d give a first time competitor? Duo suggestions?

I’m racing in the men’s duo 6 day category and this will be my first stage race of any type. I have a decent amount of MTB races under my belt and tend to lean towards longer races like True Grit Epic (45 miles) or Park City Point 2 Point (75 miles). I’m signed up for the SoHo Bike Fest (4 day MTB stage race) nearby my home in May as a learning experience :slight_smile: I’m riding a Turner Czar with 120mm fork and 100mm rear. Hopefully that helps with some context. I’d love to hear any advice, reading material, podcasts, reviews, etc… that you might know about. Thanks!

So :sunglasses:. No advice but Best wishes for an excellent time

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@utahbiker - Get in touch with @dmc. He lives in Breck and is one of the local guys who rips everyone legs off in CO.

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What gearing do you have? I did it coming from sea level and that 32 chain ring with 44 in back starts to hurt with these long steep climbs.

I’ve got a 32 and 10-46 in back. I am upgrading though to Eagle with 34 up front. Gearing wise, even with the steep stuff, I think I’ll be ok. We have Colorado style steep climbs here in Northern Utah and I’m used to the steep climbs, but open to feedback on gearing if someone thinks it’s under or overkill!

You’ll be good to go then.

I’ve done Breck four times over the last six years. The best gearing for me was 32X11-42 but did it on 30X11-36 and SS last year with a 32x22. The hardest part is the recovery. You are probably fine with a 32x10-50 if you are a typical spinny rider. If you grind then the 34 maybe better. In terms of logistics stay as close as possible to the race venue as there are meetings and what not that you will want to access. I’ve always stayed close but not in the race supplied lodging. The race is really fun and I’ll be back in the next couple of years again. The Turner is good choice for the riding there. Make sure your fuelling on and off the bike very well and you should be good to go.

My days usually involved waking up 3ish hours early and eating a breakfast then napping and whatnot on the couch till 1.5 hours till race time. Then I usually had a small fruit smoothie to top up the food resources. Then kit up and head to the start line. Most of these are 5-10 minute bike ride away from the race venue or right at the venue. Then line up earlyish if you have aspirations of a podium. Usually the single track is not right away and there is usually a good climb to start. Pacing is key. I personally used a liquid fuel in bottles and the drop bags are key if you don’t want to carry much on your back. I always premix my bottles so I don’t have to wait. When you are done the finish line has a better than average selection of food. Then eat and head to race venue and clean the bike and get it ready for the next day. Then head home and get cleaned up. have more food and a small nap. Head to race day meeting in the evening and head home for dinner and some downtime. Then early to bed and get ready for another day.

I’ve always found that one of the days in all the stage races I’ve done is really tough. After that day the body gives up fighting and it responds well to the stimulus.

Let me know if you have any other questions. I’ve raced about 10 stage races over the years and have made mistakes. That being said check your tire pressure every morning. Nothing wrecks a good day like a flat tire.

Good luck

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Thanks for posting, @aricthered! Welcome!

I’m staying at the supplied lodging (Beaver Run Lodge, or something like that). I decided to stay there simply because of the logistics with the meetings and starting lines. Unless the rooms/beds/noise level is bad, it sound like that was a good call just to minimize travel between starting line and event meetings.

Since I have no idea how people are lined up… do you know if the duo category lines up on their own? Or are they packaged with everyone else? I was thinking the duo category would be small enough to not have to warrant the need to get there early, but if it’s a combined start, that will make sense to get there early. How early would you say I would need to be there in order to have a decent spot near the front?

What sort of spare equipment did you bring to the event and what did you pack on your bike? EG extra wheelset, derailleur hangers, spokes, tires? On the bike… multiple tubes, plug kits, master links, etc…? What was most useful and did you store any extra tubes (or anything else) in your drop bags to take in case you used needed it?

In terms of how the lining up works I’m not sure what will change with the transition to UCI stage race. In the past it’s been a first come first served. Duos and Solos all together. Usually the first day is the worst and people are all over the place. The next day then you see the familiar faces that you finish around and that’s who I line up with. Honestly one year I lined up in the back with my wife who raced it that year and rode with her for 15 minutes off of the start and still finished in exactly the same place as the times when I started much closer to the front. It most likely will be combined. Depending on you and your partners strengths you may want to start harder or easier. The trickiest is when descending is the strength and you have to make your way through the crowd. The stage over Wheeler pass does have a staged start as you enter into the single track very quickly. It’s started on overall placing so you should start with the people that have similar speed.

So I would definitely have any proprietary parts of the Turner with me like a derailleur hanger. I packed one tube and a couple of CO2/multi link and a multitool. In terms of in the aid bags I packed an extra tube and CO2 in each and a derailleur cable. If it looks like it might rain in the afternoon I would pack a rain jacket in the later aid station bag. I would also pack emergency food that I know I like to eat just in case I have a really bad day. It’s also not a bad idea to pack a tire in the aid bag that you know works on your/ your partners bike. It can save your race.
In terms of stuff being brought to the race. I was a bike mechanic growing up and still do 90% of the work on my bike. I would come with a completely tested equipment. Tires should be newish but definitely have some miles on them. I wouldn’t save anything for race day. In terms of tires only run tires with protection. I personally run Maxxis Ikons with EXO,3C and EXO casings. I have always run a pair of carbon wheels and only once brought a extra pair of wheels and didn’t need them

The descents tend to be fast with lumpy sections. Some of them are on jeep roads with one line that smoother but if you want to pass then you have to take rough lines. Most people are pretty open to letting people by but I have had a couple not want to move. As I said the descents tend to be fast and furious with moments of technical descending, think Grand Junction Lunch loops for the tech. The soil is decomposed granite so a little rain is good otherwise it can be a little bit kitty litter on top of hard pack.

The only thing I don’t have any experience with is the racing with a partner. I have never done a Duo and I’ve heard it can be tricky. It can greatly enhance the experience or wreck it. If you have a chance to race together even if it’s not a duo race it might be good just so you can work on the communication and how you each race.

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Don’t forget that base elevation for breck is 9600, most of the starting locations are hovering around 10k so the elevation is comparable to leadville.

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Comfortable ear plugs for sleeping and an eye mask.

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I’m new to TR and have been reading all I can to get the most out of it. What are you guys using for your part 3 specialty training. I’ve already registered for the 2020 Breck Epic - solo 6 day. This year is Leadville again, but hopefully faster!

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