For mountain biking enthusiasts, Winter Park is a well-known destination in the United States and it hosts one of the most exciting events in the region, Sunrise to Sunset Winter Park. The trails in this region have been recognized for their high quality, with USA Cycling even hosting its National Championships on the Winter Park trails. The Sunrise to Sunset Winter Park event is part of the Ride Collective Series and is rated by Strambecco as one of the Best Mountain Bike Events in Colorado.
This 12-hour endurance race is designed to be both fun and challenging, with riders competing in a relay format. The course is a 7.2-mile loop of flowy trails, which includes a hard climb at the start, rewarding descents, and playful singletrack. Teams of two to five people race around the beautifully engineered trails on the Idlewild Trail System, taking turns to complete the hot lap while others enjoy the festival atmosphere in the cool, high-mountain air.
The event will be held at the Rendezvous Event Center @ Hideaway Park, which offers activities for both race participants and supporters throughout the day. The race starts at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, with a pre-race briefing held at 6:45 a.m. at the start line. The day will be packed with activities, including an expo, lunch, massages, a beer garden, raffle drawings, live music, and podium awards. There will be something for everyone at the Rendezvous Event Center, which is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the festival atmosphere while cheering on your team. Making the event even more special, the sister gravel cycling event, Crooked Gravel is being held in conjunction with Sunrise to Sunset, so at the end of the day, racers of both events will be partying together at the bandshell!
While Winter Park is a beautiful place to ride, it is important to take precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable outing. Afternoon thunderstorms are a frequent summer occurrence in the Rockies, so it is important to be prepared for inclement weather. Applying bug repellent with DEET or a natural alternative can help protect against ticks and mosquitoes, and riders should be cautious of poison ivy. Animal encounters are also a possibility, so it is important to know how to deal with wildlife on the trail.
In addition to the race, Winter Park offers a diverse range of activities year-round. The town boasts a variety of locally-owned restaurants, including BBQ at The Smokehouse of Winter Park, American Steakhouse at Deno’s Mountain Bistro, and seafood at Fontenot’s Fresh Seafood & Grill.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a recreational rider, the Sunrise to Sunset Winter Park mountain bike event is an exciting opportunity to challenge yourself and enjoy the beautiful trails of Winter Park. With the festival atmosphere at the Rendezvous Event Center, delicious local cuisine, and a variety of activities on offer, this event is not to be missed.
The Ride Collective, formerly known as the Outside Events Cycling Series, is a portfolio of eight professionally-produced events and races in both Colorado and New Mexico. Host venues and terrain vary from the Front Range to the Rocky Mountains to the High Desert. TRC strives to create an inclusive culture where cyclists of almost all abilities can enjoy the simple pleasures of riding a bicycle. For some, it’s about the challenge, others do it for a cause, but everybody enjoys surfing the energy of the group. The Ride Collective events range from 300 to 3,000 participants, with a portion of event proceeds benefiting local and regional nonprofit organizations. The full calendar of events includes the following:
- Wild Horse Gravel – May 20
- Sunrise to Sunset Castle Park – June 3
- Crooked Gravel – July 22
- Sunrise to Sunset Winter Park – July 22
- Copper Triangle – August 5
- Enchanted Circle Bicycle Tour – August 12
- Tour of the Moon – September 9
- Tour de Vineyards – September 16
Many of The Ride Collective events we consider to be top tier cycling events and consistently make Strambecco’s list of the Best Mountain Bike Events in the Rockies, the Best Gravel Cycling Events in the Rockies and Colorado, and the Best Road Cycling Events in Colorado and the Rockies.
Those that participate in both of the Sunrise to Sunset events are eligible to win the Race the Sun Challenge – a competition that aims to test riders by completing the most laps and maintaining a fast lap pace in both the Sunrise to Sunset Castle Rock and Sunrise to Sunset Winter Park events. Each course offers unique challenges and caters to different types of riders. The Challenge determines the fastest riders in the Sunrise to Sunset Series. The overall results are based on the total number of laps completed in both races. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second, and third place riders in each category, including Men, Women, Junior Boys, and Junior Girls. The top three finishers in the Race the Sun Challenge will receive trophies and prizes in recognition of their achievements.