Pikes Peak Apex MTB Stage Race, Presented by RockShox

Written by: Jen Hanks

The Pikes Peak Apex, Presented by RockShox returns for its 3rd year. The 4-day mountain bike stage race takes place September 22-25th in Colorado Springs, Colorado and serves to showcase the best trails and fall foliage in and around the area. The race attracts top pro racers with its $25,000 prize purse that is split equally between the men’s and women’s elite fields.

In 2021, US marathon national champion, Alexis Skarda (Santa Cruz #htSQD) took the overall title in the women’s category, while her teammate, 3-time US XC national champion, Keegan Swenson, won the men’s category.

Pro racers Sophia Gomez Villafane and Evelyn Dong high-five. Photo credit: James Stokoe Photography

Pikes Peak Apex isn’t just for the pros, the trails raced each day are specifically chosen to be enjoyed by pros and amateurs alike with a well-balanced combination of big climbs and smile-producing singletrack. Micah Rice, Pikes Peak Apex Executive Director, has this to say about the race:

“As the highest-profile mountain bike event on the Front Range, The Pikes Peak APEX should be a bucket list event for all amateur cyclists.  The Pro riders will split up the $25,000 prize list, but the top age-group riders both men and women will win RockShox forks and other prizes.  The format of the event is meant to be demanding, but very doable by the intermediate rider.  We have world-class courses, fully stocked aid stations, and lots of support for all levels of mountain bikers. Enjoy the amazing Rocky Mountain singletrack and the vistas on the slopes of Pikes Peak while testing yourself against some of the best riders in the world.”

 

While the final route of each stage has not yet been released, you can expect the following:

Stage 1: Prologue: As in previous year’s editions, Day 1 will be a time-trial in Palmer Park. Racers can expect amazing views of downtown and the front range in this popular local destination.

Spectators cheer a racer navigating the rocks in Palmer Park. Photo credit: James Stokoe Photography

Stage 2: Canon City: Stage 2 will be utilizing never-before raced trails in Canon City, Colorado. Racers will commute roughly 50 miles from Colorado Springs to the stage start and can expect ~35 miles of purpose-built trail and 4000+ feet of climbing. A highlight of the stage is crossing the Royal Gorge suspension bridge that hangs 1000 feet above the Arkansas River.

Stage 3: TBD: While details of Stage 3 have not yet been released, it has been reported that this stage will be ~28 miles with 3000ft of climbing; perhaps allowing a bit of recovery after Stage 2s queen stage

Evelyn Dong (Juliana Bicycles) leads another racer up a climb. Photo credit: James Stokoe Photography

Stage 4: Cheyenne Canyon. Stage 4 serves up 30 miles and 3900 ft. of climbing featuring new singletrack in Daniel’s Pass. After finishing the day, racers will head to America the Beautiful Park for the APEX afterparty and outdoor festival where beer, lunch, and live music will be dished out all afternoon.

A racer enjoying the Pikes Peak APEX singletrack. Photo credit: James Stokoe Photography

Whether you are a top pro looking to see where you stack up against the best of the best or a first-time stage racer, the Pikes Peak APEX is for you! Registration starts at $395 and includes:

  • 4 days of challenging riding
  • Fully stocked aid stations
  • Tech/Medical support
  • Swag bag with APEX gear and Sponsor swag
  • Meal and Beer (21+) at the APEX Afterparty

Racers can choose from solo or duo categories.

Click here for more information.

 

US Cup Finals – Colorado Springs, CO

Gagne and Pendrel win final round and overall of 2015 US Cup in Colorado Springs

Canadians Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) and Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) won the final round of the USA Cycling US Cup Pro Series presented by Cannondale in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  The wins gave both the overall 2015 US Cup titles as well.

Elite women

A 40-strong field of the top women in North America toed the line for the 2015 US Cup finale, including six National Champions from six different countries:  Canada, USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Columbia, Ecuador. Chloe Woodruff (Team Stans NoTubes) took hole-shot and set the early pace on the first lap. Later on that same lap, Catherine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) moved past Woodruff and only teammate Katerina Nash could follow. These two would stay off the front for the majority of the race.

