A new mountain bike racing event with a mission to drive economic impact and improve trails and open spaces throughout the Pikes Peak region is ready to roll at Palmer Park Sept. 24.
The Pikes Peak APEX is a four-day mountain bike challenge and is a project of the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance — a nonprofit collaborative of businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and individuals that promotes local outdoor recreation activities.
It will feature the largest mountain bike prize purse in North America for 2020, according to a news release announcing the event, which will be split between the top men and women finishers.
Accomplished Colorado Springs cyclists Katie Compton and Russell Finsterwald are scheduled to participate.
“I’ve always enjoyed multi-day races and having this one so close to home on trails I get to ride frequently is pretty great,” Compton said in the release. “The stages are challenging and will make for some hard racing, but the views will make the suffering a little more manageable.”
More people have been using the region’s trails and open spaces due to the coronavirus pandemic, the release said, “prompting increased importance to fund their maintenance and connectivity.”
Pikes Peak APEX’s mission to drive economic impact resulted in the creation of a new PPORA Stewardship Fund, which will “bring attention and action to the Pikes Peak region’s trail system and surrounding lands for multiple uses and users,” according to the release.
“We launched the Pikes Peak APEX to not only strengthen economic impact in the region, but also showcase the Pikes Peak region’s outdoor recreation and position it as an internationally recognized endurance sports destination,” said Becky Leinweber, executive director of PPORA.
Due to the pandemic, several precautions will be taken to ensure safety for participants, organizers and bystanders. Dr. Michael Roshon, the chief medical officer of USA Cycling, has been hired as its medical director and the event’s safety plan will adhere to state and local guidelines and regulations.
The Pikes Peak APEX was designed to create as little disturbance as possible to vehicle traffic and businesses, the release said, but it will impact some regular trail usage, including in Palmer Park, where trails will be closed most of the day Sept. 24 to non-participants.
The Rampart Range area and Bear Creek Park will be effected from Sept. 25-27.
Organizers of the race ask bystanders to avoid gathering at the start and finish areas of the race routes.
“Since the routes are large, single loops, they can watch with their family or friends at distanced positions along the trail and cheer on the participants,” the release said.
A full route map is available here.