What are the rules?
Where and when is the start and where do we go again?
- The West Elk Bicycle Classic is NOT a race. It is a timed recreational tour.
- The rules of the road ALWAYS apply. Stay as far right as possible unless overtaking another rider. Obey all traffic laws. All cyclists are personally responsible for knowing and obeying all traffic laws. This includes—but is not limited to—obeying stop signs. Violators may be ticketed by local law enforcement and/or removed from the event.
- Registration packet pickup. You must pick up your registration on Friday, August 29th, 6-8 p.m.; Saturday, August 30th, 4-8 p.m.; or Sunday, August 31st, 5:30-6 p.m. at the Taylor Hall Welcome Center on the Western State Colorado University campus in Gunnison CO, which is also the West Elk Bicycle Classic start. See Course Map for location.
- There will be a mass start at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 31st. The peloton (main group) will have an escort car only to the city limits. The peloton should also ride as far to the right as possible. If you get dropped from the main peloton, other SAG vehicles will follow, but you should ride as far to the right as possible except when overtaking riders.
- The timed portion of the race finishes at the summit of Kebler Pass. However, the official finish line is in downtown Crested Butte, CO. You can coast the entire way but there are still unpaved portions of the road so be careful!
- Drafting other riders is acceptable. No drafting of vehicles or taking rides from them.
- We take your safety very seriously but at the same time, while this is a road event, the nature and location of the course more closely resemble a backcountry experience. SAG vehicles will be on course to assist with mechanicals or emergency food and water. An ambulance will be following the ride and Event Medical Solutions will also be following the ride. If you come across an injured or sick rider, please stop and help as your training and experience allow. Please notify a motorist, course volunteer or anyone else that can help or send word that help is needed. There are numerous sections of this course that have no cell phone service. Remember, if you do have cell service, calling 911 in the event of an emergency is always an option.
- Ride safely and in control. Ride in single file whenever possible. Any cyclist who is deemed to be riding unsafely, discourteously, or recklessly will be removed from the event and banned from future participation. Again, THIS IS A RIDE, NOT A RACE. Your safety, and the impact of your actions on the safety of others, are your responsibility.
- Children ages twelve and up are welcome as cycling participants (no trailers). All children (ages twelve through seventeen) must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.
- Did you remember your helmet? Helmets are mandatory. The helmet must be an ANSI- or Snell-approved cycling helmet.
- Tandems are allowed. Each person needs to register.
- No prone bikes.
- Adaptive riders are welcome.
- Recumbent cycles are permitted.
- Don’t make fun of the people on recumbent cycles.
- All organizers and directors decisions are final. Anyone found to take an alternate route to the designate route or breaking any of the above rules will not receive a finishing time.
The start is at 7:00am at Western State Colorado University in front of Taylor hall on Aug 31, 2014. Look north from the McDonalds at Highway 50 and Adams Street and you’ll see the four stories of red brick that is Taylor Hall. This is rider check-in and also the starting line. Go to the Course page on our web site for the route.
Where should I stay and what are my options for the logistics of starting in Gunnison and finishing in Crested Butte?
Where should I park?
Excellent lodging options are available in Gunnison, Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte and Almont. Regardless of where you stay, you’ll need a plan for how you and your bike will get to wherever you are staying after the race.
Best Option – Bring someone along who is not riding in the event. They can meet you at the finish line or drive you to the start in the morning. Otherwise, visit our Shuttles page by clicking here.
NOTE: You will be prompted to purchase or decline a shuttle during the registration process. Shuttles are $20.
There is ample parking on the Western State Colorado University campus at the starting area. Just be certain you have a plan for getting back to your car. Believe it or not, every year we have several riders who throw their leg back over their bikes and pedal the 28 miles down to Gunnison after taking a break at the finish line party in Crested Butte. That makes it a 162 mile day!
What if I get hurt or need help?
We take your safety very seriously but at the same time, while this is a road event, the nature and location of the course, more closely resembles a backcountry experience. SAG vehicles will be on course to assist with mechanicals or emergency food and water. An ambulance will be following the ride and Event Medical Solutions will also be following the ride. If you come across an injured or sick rider, please stop and help as your training and experience allow. Please notify a motorist, course volunteer or anyone else that can help or send word that help is needed. There are numerous sections of this course that have no cell phone service. Remember, if you do have cell service, calling 911 in the event of an emergency is always an option.
Can I send a drop bag to the finish line?
We will transport a small duffel bag to the finish in Crested Butte. There will be a designated drop back location near the starting line.
Are there showers?
There are showers at the Crested Butte Hostel nearby for a small fee.
Are there aid stations?
There will be 6 well-stocked aid stations along the route. Offerings will vary by location but could include Honey Stinger nutrition and Acli-Mate hydration products, as well as water, and other eats and drinks. For approximate locations of aid stations, see the Course Map.
Are there prizes?
We will have prizes and possibly a raffle.
How long is the ride?
The West Elk Bicycle Classic is 134 miles/216km.
What is the course like? How much climbing? What happens to the dirt surface of Kebler Pass if it rains?
The first 100 miles of the course is paved and very little traffic will be encountered. This is a back roads, off-the-beaten-path route! There are some nice climbs through amazing scenery along the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. Then the route drops quickly to a low point and into the orchards and farmland around Paonia. Following the North Fork of the Gunnison River, Highway 133 gradually climbs to the turnoff to Kebler pass. The road turns to dirt and gravel here for the final big climb up Kebler Pass. There are short stretches of pavement. For the most part the surface is hard packed and fairly smooth but it gets steep in places, with sections of 10-11% grades. The vertical gain from Paonia to the top of Kebler is over 5,000 feet amid stunning scenery. The timed portion of the ride ends at the top of Kebler Pass. An 8-mile neutral pedal/coast takes you to the finish line and party in downtown Crested Butte. There is close to 9500′ of climbing overall between the start and finish. The Kebler Pass road, while relatively smooth and dust free due to magnesium chloride applications when dry, could become nasty and muddy in the event of a heavy rain. Please know that this is a possibility and that this mixture of mud and magnesium chloride may not be ideal for your bicycle. The West Elk Bicycle Classic is an extreme challenge in more ways than one and is not for the faint of heart! Be tough. Be prepared for anything. You’ll rarely experience a more satisfying finish!
How hard is the West Elk Bicycle classic?
The West Elk Bicycle Classic is open to all riders but it is a tough course. As a comparison, the Triple Bypass is 14 miles shorter but climbs more. The dirt surface of Kebler Pass takes the toughness factor up a notch, though, for sure. It is a great challenge but if you have prepared well and ride smart, you can finish this epic ride. We have plenty of riders who are just moving along to beat the cutoff times.
What is the entry fee for 2014?
$120 until June 19th; $135 Until August 29th; and $150 after that.