Breck Epic launches Epic in Place virtual ‘achievement-based challenge’

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Men’s race leader Keegan Swenson and Luis Mejia climb during the grueling ascent of the Tenmile Range to Wheeler Pass as part of August 2019’s fifth stage of the six-day Breck Epic mountain bike race. This year’s race has been replaced with the Epic in Place virtual challenge.
Devon Balet / Breck Epic

BRECKENRIDGE — After canceling the six-day, multistage Breck Epic mountain bike event due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, event director and founder Mike McCormack has launched Epic in Place. It’s a virtual way of keeping the Breck Epic race community together with a social element that also encourages a bit of competition among cyclists.

McCormack describes it as a “Call of Duty”-inspired “achievement-based challenge ecosystem that rewards remote cyclists of all stripes, not just mountain bikers, for unlocking a wide range of ‘in-game’ accomplishments.”

The way it works is riders register and are assigned a digital bib and upload link and then categorized into a racing division, just like the actual Breck Epic. The link allows riders to upload mileage, time and vertical whenever they want. Epic in Place then will track time, miles and vertical gain, communicating individual challenges and rewards as Epic in Place “concocts” them.

The main goal for cyclists is to ride 549 miles and 71,117 feet of vertical — the rough distance and vertical of the legendary Colorado Trail accessible by bike. Cyclists have until Sept. 30 to complete the challenge, though they are encouraged to ride more if they meet the metric.

“The universe gave us all lemons this year,” McCormack said in the Epic in Place announcement to riders. “So let’s make some lemonade. … The virus has given us all a smackdown. It’s up to you whether you get back off the mat or not.”

As part of Epic in Place, McCormack is encouraging cyclists to ride with friends and to share their accomplishments socially to help with remote connection among the cycling community.

Breck Epic is also planning on shipping prizes, such as a T-shirt, for entering or as a reward for unlocking an achievement as riders complete milestones.

As part of Epic in Place, riders should also keep an eye out for “led” stage rides from some of the event’s pro-athlete partners throughout the summer. The rides would be hosted on the popular Strava mobile application as all registered riders would receive notifications about how to engage and ride Breck Epic’s led stages in place.

McCormack said the event also will be hosting a virtual Breck Epic from Aug 16-21, with all Epic in Place registrants receiving a personal invite to the event, which McCormack said might have a cash purse.

To register for Epic in Place, visit At a cost of $69, cyclists will be able to select a charity of their choice for a $10 donation. Mileage and other cycling metrics start when you sign up.

As for reporting of miles, McCormack said miles logged on a trainer, indoor, Peloton or ZWIFT should be reported as a 1-1 ratio. Actual mountain bike miles on dirt should be reported as 1-to-1. Mountain bike miles on pavement or gravel should be reported as 2-to-3 (2 miles reported for every 3 miles ridden), and road and gravel miles should be reported as 1-to-2 (1 mile reported for every 2 miles ridden). Vertical meters or feet gained should be reported as a 1-1 ratio no matter how they were gained. Reporting of miles is done by cyclists on their own as an honor’s system.