Breck Epic Digital Thumbscrews


Breck Epic 2012 – Presented by Shimano
August 12-17, 2012

Sticking around? GR8. Let’s get one thing out in the open; I like Burt Reynolds. And Ric Flair. If you’ve been paying attention these past four years, those claims don’t come as much of a surprise. If you’re just tuning in and have yet to be exposed to the smirkingly smug self-satisfaction of the artfully posed (and completely flippin’ naked,) Burt lounging on a bearskin rug, stick around. It’ll show up again sooner or later.

I also like dogs of all sizes, breeds and temperaments. And El Caminos. Not the soulless uglier-than-a-!$%!-fence version made in the 80′s, but the Chevelle-based muscle-car mutation proudly assembled by blue collar, Allman Brothers-grooving factory workers throughout the 60′s and 70′s – equal parts brawn, swank and unapologetic PBR-guzzling rockabilly redneck. If rednecks could be cars.

I also swear when I get excited. Not at people, but about things. Out of happiness. If you’re exceptionally chaste (looking at YOU, glamorous ladies of Interbike,) you may want to steer your vessel of inquisitive readership elsewhere. It’s about to get all kinds of blue up in here, and for that I make no apologies.

Why? Because we’re 90 days out, baby. And I’m getting excited.

So where is all of this leading? To quote Crash Davis, “I really have no idea where the ball is going.”

And while that statement is sadly true, I do have a few thoughts tumbling around my head, a few random ideas that have been wrestling with each other in the baked bean and lighter fluid-filled kiddie pool that’s become a pretty apt analogy for the chaos living in my head. And since none of them seem to be gaining an edge, maybe it’s time for me to wade in like Nacho Libre and twist them up into some semblance of a unified theme. Or let the evil miscreant in me toss in a few burning matches…from a safe distance of course. And with plausible deniability in place.

So (trust me here) – the themes that we’re exploring today under the guise of indoctrinating you with Breck Epic dogma are;

  • Things uniquely American, the appeal and beauty of which some sanctioning bodies IN SWITZERLAND will never truly understand. Things like El Caminos. Or Burt Reynolds. Or mountain biking.
  • The recent spattering of online articles pointing out the selfishness and pretense of cause-related events or fundraisers. And the fact that some of the worst offenders are frighteningly oblivious that they fall into that camp. And the fear and paralyzing self-consciousness that we may fall into that last group (because sometimes YOU really are the worst person to be objective about YOU.)
  • The simple fact that this year’s Breck Epic will be kick-ass on a level so complex and grand, so intricately layered and magnificent, that the mortal mind lacks the synaptic firepower to comprehend its galactic supernova of awesomeness.

Seriously – you probably have to be a dolphin (or a Geri-curled super-being like Kenny Powers) to wrap your head around the audacity of the 2012 Breck Epic. It’s OK to cry. I’m halfway through a box of Aloe-infused Kleenex right now.

So in this newsletter?

  • Welcome aboard GU Energy! (and please check out the online chat series that starts this Thursday at 11AM MST)
  • Single Speed Stage Race World Championships – a tongue-in-cheek paean to those that would have mountain bikers check their souls at the door. And a not so subtle jab at the proliferation of categories. And ridiculous acronyms. All you ever wanted to know about #SSSRWC.
  • The new non-competitive 3 and 6-day Gran Fondo categories. I hate the phrase “Gran Fondo,” but honestly, would any of you know what it was if we called it a brevet?
  • Willa’s Wheels, the Raymond Wentz Foundation, trail care groups around Summit County and the nagging accompanying unease of creating promotions centered around charities.
  • Breck Epic 2012′s very own Julie McCoy (otherwise known as Christine Sperber) who will be coordinating activities and information for families, groupies and other assorted hangers-on of miscellaneous Epic participants.
  • Volunteers needed – we’ve got a swag cannon and it’s aimed at YOU!
  • Meal plans, camping plans and second installments
  • Mercifully brief closing statements and blanket denial of any wrongdoing

Goin’ off the rails. Who’s with me?

