DILLON — In an email to racers Tuesday morning, Breck Epic founder and race director Mike McCormack announced the multiday mountain bike race will not take place the third week of August due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Regarded by many as the premier mountain bike race in North America, the Breck Epic brings as many as 600 racers, their friends and families to Breckenridge annually. That includes some of the world’s best racers grinding through the 211 miles of intimidating and scenic U.S. Forest Service terrain across the county.
In the email, McCormack said the “prevailing sentiment” he received from most racers was that many would come if the race was held, though most wouldn’t if required to race in masks. He also said for most of the race’s international contestants — more than one-third of this year’s field — it likely would be “simply impossible to get here.”
“By August 16, we are unlikely to exit Phase 3 of Summit County’s recovery guidelines in time to loosen mask requirements or social distancing restrictions,” McCormack wrote. “The economic impact to our community can’t be overstated. This is a truly awful blow to the people who make your coffee, provide your lodging, fix your bikes, roll your sushi and do everything else that makes your week in Breck awesome.”
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McCormack further described the situation as “uncharted territory” and added that the annual event’s partners, namely the town of Breckenridge and the Forest Service, have been “nothing short of understanding.”
“The risk to all of us is exponentially increased with each day that we race,” McCormack wrote. “If just one person gets sick, we’re ALL going to be sick.”
McCormack said the race will return Aug. 15-21, 2021. Until then, racers who requested refunds prior to an April 16 deadline will be refunded in full while others will be provided compensation codes for the 2021 race.
In an attempt to keep some of the Breck Epic spirit alive for the third week of August, McCormack encouraged those independently still planning on coming to Summit County in August to ride the local courses, pointing online to available routes. He also announced a summerlong online achievement-based event, to launch early next week, dubbed “Epic in Place,” complete with prizes for milestone achievements.
“Virtual events make our eyes reflexively roll, but we think that with (Epic in Place), we’ve come up with something that will help maintain the sense of community that represents the heart of what we all do together,” McCormack wrote.