CTS Epic Mountain Bike Endurance Camp

What a treat - riding classic Colorado single track with an awesome group of people. Coach Adam invited Nick and I up to Breckenridge Friday and Saturday to join the ride portion of the Carmichael Training Systems Epic Mountain Bike Camp. This was a three day camp focused on endurance mountain biking, specifically the Breck Epic Stage Race, the Breck 100 and the Firecracker 50. This camp was more then just saddling up and riding bikes though. There was education on hydration and nutrition for long, epic events - always important especially at altitude and with multi day events. A presentation discussed the benefits of training with a power meter and how the data you get on a mountain bike differs from a road bike. (As a late converter to a PowerMeter, I would have loved to have gone to that talk!) And since most of the fun of mountain biking comes from getting to fly downhill, there were also skill sessions and video analysis of riding. A lot of information to cram into three days - especially when the epic rides were included!

We missed the Boreas Pass-Gold Dust ride on Thursday because of work, but showed up Friday morning ready to hit the trails. The athletes were all happy, excited and ready to ride. After a short review of the day's plan - hit the Colorado Trail section of the Breck 100 - the different groups formed. Nick and I joined up with an awesome group led by Coach Jim,  local guide Tim  and mechanic Don. Then it was out into the woods. I have to admit to never going to Breckenridge and just riding. We've always always had an agenda - pre ride this race course or that race course. Or we've been racing and just following the arrows. So I get completely lost out there when I'm not on a section of trail that was in a race. Pretty sad, I know. This weekend changed all that - and whet the appetite for more days of riding up there. We took our time getting from the Ice Rink to the Dredge trail head. Mostly single track, all fun, with some gradual climbs, some steep inclines and one super fun descent down Slalom (a new cut of single track thanks to the locals). Worthy of the name for sure! When we got the Dredge, the CTS truck had set up a refueling station complete with Gu, Chomps, Gu Brew and Roctane as well as tools and other supplies. A quick pit stop, then off to the Colorado Trail at Middle Fork.We traversed the CT between Middle and North Fork, then started the long climb up to the ridge. And I mean long - I've done it a few times and it hurts every time! Everyone was feeling the altitude and the heat as the talking ceased and the pace slowed. But finally, the descent. Our group spread out along the trail as we dropped back towards Dredge. A few stops to regroup, but we were all smiles at the CTS tent. Love that section of trail, every time I ride it. And everyone had gotten to practice skills on the decent, feeling the flow of the trail and the bike tires flying over dirt. We opted to take the bike path back into town since we were already at four hours of quality single track riding and there was another big day coming. Everyone was tired, but happy. A fun day of riding bikes - can't beat that!
That's how you ice an Achilles after a fun day of riding - in the cold snow melt Illinois Creek
New group leaders - Coach Daniel and Mechanic Rusty, but the same group for Saturday. And this was all new trails for me - or at least new directions to trails! We headed north on Peaks trail, then up and over on the CT - climbing and dropping down to Hyw 9. I've never ridden that section and it was super fun. Fast, flowing with some tight corners, some little launchers and flowing in and out of pines and flower filled meadows. We continued east on the CT - up the tight switchbacks and across the ridge. It was rolling terrain, climbing and descending, meandering through fields and aspen groves, then into shaded pine forests. Then the descent back to Dredge where the CTS tent was stationed. Having that support out there was fabulous - While I still carried plenty of water and food, I was able to refill bottles and hydration bladder if I needed to. And the food - from Gu to potato chips, if someone needed something, the CTS staff had it. After everyone was topped off, we retraced our steps west on the CT to Blair Witch trail and did a loop dropping down towards Keystone. Blair Witch reminded me of the speeder chase in Return of the Jedi - flying between trees, dodging rocks. Just awesome. The group was starting to get tired as we regrouped at the CTS tent, so it was time to start heading for home. No bike path this time - our goal was to take as much single track as we could find. It was a good idea in principle, but it also meant lots of climbing. And the wheels were starting to come off a little. Three days of solid, four plus hours of riding will do that to anyone! So we modified the original plan and followed the Firecracker 50 Course back into town. Only one more long hill with that route and we got to finish the day out on the Carter Park Switchbacks!
Happy campers on Peak Trail at the start of Day 3 of the CTS Epic MTB Camp
I was honored to have joined the camp for the two rides this weekend. It was a perfect trip - no worries besides where to ride my bike. And getting to ride with other, like minded athletes who just want to get better and have fun made it even more enjoyable. Judging by the smiles on everyone's faces, Nick and I weren't the only ones who had a fun time. If you're tempted by the thought of three days of well supported riding, education and prep for races like the Breck 100 or the Breck epic, then consider the Epic Mountain Bike Endurance Camp for next year.


  1. If you are one of those who love adventure and outdoor sports then riding a bicycle or mountain biking can be the best option. Thank you for sharing your article.

    biking tips


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