Gu Energy – Welcome!

We’d like to welcome GU Energy to the ranks of Epic sponsors and pass along a few tidbits about their involvement and the Epic’s status as one of their Roctane Ultra-Endurance events.

The first thing participants need to know? Well, when you register, you get a secret link that will take you to a special page on GU’s website where once you enter your shipping address you’ll be magically transported to a dimension where you’ll get hooked up with a starter kit of their goodies. It’s going to look a LOT like the world you live in now, except you’ll be loaded down with Roctane bits. GU will also be on site filling your aid station bag with product and your head with nutrition and recovery intel.

The second thing? They’re hosting a series of weekly online chats, all open to the public, the first of which is scheduled for this Thursday at 11AM MST. Titled “Nutrition and Recovery for the Multi-day Athlete” this week’s chat features some of GU’s sharpest minds, plus a guest athlete or two. Plus yours truly. (Someone’s got to hold down the low end of the intellectual bell curve.) You don’t need to be registered with us to participate – all are welcome. And if you can’t attend, please feel free to visit the page in advance and log a question for the panel.

Chat Schedule

  • Thurs, June 7, 11am MST: Performance Energy Basics: Energy & Recovery – YES…THIS Thursday!
  • Thurs, June 14, 11am MST: Breck Epic Bike Setup 101
  • Thurs, June 21, 11am MST: Training for the Epic (or any other multi-day effort)
  • Thurs, June 28, 11am MST: Q&A With Epic Athletes
  • Thurs, July 5, 11am MST: Questions, Comments with Epic Organizers
  • Thurs, July 12, 11am MST: Single Speed Stage Race World Championships Q&A with Dicky, Vince, Peeter, Dan, Mike (and whoever else wants to wear a panelist hat.)

Single Speed Stage Race World Championships

I feel as if we’ve beaten this one to death, but once more into the breach I guess.

We started the Epic (planning it at least) in the latter part of 2008. At the time it seemed as if mountain biking, with it’s humble roots in northern California, and proudly defiant ranks of serial non-conformists were increasingly being marginalized by our governing body. They gave us 4-mile loops, short tracks and “Eliminators,” all in an ill-conceived and tactless effort to “Olympi-cize” what for most of us is a pretty soulful experience.

Nothing against our Olympians, because say what you want about the rulemakers, but be sure to acknowledge the individual sacrifice and dedication of those chasing Olympic dreams, right? The point is, the powers that be seem to have lost sight of what drew many of us to the trail in the first place. Singlespeeders seem to represent the purity of the discipline more than any other group. So we’re tossing them a world championship. Why? Because it would never occur to anyone with a 110# cardstock business card that someone not wearing florescent spandex might be deserving of one. And because we can, that’s why.

Now there are a few zealots out there in SS land, those who preach the supreme RIGHTNESS of just one gear, the sublime Way (note the capital “W”) of the 29er (or 650b…er) or even those special few whose brand loyalties are trotted out at the mere whisper of a bike-related conversation. To those folks we say…get over yourself. Nobody gives a shit what you ride.

And in the spirit of thumbing our collective noses at those would be anarchists who’ve somehow met their destiny on the path they’ve taken to avoid it, we say this: we’re throwing you a black panther single speed stage race world championship party. You’re gonna need legs to win, but for the luvva Pete, please pack your sense of humor. And perspective.

SSSRWC Categories; SS Men, SS Women, Fixed Gear OPEN (or “nutjobs”). Winners on GC in each category walk with the coveted rainbow stripes.

Breck Epic 3 and 6-day Non-Competitive Gran Fondo Categories

We came to a crossroads this year where we realized that we had a bunch of spots left to fill. We thought about launching a few trail running categories along (ok, behind) the rest of the field, but we couldn’t quite convince ourselves that it was the right path. We’re a mountain biking event, right? Yet we still have tons of course markings out there along with course marshals and aid stations, all of them along a trail network that’s as difficult to navigate to a community outsider as it is magnificent in its width and sprawl. It occurred to us that all of the stages were ride-able by a reasonably fit person, so why not open it up to a few non-competitive folks that might dig it?

