It’s May and it’s Eagle and it’s time to celebrate both in a really big way when the Eagle Outside Festival and Expo comes to town.
Now in its sixth year, the event is gaining traction and working toward the mission of letting everyone know that Eagle is the next great mountain town.
“Eagle’s biggest problem is there is so much around here it’s hard for a visitor to get his head around it. Our event helps with that,” said Eagle Outside promoter Mike McCormack.
From kids strider races to challenging mountain bike competitions to a trail running contest, the Eagle Outside Festival offers something for all ages. Additionally, the expo part of the event gives novice and expert riders alike chance to demo gear and shop for accessories. Last weekend’s snowstorm not withstanding, the festival should herald spring conditions in the Colorado high country.
“It’s the mountains, above 6,000 feet in altitude, so we are always concerned about the weather,” said McCormack. “But Eagle is the banana belt. That is one of the things we want to promote. Spring starts earlier and fall lasts later here. The festival is a great showcase of Eagle”
Here’s a rundown of what’s on tap for the 2014 Eagle Outside Festival and Expo:
Visitors and locals alike can converge at Bonfire Brewing Company at 6 p.m. Friday, May 16 for the official Eagle Outside Festival Welcome Party.
“The Bonfire guys always do a great job of welcoming people to town,” said McCormack.
Live music will start at 6:30 p.m. and each party go’er will receive a free beer if he or she arrives via bicycle.
Not surprisingly, considering the word is part of the event name, the outside expo is one of the big draws on this weekend’s schedule.
“This is one of the busiest bike demos in the high country,” said McCormack. “People are in bike-shopping mode right now.”
The expo will feature dozens of brands and reps from the bike and outdoor industries available for demo at no charge. Look for Ibis, Niner, Intense, Rocky Mountain Felt, Yeti, Giant, Twenty 2 and more.
Attendees can check in at demo headquarters to sign a waiver and grab a wristband. They will receive maps featuring several hourlong rides, grouped by difficultly, that are easily accessible from the event venue. With wristband on and maps in hand participants can then head to the demo rigs and spend the weekend spinning on the latest and greatest the bike biz has to offer.
Demo hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 17 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.on Sunday, May 18. . Wristbands and waivers are available at Mountain Bike Eagle tent and at race registration.
Along with the bike manufacturers, the expo features accessory options, clothing and more. In particular prAna will be offering a 50 percent of sample sale during the expo.
All of the expo action happens in the Eagle Ranch Village core.
La Sportiva Boneyard Boogie
While the Eagle Outside Festival has a lot of bike events at its core, trail runners are also represented with the Boneyard Boogie.
The Boneyard Boogie is part of the La Sportiva Vail Mountain Trail Running Race Series presented by The North Face. The 11K trail race starts at the bottom of Bellyache Road and finishes at the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink facility. The event gets under way at 9 a.m.
Racers can register at the www.eagleoutside.com website. Preregistration cost is $30 and registration on race day is $40. Day-of registration is open from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at Eagle Pool and Ice Rink and from 7:30-9 a.m. at the ball fields parking lot. Racers cannot register for the Boneyard Boogie at Eagle Outside Festival event packet pickup.
The event after party will be at The Dusty Boot, Eagle Ranch at 11 a.m. and will include awards, a raffle and light brunch items. The after party is open to all Boneyard Boogie race participants. East West Resorts and Eagle Ranch Fitness Center are teaming up to provide a $150 cash prize to the fastest male and female runners.
FirstBank Firebird 40 MTB Race
“I think the Firebird creatively uses every inch of terrain in the Eagle open space system,” said McCormack. “It’s really, really fun riding.”
Issues involving backcountry permitting prompted the creativity McCormack referenced, but he maintains the changes haven’t harmed the event.
“You see,our “B” course is better than most people’s “A” course. And one of the things we noticed last year during our pre and post-ride inspections was that it had very different personalities when ridden in opposite directions,” notes the event website.
The schedule for the Firebird races is:
4cyl Turbo (short) course: 10 a.m.
Small Block V8 (medium) course: 11 a.m.
4-Barrel Carb (long) course: 1:30 p.m.
All starts take place in front of registration at the Addison Building in Eagle Ranch Village. All race finishes are at Arroyo Gulch Trailhead
Howard Head Sports Medicine Fun Run
This 5K fun run/ride/walk showcases the paved path system around Eagle Ranch. Each entrant receives a commemorative T-shirt and the event is a fund-raiser for the Think First – Head Injury and Trauma Prevention initiative. Registration is on site.
The fun run is slated for Sunday, May 18 at 10:30 a.m. The start, finish and awards ceremony will be in front of The Dusty Boot. Runners are welcome to participate with their leashed (and well-behaved) pets.
Fees — pregistration/day of
Adult Men 18 plus — $20/$25
Adult Women 18 plus — $20/$25
Junior Boys 17 and under — $15/$20
Junior Girls 17 and under — $15/$20
Bike/Strider — $15/$20
Chro-Moly Chef Competition
For those who enjoy reality television shows that force competitors to cook, sew or design something from random ingredients, the Chro-Moly Chef Competition is the festivals don’t miss event.
“It’s a Frankenbike competition,” said McCormack.
In the months leading to the event, Jon and Joel Cummins scour flea markets and swap meets to compile a horde of bike parts. When the event weekend rolls around, select teams from bike shops and brands across Colorado are presented with said parts and then given 90 minutes to construct a working cycle. When the bikes are built, it’s race time. Winning the race is just one component of victory. Each bike is judged by a panel of judges that grade each bike on construction, originality, race worthiness/results and aesthetics.
The event begins at 2 p.m. and Bonfire Brewing Company is the sponsor.
Lo-Fi Chainless DH
Going downhill is always more fun that going uphill when biking. This event celebrates that axiom.
Participants in the Lo-Fi Chainless DH will trek to the top of Mayer Gulch and either remove their bike chain or have it zip-tied so its inoperable. Then they head downhill.
“It’s an almost 100 percent roll from top to bottom,” said McCormack.
The event cost is $20 but the first 50 people to register will receive a complimentary Shram chain. Custom LoFi StreetSwell longboards will be presented to the top male and not-male finisher.
The event is a fund-raiser for the Eagle Valley Humane Society. To register or for more information visit www.eagleoutsidefestival.com