Tentative Schedule

Okay, here it is, our 2014 schedule (tentative) go ahead and let us hear it.  It IS tentative so if there is a public outrage over the streamlined FTR series, the omission of Gran Fondo Winthrop or the fact that we have a conflicting date with your “A” priority race or your mommas birthday, let us know.  It is still early and we could potentially change things if the people want.  We are here to please.

Gran Fondo-
March 16 Ephrata
April 13 TBA
June 1  Leavenworth
June 22 Ellensburg

Fat Tire Revolution-
March 29 Beezley Burn
April 26 Beacon and Legs
May 17 TBA
June 7 Bike and Brews
June 28 Greenwater

What do we think about it?  Well since you asked, we have streamlined the FTR series in an effort to make it a little more accessible.  Our numbers were down a bit this year and we’re thinking maybe it was a bit much with 11 races, tough for folks to commit to that.  So we are hopeful that 2014 will be better.  In my personal opinion I’m bummed to do this. I love mtb racing.  I feel like a solid series should have at least 6-8 races.  But a solid series should also be attracting more than 100 participants on average so maybe the answer isn’t to just keep pumping out more races.  On the Gran Fondo side of things we’re up to four for 2014.  Our “road less traveled” theme continues.  I have been loving these rides and feel like this is what the bicycle was made for.  Experiencing new places off the beaten path, miles away.

Beezley is a month earlier than normal, because we can.  Early season mtb race venues are hard to find, and the Beez is in great shape in March.  Beacon was awesome this year easily my favorite course, so we’re excited to be back on April 26.  May 17 hmm still working on that one.  Bike and Brew is on the schedule for June 7.  Not exactly sure what it will look like this year, but I am sure it will be a good time as always.  We will be at Greenwater on June 28 for our final.  Beautiful area with a ton of fun riding.

Gran Fondo Ephrata will stay in mid March.  That is a good time for it.  I love the fact that the weather is so unpredictable, that’s half the challenge.  We have April 12 set aside for a yet to be announce GF.  Have a ton of options, but haven’t settled on one.  Leavenworth is on May 31, and yes I know it’s the same date as NWE Echo, that sucks, but May is busy.  Not sure how to get around that other then just bail on May altogether.  Then on June 21 we are planning to be in Ellensburg for what should finish our season with a bang.

70 thoughts on “Tentative Schedule

  1. Jake,
    I concur with your personal assertion that a solid series should have at least 6 – 8 races as it evens things out. ‘Cause you know how sometimes those Fischer Plumbing guys have a lucky race or two… So I’m an advocate of the ‘more is better’ school of though but then allowing people to drop some races to remove the necessity of having to attend all 8 or 10 rounds.

    Bring back Watt Canyon and Roslyn! Those are awesome courses that enhance the series so I hereby plead that they be re-instated. I would love to see the Sun Mountain course in Winthrop brought back too. How about a Saturday / Sunday Sun Mountain / Loup Loup double header cross country weekend? That alone would practically assure your election to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. A five race series is far too short. It needs to be at least double that – in my humble opinion anyway.

    Love the Gran Fondos, wouldn’t change a thing about them.

    Appreciate all the effort that you and Karen and Brooklynne put into these events.


    1. I knew YOU would agree that FTR needs to be bigger Brig, you’re one of the few crazy enough to do every single one! A Sun Mtn/Loup double header would be killer, food for thought. Thanks for the input.

