Buzzing sounds from bicycle hubs christen the cool Colorado air as I park at the Breckenridge ice rink 30 minutes before race start. It’s a Sunday and the tourists are still asleep. The swarms of riders pedaling around adorn multi-colored jerseys as the loud speaker plays pump-up songs in the morning light. As riders click into their pedals dogs bark and supporters clank cowbells. Even the police are here, but not to arrest anyone or quell a mob.

Race promoter Mike McCormack pep talk rallies the riders in their final minute as the countdown begins. Five, four, three…this is the first day of the Breck Epic.

High along the trails quietness consumes most riders with only their breathing heard amongst the forest. The crunch of gears shifting and whirr of hubs spinning last but only seconds as riders rally past. If you’re not paying attention you might miss the leaders bombing the single track. Yet with 300 riders participating in this six-day stage race, you are bound to see multiple sets of mountain bike racers kicking up dirt and rustling leaves in the Summit county high country.

The Breck Epic is more than just a race to these guys and gals – it’s a lifestyle race. It’s the kind of race where you compete to have fun not just to win. It’s a race where you can eat bacon and shoot whiskey at 12,000’ and not think twice about why you did. It’s a race that challenges your own abilities and explores your soul. It’s a race with your friends. So peruse the photo gallery below and feel what this race is all about.   —Jonathan Ingraham

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Breck Epic mountain bike competitors take to the streets of Breckenridge, Colo., on day two of the six-day stage race. The 240 mile race has racers pedal around Breckenridge taking them through a network of trails winding through gulches, up into the tundra and through apsen and pine forests.

 

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Riders from over 20 countries, like Yuki Ikeda of Japan, fly to the United States to compete in the Breck Epic mountain bike race in Breckenridge, CO. Yuki took the overall win in the 3 day 4-6 Open Men’s class at this the sixth iterration of the race. Day four(Aqueduct) took racers north from town towards Keystone, Colo., where they raced along a section of piping before heading back to the finish.

 

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The Breck Epic mountain bike race takes competitors through a network of trails in and around Breckenridge, CO. Day four(Aqueduct) had riders pedal north towards Keystone, Colo., and along water pipes and pine forests as they reached the fartherst north section of the race. John Klish gets his pedal on in the forest.

 

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The Gore Range provides a vista riders of the Breck Epic can appreciate as they begin their downhill descent from Wheeler Pass on stage 5. Catherine Williamson knows this view well along with podiums. She placed second in the 6 Day Open Women’s class in 2014.

 

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Hike-a-bike is synonymous with stage 5 of the Breck Epic. The goat path that leads to the top of Wheeler Pass claims more footsteps taken than pedal strokes completed for competitors. March on lemmings.

 

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Whiskey? Wheeler Pass provides epic views of the Gore Range, Blue River valley (Breckenridge is on the Blue River) and beyond. Supporters provide the drinks atop the saddle of stage 5 of the Breck Epic as riders crest the ascension. Here Adventure 212 riders Chris Peariso and Ryan Krayer pass by a shot before descending towards Copper Mountain, Colo.

 

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Boreas Pass houses aid station 1 and 2 on day 6 of the Breck Epic allowing competitors to refuel before making their way back onto the course. Three of the lead pack crest the summit with local Breckenridge rider and Breck Bike Guides owner Nick Truitt leading the pack.

 

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On the last day of compeition at the 2014 Breck Epic, the party started early for supporters atop Boreas Pass outside of Breckenridge, CO with wine and puffy coats as they awaited competitors to crest the summit. As the six-day stage race concluded with 2 ascensions of Boreas, the supporters trickled in and the liveliness ensued.

 

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Did you finish the 6 Day Breck Epic? Here is your belt buckle for crushing out 240 miles of high-altitude trails.