What makes an epic MTB ride?

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What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby Greg Heil » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:32 am

It seems like we use the word "epic" all the time to describe mountain bike trails and rides. But what REALLY makes a ride "epic"? Well, in this guest post on LovingTheBike I give my personal criteria for an epic ride: http://lovingthebike.com/guest-post/wha ... -bike-ride

What do YOU think makes an epic MTB ride?
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Re: What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby fleetwood » Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:29 am

Nice write up. I do think that what defines epic for any one rider is relative and subjective, but I don't disagree with the factors you noted. For me, it would also include good friends, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and a cold one to wash it down high atop a mountain ridgeline.

A few weeks ago, I had a ride that met these conditions, plus extensive blowdowns in the backcountry thrown in for good measure. I didn't call it epic at the time, but I guess maybe it was.

:D
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Re: What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby John Fisch » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:23 pm

Couldn't have said it better myself. When I look back on past rides that I think of as epic, they all had two or more of the factors you listed in large measure.
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Re: What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby Greg Heil » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:42 pm

skibum wrote:Couldn't have said it better myself. When I look back on past rides that I think of as epic, they all had two or more of the factors you listed in large measure.


Thanks man. Glad to hear I'm on the right track! :mrgreen:
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Re: What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby GoldenGoose » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:21 pm

You sort of touched on this one but I think it needs to be specifically pointed out that the vast majority of trips should not actually qualify as "epic" without full on suffering.

I don't mean that "oh wow, my heart rate just got into the 98% of max range" suffering either. That's simply pushing yourself.

I mean the type that approaches death or dismemberment. Stuff involving tourniquets, splints, neck braces, heart disrhythmias and mandatory IV fluids. That's epic sh_t right there. You don't necessarily have to have an injury needing those kinds of interventions but you better at least be able to confidently state that those types injuries could have or previously have been involved.

If you don't question yourself somewhere during the ride by thinking, "why the hell am I doing this?", then you aren't on an epic ride.
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Re: What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby revans1961 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:12 pm

Getting away from the crowds and just breathing fresh air. Today i was riding with my nephew we were at maybe 1500 ft and right in front of me were two red tail hawks just flying in a circle maybe 20 yards away over the little valley they just acted like they really didn't give a crap about me. This is makes it the best.
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Re: What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby Greg Heil » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:31 am

GoldenGoose wrote:You sort of touched on this one but I think it needs to be specifically pointed out that the vast majority of trips should not actually qualify as "epic" without full on suffering.

I don't mean that "oh wow, my heart rate just got into the 98% of max range" suffering either. That's simply pushing yourself.

I mean the type that approaches death or dismemberment. Stuff involving tourniquets, splints, neck braces, heart disrhythmias and mandatory IV fluids. That's epic sh_t right there. You don't necessarily have to have an injury needing those kinds of interventions but you better at least be able to confidently state that those types injuries could have or previously have been involved.

If you don't question yourself somewhere during the ride by thinking, "why the hell am I doing this?", then you aren't on an epic ride.


Haha this is AWESOME!
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Re: What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby CraigCreekRider » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:05 pm

Epic is in the mind of the beholder.

Over the years my personal definition of epic has changed quite a bit. Early on what I considered epic is now just a good ride.
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Re: What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby brianW » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:45 am

I live close to an IMBA Epic trail, FATS. I personally don't think I ride an epic every time I go ride there. Part of an epic for me let it be a ride, trail run, hike, ski, is to push yourself, experience new things, and a sense of exploration.

The first time I rode Long Cane it felt to me as an epic ride. After that, no not really. First time I rode all six loops at FATS at once, even though it was more mileage then Long Cane, no it wasn't an epic for me. I had already rode all the loops countless times.