    2. Agree, I’m jus getting into this sport(p.s. everyone was great and helpful last year) and Roslyn and J.Watt are in my backyard(Cle Elum) I’m one of those guys who has to pick and choose my dates as i also shoot competitive archery. So more is better. And thanks again to those who helped me get pointed in the right direction last summer…

  2. Totally bummed not seeing Winthrop Gran Fondo on the slate. That was just silly epic! Though that was my only participation of the Vicious venues last year, I’m hooked and will be at the start line for all the Gran Fondos and maybe mix it up a bit in the Mtn series as well. Take care


    1. GFW was one of my faves, but I was concerned we took it a bit too far with that one. Plus it’s one one of those that is tough to nail for weather, too early and it’s snowed in, too late and it’s hot. We lucked out this year, a week earlier or later would’ve been in the 90’s! But you never know, it could still find it’s way back onto the schedule…

  3. Jake,

    How about doing the GF Leavenworth on Sunday the 1st? This way the true sickos (I mean die-hards) can do both…

    I am with Brig, Watt and Roslyn should be included. Make them on the same weekend (they are close enough, people can camp or stay in Ellensburg). Only require/count the best 5 races if you want, but please please offer more than 5 races…

      1. Heard rumor that the Roslyn course is getting a face lift just for you. They are putting in some switch backs on the brutal climb. It would be a shame to not include this course in your series.

  4. Hmm…kinda stinks that Beezley is in March. Same weekend as the Gorge Roubaix in the Dalles. Oh well…decisions decisions…otherwise I like the opportunities!! I will be at GFEphrata

    Thanks for putting these events on Jake!

  5. So appreciate all your hard work as well as Karen’s and Brooklyn’s. Info now really helpful, and it’s so cool how open to feedback you are. Last year was a blast for me returning to xc racing thanks to you. No matter what you settle on, totally understand your doing less races. Thank goodness you’re back for more, I hope this works. Only conflict I notice as fyi is 5/18 is a kinda popular bud race on Whidbey but not part of their series. I liked Roslyn, not Watt so much b/c of hidden waterbar hazards, but like Eric’s combo idea.

  6. Jake,
    First let me say if my schedule wasn’t the toughest I’ve had in years I would attend every single venue you put out. The races have been awesome and I tell every single rider in the area they need to experience this. Secondly, why no Chelan? Paul Willard has major improvement plans on the echo system including more tech and single track. It would be a shame to overlook the thought and hard work he has put into it. I concur with the above statement on sun mountain and Loup Loup. Those are two great sites. It also may help getting more newbies involved. Once you start its addictive!

    1. We are super excited with what’s happening at Echo! I don’t believe any of the new stuff would be ready for us this year, but really the catch for us was traditionally we are at Echo in mid May, now NWEpic 30/60 moved into May. I think two races there so close it just is too much. And yes, we desperately need to get newbies involved, suggestions?

  7. I vote for more mtb/enduro races. My work schedule varies a lot (and my boss has this weird notion that work takes priority over riding bikes in the woods) so I wasn’t able to make as many races as I would have liked, but I enjoyed the hell out of what I could make. Have you thought about a sprint/XC/DH combination on the Roslyn/Ratpac trails?

      1. Not lame, just deprived! Ratpac and Kachess ridge should be be on any mountain bikers to-do list if they like great singletrack. Let me know if you are in the area and I can give you the proper tour.

  8. Thanks for doing the FTR series Jake. More is better for me and we are planning on being at all the MTB races this year…but I get the reduction. Your events are “real” xc mountain bike races and I love them. Would love to see Roslyn and Watt back in the mix.

  9. +1 (+2?) on adding Roslyn and Watt Canyon back into the schedule. I think a double-header would be epic! At least bring back Roslyn. If it helps, you can let the Chamber of Commerce know that we turned the race weekend into a family mini-vacation. Dropped at least $2K into the local economy.

  10. Would LOVE to see the Winthrop GF brought back this year. Was really looking forward to trying it. Also, the late-season dates help us old fat guys have a few more months to get back in shape, rather than front-loading all the Fondo’s early-season.

  11. Hey Jake,
    First off, thanks for putting on your series. I like that Beezley is earlier this year. For us westsiders it is nice to get some dry weather early in spring. For the 5/17 TBA race, I agree with Jen. The Cookin in the Kettles race on Whidbey Island is the only BUDU race I put on my calendar as a for sure race. It would be a tough decision on what to pick if you had a race 5/18. Also, with 2 NW Epic series races and the 24 hour race in May the calendar is getting pretty crowded.

