The Swiss Epic starts on September 15th – now just days away! The announcement in 2013 was eagerly greeted by mountain bikers around the globe, as those who have been know the quality of the singletrack that Swizterland offers. The trails aren’t purpose built bikepark boulevards, but instead they are narrow, well made walking trails with natural features in a stunning landscape.
The Swiss Epic runs for 6 days in the Valais canton in the west of Switzerland. Starting in the ski resort of Verbier is apt, as Verbier is also the start of one of the longest running marathon races in the world, the Grand Raid. The Prologue will take place with the Grand Combin massif as a backdrop. Verbier has an extensive trail network of singletrack above the village, from narrow trails over roots in the trees, to broad sweeping turns above the treeline.
The first long stage leaves Verbier, travelling over a mountain pass and down to the Rhone valley, through Roman wine country and eventually climbing to Leukerbad. The route continues the following day, climbing ever higher over the Daubenhorn, until all rides will be off and pushing. The descent will be worth it, with an epic ride down old rooty trails back into the Rhone valley.
Stage 3 leads riders from Leukerbad and into the Matter valley. Old trails, high villages and more quality trails lie waiting for the 300 teams. And what a collection of teams! With Christophe Sauser teaming up with Jaroslav Kulhavy, Urs Huber with Karl Platt, Nino Schurter riding with Florian Vogel, Ariane Kleinhans racing with Annika Langvad… the field is amazing! Possibly one of the deepest fields for a stage race outside of the Cape Epic. MarathonMTB.com will be represented by Stu Spies who will be racing with Matt Page.
Stage 4 starts and finishes in Grachen, an easy logistics day for the race and crew, and a gift for the riders that has the longest downhill of the race – 12km of flowing trail down into the valley. Of course, they need to get back out again too.
Stage 5 takes riders up the Matter valley and to the showpiece of Switzerland. Not a giant watch, but the Matterhorn. The final stage will reward riders for the previous days hard work, finishing in the alpine town under the glorious Matterhorn.
We will have daily updates from Matt and Stu throughout the race, make sure you keep an eye on the progress of the event and be ready to lock this one in for next year. There is a full list of entrants on the event website.