And thus the Breck Epic Gran Fondo sprang cooing and cuddly from the loins of our brain into existence. It’s a bit less expensive, but riders get pretty much the same deal (swag, banquet, aid station setups) as the normal field. Think of it as an MTB tour…of some of the best trails on the planet.

Want more info? Head to’s Breck Epic registration page, or drop me a line.


You’ve already seen the SSSRWC jerseys above. Props to Michael Cody and the good gents at Panache CycleWear (have you ordered your custom cyclocross kits yet? You need to GET with these guys, bud!) for the amazing design. Props also to the rest of the jersey designers that participated in our Facebook contest held to select the fan favorite.

We’ve got more jerseys though – the ones each entrant gets along with the race leader’s rigs awarded the daily leaders on GC in each category. Huge thanks to Dave Rossi along with the Panache crew for making these the best kits yet.
Charities We Support – get a discount & help us fund a few good causes

OK, here’s the deal: when we started this thing 4 years ago we pledge that we’d support the local, regional and national trail groups. We’re doing that. We’ve got significant cash donations lined up for the Summit Fat Tire Society, the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District and even a cool promo for IMBA members.

One thing that’s been hard to figure out though is a group called Willa’s Wheels. Brought to my attention during last year’s event by Epic veteran Dr. Jeff Carter, Willa’s Wheels is a team that fundraises for the Raymond Wentz Foundation. The RWF provides non-restrictive grants to for families with a hospitalized member. The funds are intended to be used for bills. Or for groceries. Or to pay for lodging that’s close to the hospital.

My second son entered this world with a fight on his hands that he didn’t pick. There’s no easy way to say this, but Willa’s founder Henry’s daughter found herself in a fight she didn’t win. And out of that, Henry and his family created a way to ease the suffering of those in similar situations.

This isn’t easy to write and it’s taken me a year to do it. Somehow I know that I’m still bungling it and the last thing that I want to do is to use my son’s situation, or Willa’s for that matter, as a marketing ploy. I feel incredibly uneasy about that. Yet I still want to help. And while my personal checkbook might be meager, I have a pretty good reach with these newsletters. So here’s what I propose:

For each entry between now and August 12 I’ll offer a 10% discount to the rider AND make a matching donation to Willa’s Wheels. Riders can take advantage by heading to PreRace and using the following discount code: RideForWilla

To follow up, there are opportunities to race for 50 or even 100% off the price of a regular entry, but you’ve got to get some skin in the game and do some serious fundraising on Willa’s behalf. If you’d like more info drop me a line.

New Activities Coordinator and Minister of Local Information

Christine Sperber will be joining us this year to help the families and supporters of Epic racers find their way around the rest of the county. There’s a TON of stuff to do here for the young and young at heart and Sperber’s got that can-do pixie spirit to lead loosely organized bands of fun-seekers to some of Summit County’s best trailheads, spectator spots, attractions or even coffee shops. Want a look at a daily schedule? Get in touch and we’ll forward one along.

You want to volunteer? We have an OBSCENE swag bag for you!

Bless your heart. We need people for 4-hour shifts (more or less) throughout the week and are prepared to reward your efforts with piles of swag. The Summit Fat Tire Society has a really cool volunteer registration page set up on their site. If you’ve got the time, we’d love to have you!

Meals, camping & 2nd payments

Time’s running out for these items kids! Get your camping or RV spots (there are only a handful left), your meal plans ordered (the cutoff date is one month out, or July 12) and your second payments in!

Did you really read this far down? Bless your heart. I think it’s just you, me and my mom down here at the bottom.

If you haven’t checked out the images loaded up on our Facebook page from Liam Doran and Devon Balet please think about taking a digital spin through their offerings – between them they’ve captured everything that the Epic is…or at least what we hope that it is.

See you in August -


PS – check out the image galleries on Facebook – they really are THAT awesome. Here’s a taste – the first three are from Liam Doran, the second three from Devon Balet – thanks guys.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

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