Leadville Trail 100 MTB
The Leadville Trail 100 MTB is one of the primary events in the three-month Leadville Race Series, which also features a 100-mile trail run. Competitors must win a lottery to compete—2014 hopefuls should submit by February 28—but for good reason. The ride cuts through the Colorado Rockies, climbing more than 2,000 feet to an elevation higher than two miles. "The LT100 blends a race against time and the challenge associated with riding and surviving 100 miles through the highest mountains in Colorado," says race director Josh Colley. "In air this thin, you never know how the body will respond to being pushed to its limits."
B.C. Bike Race
North Vancouver, Canada
The B.C. Bike Race might be the best way to see western Canada. The seven-day singletrack stage race begins in North Vancouver, with a day's riding on the North Shore's famous ladder bridges. The race then cuts across the Strait of Georgia for a leg through Vancouver Island to Cumberland. Riders next cross back over the strait, riding south toward Vancouver before cutting north and completing the weeklong trek in Whistler. As many as 600 riders from 33 countries participate in the race, according to marketing director Andreas Hestler, who says B.C. is "a recipe for good times, great camaraderie, lasting memories, and a whole lot of whooping and hollering out on the trails."
In the Whiskey Off-Road, the city of Prescott and the Prescott National Forest collaborate to host a three-day binge of mountain biking, dining, gallery-hopping, and taking in the great outdoors. The weekend features six rides, of varying lengths and difficulties to accommodate pros and amateurs alike. Andy Suter, a marketing manager for coordinating entity Epic Rides, promises that all courses offer "technical, fast singletrack, smooth fire roads, great climbing, and vistas that will leave participants speechless." Every mountain biker should experience this "microcosm of mountain-bike culture" at least once, he says, adding that they'll become "hooked after their first shot at the Whiskey."
Forget fireworks. Forget half-pound burgers and mounds of potato salad. The Firecracker 50 is how you should celebrate Independence Day. Participating cyclists start the race in Breckenridge, where they lead the town's Fourth of July parade. According to the race's website, things only get better from there, with "a couple of grunty little climbs, a couple of long lung busters, some absolutely rippin' descents, and plenty of contouring flume and singletrack." Don't miss out on this highlight of the Colorado mountain-bike circuit.
Bell's Beer Iceman Cometh Challenge
Traverse City, Michigan
The Iceman Cometh spans the distance between Kalkaska and Traverse City, Michigan, cutting through 30 miles of woods, meadows, and trails in Pere Marquette State Forest. But the race is about much more than Michigan's scenery. "When you boil it down, the Bell's Iceman is all about testing yourself against Mother Nature," says race director Steve "Iceman" Brown. "You never know exactly what she's going to throw at you in early November in Northern Lower Michigan." As many as 6,000 participants and 10,000 spectators attend the Iceman, which hosts two other races—the Sno-Cone, for children, and the Slush Cup, for beginners.
The Whole Enchilada
This single-day ride tackles the Whole Enchilada trail, a challenging and cherished Utah route. "Nowhere else in the world can you start in the high alpine above 11,000 feet and descend through four distinct ecosystems," says organizer Sarah Rawley. The race's three stages begin at Burro Pass, moving through Hazard County and eventually tackling the Porcupine Rim trail. "The Whole Enchilada is iconic in nature and tests every facet of a mountain biker's abilities," Rawley says. To prevail, a rider must "keep it all together for the solid 26 miles and 7,000-foot descent."