Monarch Crest Enduro Returns For 2016

Jun 10, 2016
by Keith Darner  
First Annual Monarch Crest Enduro Returns with Colorado s Best High Country Riding

The first annual Monarch Crest Enduro returns September 30 - October 1, 2016 with an even bigger appetite for Colorado's best high country riding. This three day enduro event will cover 14,000 feet of timed descending, with all five stages starting above 10,200 feet.

"Dynamic terrain with consistently rowdy and hilarious trails through Colorado high country made this one of the best races of the season," said Flynn George, Pro Men (Backcountry Lifeline). 

From the top of the first stage Starvation Creek has incredible views and a few hidden speed check moto whoops to keep you on your toes. Rider Botsy Philips handles them like a seasoned vet. Other riders didn t fair so well.

New additions for this year include an extended version of Stage 2 on Silver Creek to include more chunder and water crossings, free breakfast burrito and cup of coffee each morning, and event cancellation insurance built into registration.

At one point there was no rain and only snow. With goggles glasses and cameras getting foggy the racers pushed on. Not only was it a race against time it was becoming a race against not freezing.

"Fall is the most beautiful time to ride in Colorado, but with that comes the threat of wintry conditions hitting the higher elevations," said Keith Darner, owner/race director of Chocolate Bunny Productions and longtime local of Salida, Colo. "All registration have a money back guarantee built in to give racers the peace of mind to claim their spot months before the event."

After getting to a semi normal elevation there became many creek crossings. This one in-particular was very refreshing and welcome during such a long stage. Possibly the longest Enduro stage in the world currently. Pro woman 3rd place winner gets wet.

The Monarch Crest Enduro is limited to 75 racers to maintain the flow and vibe of the event. "Compared to bigger events, this has a smaller, yet more rugged feel and the vibe is all about the racers. Short wait times, lots of food and beer for everyone, pro or bro, everyone gets treated the same," said Roxanne Feagen, Masters Women 40+ (Omaha, Nebraska).

Challenging transitions will be in store, especially on Day 2 with over an hour hike a bike to the start of the stage. However, racers will be rewarded with ripping singletrack descents, and buffet dinners included in race registration, Thursday - Sunday evenings.

5th place finisher Flynn George digs in deep to the tacky soil and pushes hard to pick up time working towards the top spot.

"Canyon Creek is a long, demoralizing climb that ends in an hour hike-a-bike. For me, it is a trail whose climb makes me question what I am doing and whose descent reminds me of why I ride. It's remote, it's beautiful, and the stage begins on top of a mountain at 12,600 feet," said Tara Reddinger-Adams, Amateur Women 19-39 (Woodbury, MN). "It's a wonderfully fast that requires your full attention as you sail along the creek and through rocks and roots. It's a great ride, get out and discover it for yourself."

With a half moon on the horizon riders approached the summit. It was hard to set your mind on if you should wear an extra layer due to having hard nipples or keep it off due to wet armpits. Quote from Nate Hills

Starvation Creek, Greens Creek and Fooses Creek are just a few of the off-shoots of the Monarch Crest that will be raced on. All courses, maps and descriptions are defined in advanced on www.chocolatebunnyproductions.com.

A smile of being stoked from the trail or finishing the 5 stage Monarch Crest Enduro either way both impressive.

"I pity the fool who passes up the chance to race the MCE. Not only do you get to experience THE quintessential epic singltrack descents in all time conditions, but you get to do it fully supported, with Keith Darner making you trailside bacon," said Leigh Bowe, Pro Women (Juliana).

Registration is now live on www.imathlete.com. Pros are in for $525, vying for a piece of the $4400 Pro Purse. Amateur registration is $475 and includes start position in all five stages, buffet dinner each night, breakfast burrito and coffee each race morning, event schwag, four shuttle rides to the Continental Divide, all the beer you can drink and bacon you can eat.

Race curator Keith Darner styles everyone out with some much needed bacon during the long transfer stage.

For more details on registration, and the cancellation, refund and transfer policies designed to make signing up a breeze, visit chocolatebunnyproductions.com. For more information, contact keith@chocolatebunnyproductions.com or 719-221-1251.

All photos and captions courtesy of Seth Beckton. Check out @SethBeckton on Instagram.

About Chocolate Bunny Productions
Based out of Durango, Colo., Chocolate Bunny Productions stems from over 30 years in the mountain bike industry, and 15 years in race promotion. Chocolate Bunny Productions’ mission is to create events that are both fun and memorable. For a full list of credentials visit www.chocolatebunnyproductions.com.

First Annual Monarch Crest Enduro Returns with Colorado s Best High Country Riding


  • + 10
 Ahh the crest... high altitude singletrack at its finest.
  • + 4
 Fork me!! Almost 500 bucks!! Who does these things?!?!
  • + 6
 Dinks...that's who! I realize that these events are very expensive to put on but you can do 2 BME races for 1 of these. But then again by looking at the bikes and trendy florescent gear worn by the riders they probably don't have an issue paying this.
  • + 4
 I raced it last year, and I'm racing it again this year. Yeah, the admission price isn't cheap, but it gets you a closed course with medical support on some of the best trails in CO, a bunch of shuttle rides, breakfast, dinner, beer for 3 days.
And, unlike some other Enduro races, it's limited to a reasonable number of people (small wait times at stage starts), and actually has some thought put into the whole organization.
If you don't want to pay that to participate, then don't. But, there's quite a bit that goes into this, and it's cheaper than a lot of silly shit that people spend on their bikes.
  • + 5
 Mmm.... trail pork...
  • + 1
 Still surprised BME never hosts a race on those trails. Not that this event is bad by any means but it's surprising. Such varying terrain whereas most of their races are in areas with all similar terrain.
  • + 4
 This even sounds like the definition of Big Mountain Enduro to me.
  • + 4
 No chairlifts.
  • + 0
 @elchivoloco: the Sante fe stop that just happened had no chairlifts. Your point?
  • + 3
 @andnyleswillriot: You're right, my bad. Must have been thinking about the stops at Keystone, Snowmass, and Winter Park last year, and Keystone, Aspen, Steamboat, and Crested Butte this year that are all predominately lift-served. You're right about Santa Fe. Guess the exception that proves the rule.
  • + 5
 Personally, I would not want to see an event as big as BME on these trails. They're narrow singletrack, and the above tree-line sections are especially fragile. Plus I think there is some rule that makes groups of more than 75 people more difficult on national forest land. I'm guessing that's why they chose that cutoff.
  • + 1
 @dthomp325: touché.
  • + 1
 I think it's a fair bit harder to host a race on/around Monarch Crest than saying "hmmm, yeah, Monarch, that should be on the schedule, bro".
Rumor has it that Keith was working on it for a long time before getting all of the permission to host the first event.
  • + 4
 Someone buy me a ticket
  • + 3
 Soooo how can something that's "first annual" be "returning?"
  • - 1
 Confused the hell out of me too.
  • + 6
 The first event held is the inaugural, the second is the first annual. It doesn't make any sense to me, either, but that's how it goes.
  • + 0
 Thanks for the prefect explination!
  • + 1
 Breakfast burritos, Beer, Bacon, Buffets, and Bikes. This endure brought to you bythe letter "B". Oh wait, it is Colorado, better add Buds to that list
  • + 1
 There is a pretty amazing cancellation policy to address the possibility of cancellation due to weather! Check out the details at www.chocolatebunnyproductions.com
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