Chloe Woodruff (Team Stans NoTubes) and Erin Huck (Scott 3 Rox) led the chase group, which ballooned and shrunk over and over again with Larissa Connors (Ridebiker Alliance), Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team), and Rose Grant (Team Stans NoTubes) all coming back to them before being dropped.

In the end, things were all decided on the final quarter lap when the lead group split in half and the chasing group was shattered. Pendrel attacked Nash within the final mile to win solo by just 15 seconds. The rest of the field staggered in one at a time, evidence of just how hard the racing had been.

Further evidence of the difficulty was that as the temps rose from the high 70’s to the low 90’s, the womens’ lap times slowed from 15 to over 17 minutes throughout the day. The wind also picked up and made for a tough headwind on the long climb.

Series leader Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) started and rode in the main chase group for the first ten minutes, but pulled out and was a DNF on the first lap, apparently with difficulty breathing.

 

Elite men

The Elite men started in the high heat and Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing) took the lead shortly after the first corner and didn’t let off the gas all day. After one lap, only Russell Finsterwald (SRAM / Troy Lee Designs) and Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) were left on his wheel.

Gagne sat 3rd wheel and rarely took a pull, while Finsterwald moved to the front on a few descents but never was able to create any separation. By lap two a four-man chase group had formed consisting of Geoff Kabush and Derek Zandstra (both Scott 3 Rox Racing) and Keegan Swenson and Stephen Ettinger (both Team Sho-Air / Cannondale). It was Kabush who did the lion’s share of the work in this group for most of the six-lap race, while the Sho-Air / Cannondale duo looked under pressure in the group and were eventually dropped.

With one lap to go, the lead three slowed as Wells sat up and the gap came down to just fifteen seconds. Kabush took off in pursuit of the leaders but Gagne attacked hard with just one kilometer to go and took Wells and Finsterwald with him, eventually taking the win by just a few seconds.

Wells and Finsterwald had a tight sprint for second place that the officials gave to Finsterwald. Wells was clearly upset after the race and filed an official complaint with the UCI. They did not change their ruling and the result stood.

Click Here for full pro women’s results

Click Here for full pro men’s results

Colorado Springs cross country brief results

Elite women

1 Catharine Pendrel (Canada) Luna Pro Team 1:34:48
2 Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) Luna Pro Team 1:35:02
3 Erin Huck (United States) Scott 3 Rox 1:36:35
4 Chloe Woodruff (United States) Team Stans NoTubes 1:37:18
5 Georgia Gould (United States) Luna Pro Team 1:37:41

Elite men

1 Raphael Gagne (Canada) Rocky Mountain Bicycles; 1:36:28
2 Russell Finsterwald (United States) SRAM / TLD Race Team; 1:36:29
3 Todd Wells (United States) Specialized Factory Racing; 1:36:29
4 Geoff Kabush (Canada) Scott 3 Rox Racing; 1:36:30
5 Derek Zandstra (Canada) Scott 3 Rox Racing 1:36:44

USA Cycling US Cup Series Final Standings

Elite women

1 Catharine Pendrel (Canada) Luna Pro Team; 175 points
2 Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) Luna Pro Team; 144 points
3 Emily Batty (Canada) Trek Factory Racing; 140 points
4 Georgia Gould (United States) Luna Pro Team; 138 points
5 Erin Huck (United States) Scott 3 Rox Racing; 130 points

Elite men

1 Raphael Gagne (Canada) Rocky Mountain Bicycles; 175 points
2 Derek Zandstra (Canada) Scott 3 Rox Racing; 94 points
3 Todd Wells (United States) Specialized Factory Racing; 91 points
4 Stephen Ettinger (United States) Sho-Air/Cannondale; 91 points
5 Sergio Mantecon (Spain) Trek Factory Racing; 91 points