SOUTHERN COLORADO — The Pikes Peak APEX stage race is coming back to Southern Colorado for the third year, welcoming riders from across the country and closing popular trails, parks, and streets.
The four-day event starts Thursday in Palmer Park where olympian and amateur mountain bikers will compete for a $25,000 prize purse over the weekend. Nearly 200 participants will ride over 100 miles and climb over 12,000 feet. Daniel Matheny, the race's course director said they prepare the trails for the race year-round.
"Usually, we start the permitting process literally as soon as the race ends for the next year. We start the next year's process all over again. So we're constantly trying to give the experience of the router and the participant what we have to offer here in the Pikes Peak region," he said.
He said the goal of the race is to bring more attention to Southern Colorado's trail system and strengthen the area's outdoor recreation industry. This year's course features a brand new trail in Cañon City thanks to entry fees from previous races.
"Some of the money that we put back has helped put signage up at the intersections and get more trail connectivity because there's a lot of trails that people don't know where they go unless there's signage, markings, and maps that are made of them," Matheny said.
Matt Boobar traveled from Vermont to take part in this year's race. He said he has been mountain biking for 33 years, but this will be his first stage race in years.
"This is a 50th birthday present to myself, a potentially painful one, but looking forward to it anyway. We'll see how the altitude does but I'm still looking forward to the experience. It should be really fun," he said.
Each course over the four days is different. Below are the locations of trail and street closures for the public:
Stage One: Thursday, Sept. 22 in Palmer Park
- Paseo Road and parking in Palmer Park closed from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Extensive use of Palmer Park road and trail system, including Yucca Flats off-leash dog area
Stage Four: Sunday, Sept. 25 in Cheyenne Canyon
- Rolling closures on 21st Street from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
- Uphill traffic on Captain Jacks Trail is not allowed between 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
New this year, participants have the chance to run the APEX with 5k, 10k, and 50k races. All of the races start and finish in America the Beautiful Park on Sunday. The weekend's events also wrap up with the APEX Outdoor Festival and Expo event happening from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at America the Beautiful Park. The event features outdoor activities, live music, and food trucks.
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