Mountain Bike Capital USA: My Epic Singletrack Race in Winter Park, Colorado
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I fell in love with Winter Park all over again last weekend. I forgot how great it is. I had a room at the Vintage Hotel at the Winter Park Resort in order to be close to the start line of the Epic Singletrack Race on Saturday. I signed up for a 15 mile super loop XC (cross country) race. I was a bit nervous because I’ve never raced at that altitude but I figured all I had to do was get to the top and then it would be all downhill from there. Well, so to speak.
The Winter Park Resort is often called ‘Mountain Bike Capital USA’. It is the only resort in North America that had three lifts just for mountain bikers! There are over 40 miles accessible by lift and 600 miles throughout the Fraser Valley that are perfect for you and your bike. In the summer the resort transitions from a ski resort to the Trestle Bike Park. The last time I rode my bike in Winter Park, it was the 90’s and my husband might say that I threw my bike down the side of a hill out of frustration. But I cannot confirm or deny that at this time. Wink wink. I was more than a little excited to check it out now that I am older and wiser.
The Epic Singletrack Race Series is celebrating its 20th anniversary (which means I’ve been missing out for 19 years!). There are seven races to choose from and you can sign up for one or two or do the whole series. The races offer something for everyone; uphill, downhill and cross country. My super loop cross country race was a great combination; a nice steady climb with some flowy singletrack, a few creek crossings and the big payoff, an amazing screamin’ downhill section. I ride the Sport class but if you are a beginner don’t fret! There is a beginner class with a few less miles. This is a great race for beginners (as well as experts and pros). First of all, signing up was easy. No license necessary. Secondly, everyone involved with the race was so nice! I was sure to thank each and every person at every turn in the bend who are there to tell the racers to turn or go straight. Races like these always have a ton of volunteers. Don’t forget to say thanks through your gritted teeth on the uphill.
The Winter Park Resort has multiple lodging options. The Vintage Hotel was perfect for me and my bike. The staff was super friendly and parking was easy. My room was huge and comfortable and had a kitchen. There is a Cabriolet (open-air gondola) right outside the door of the hotel so that you can go into the resort for dinner, shopping or to the bike shop. I noticed that there were tons of activities for the kids. Next time I’ll bring mine. Winter Park has lots of great options for food. I fueled up on a huge plate of pasta and grabbed a latte before leaving town after the race. But if you wanted to stay in the resort the entire time, it has everything you need.
The Winter Park resort has a lot to offer. And the Epic Race Series is just one of many things. Their Trestle Bike Park is a gravity love fest. You can rent a bike and downhill protection gear (pads, helmet, etc.) and you can even get a coach for a few hours. Now that sounds like a great idea to me. Maybe I’ll try that next time. The race was definitely a highlight of my summer. I can’t wait to get out there for another one.