Most of my "epic" journeys have been hiking, let them be exploring trail less areas, little used trails or on well used trails but at odd times. One of my favorites was a solo Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains of NH. A 4am start insured I saw no one 'til I was nearly half over, a quiet and beautiful sunrise from Mount Pierce and a wonderful breakfast on Mount Monroe.
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Re: What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby CraigCreekRider » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:13 am

Thinking back, it seems like most of the rides I have been on in Slatyfork, WV have been a least borderline epic. Remote backcountry, scenic inpenetrable Canadian like forest, briars, blowdowns, stinging nettles, bears and occcasional broken bones. A little bit of it goes a long ways, but I am ready to go back. Sadistic, yes - but as a group mountain bikers have that tendency. :lol:
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Re: What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby Jared13 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:32 pm

GoldenGoose wrote:I mean the type that approaches death or dismemberment. Stuff involving tourniquets, splints, neck braces, heart disrhythmias and mandatory IV fluids. That's epic sh_t right there. You don't necessarily have to have an injury needing those kinds of interventions but you better at least be able to confidently state that those types injuries could have or previously have been involved.

If you don't question yourself somewhere during the ride by thinking, "why the hell am I doing this?", then you aren't on an epic ride.


My first and third ride in Montana would satisfy the "possible death" requirement. Riding a few feet from a 30-50 ft drop into the Missouri River in December certainly ups the pucker factor. Both rides were the first time I was on those trails also. I have to admit, leaving the only bike trails in the snow is pretty awesome.

Neither of them met the distance requirement though. Heck, the first one was less than 5 miles round trip. I was quickly running out of daylight and didn't have a light with me. That's the fastest I've ever ridden into the sun.

I don't think it met the "epic" status even though I had the possible death, technical difficulty, and adverse conditions criteria met. I think it was more poor planning on my part...but I still had an absolute blast! :D


My first mountain bike ride only met the technical difficulty part and that one was epic (at least to me.) I've been hooked ever since!
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Re: What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby John Fisch » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:43 pm

Jared13 wrote:
GoldenGoose wrote:I mean the type that approaches death or dismemberment. Stuff involving tourniquets, splints, neck braces, heart disrhythmias and mandatory IV fluids. That's epic sh_t right there. You don't necessarily have to have an injury needing those kinds of interventions but you better at least be able to confidently state that those types injuries could have or previously have been involved.

If you don't question yourself somewhere during the ride by thinking, "why the hell am I doing this?", then you aren't on an epic ride.


My first and third ride in Montana would satisfy the "possible death" requirement. Riding a few feet from a 30-50 ft drop into the Missouri River in December certainly ups the pucker factor. Both rides were the first time I was on those trails also. I have to admit, leaving the only bike trails in the snow is pretty awesome.

Neither of them met the distance requirement though. Heck, the first one was less than 5 miles round trip. I was quickly running out of daylight and didn't have a light with me. That's the fastest I've ever ridden into the sun.

I don't think it met the "epic" status even though I had the possible death, technical difficulty, and adverse conditions criteria met. I think it was more poor planning on my part...but I still had an absolute blast! :D


My first mountain bike ride only met the technical difficulty part and that one was epic (at least to me.) I've been hooked ever since!


I was already an advanced biker by the time I got to Great Falls and there was one spot there on the North Shore of the Missouri that gave me pause. Now that you've mastered that, it's time to head up into the Highwoods, Little Belts, Big Snowies and down to Mt Helena So much to do with so much variety within an easy day trip there!
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Re: What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby Bubblehead10MM » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:19 pm

I'd have to focus in on the word great in the dictionary definition. but not just great but impressively great. Elevation could substitute for distance for sure. A great vista might put it over the top if it's not a technical challenge.
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Re: What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby Jared13 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:53 pm

skibum wrote:I was already an advanced biker by the time I got to Great Falls and there was one spot there on the North Shore of the Missouri that gave me pause. Now that you've mastered that, it's time to head up into the Highwoods, Little Belts, Big Snowies and down to Mt Helena So much to do with so much variety within an easy day trip there!


I think I know what section you're talking about. Does it have a couple of large rocks you need to zigzag between right next to the river? I think I sessioned that spot three to four times before I cleaned it. (I cheated by j-hopping over the rock on the right side of the trail :D)

I can't wait to hit the trails a bit farther away from Great Falls once the snow is gone and there's more daylight. In the mean time, I'll keep hitting North Shore and River's Edge/Mayhem to keep my legs and lungs in decent(ish) shape...but man are there some sketchy sections of Mayhem when it's covered in snow!
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Re: What makes an epic MTB ride?

Postby Funrover » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:13 pm

Fair enough, I'd agree with what was said.
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