    I also would like to in the future race again at Sun Mountain. An old School Black Bear, Patterson Lake WIM series circa 2000 course there would be awesome.

  12. I’m your newbie target market poster kid. Just got into biking this year, but missed the GFW due to lack of a proper bike. Friends did GFL & GFW and raved. Now have the bike, but looks like no GFW, which is a bummer since wife was already sold on the plan as a mini-vacation to the Methow area. I’ll do as many of these as possible, but would love to see a Winthrop option back in there.

    On the other hand never having done 10K vertical or a fondo potentially that ride would result in my death which wouldn’t foster family aspirations either.

    1. Awesome to hear your new to cycling a digging it! So many great rides to do out there. However I would not recommend GFL or GFW to a beginner. These rides are stupid hard and have crushed many experienced cyclists. Get yourself a taste of these by breaking them up into smaller pieces or find something similar you can get feel for and then start to build. I want to get people stoked riding there bikes, not destroy them in one ride never to ride again.

  13. Is the TBA GF gravel as well?

    GFW was great, but I totally get why you might pull that one. It would have been brutal on a hot day. Honestly, I think GFL was more brutal in some ways.

    Re XC, personally I don’t do many of this type any more, as using a weekend up for the limited riding and lap courses just isn’t as appealing. Single loop, epic routes are where it’s at.

    1. Gravel is the new road. Yes Anthony, whatever we come up with it will be gravel. GFW wasn’t exactly ideal weather this year but still waaaay better than 94 like it was one week earlier. That had me worried.

      1. Yes it does seem to be, which is funny, because back in the mid 90s my brother and I talked about how we could put on road races on the logging roads by my parents house (http://www.strava.com/activities/97980654) and have great scenery, challenging courses, and no cars.

        Glad to see them getting more popular. GFE is probably my all time favorite event.

  14. Thanks for putting on the best race series. I had heard rumors of dropping to five races so I had been trying to predict which races you would have. I’m happily surprised to see Greenwater on the list. I’m very pleased to see Spokane make the cut as well. I’m sad to see Echo Valley and Roslyn off the list though. Watt Canyon was a blast as well. Loup Loup is fun, but a long haul that never attracted many racers so I get that one. I’m in the “more the merrier” camp and will be at every race you put on. So, if you end up adding more, I’d be all for it. What about the short track double headers? Those were a blast!

    1. Yeah, the short track/double headers were a lot of fun. As a racer I’m always glad to get two races for the price of one travel. Unfortunately our double headers didn’t do so well this year.

  15. I’m out scouting west side gravel right now! You saved that April 12th date for me? You move way faster on this planning business than I can, Jake. I just got the 29er adventure bike built in Oct. as soon as I could get my hands on the SRAM hydros. So now I’m slaying all the trail & logging roads I can, but my CX series still has 2 more races this season! I do have a day off coming up, though…

  16. Jake,
    Great series last year. Thank you for everything.

    FTR Input:

    Beazly burn, always looking forward to leaving the wet westside to a sunny dry course

    Beacon and Legs, good course, quite a drive.

    Bike and Brews, classic.

    Greenwater, fun course, never ridden in this area before. went back and rode noble nob and the palisades. next year suntop

    Watt canyon was one of my favorite races. Will go back just to ride.
    Short track at one of the events, roslyn was a blast, spectator friendly . Another short track option, maybe greenwater

    Echo valley, on the same page as you, one is enough

    Gran fondos:

    GF Ephrata, havent done it, looking forward to it

    GF Leavenworth, this was my first gran fondo. NWE sat GFL sun, I would be up for that, but push comes to shove I will be at GFL

    GF Ellensburg, I look forward to riding in an area I have never been to.

    GF Winthrop, this ride is an experience, it is special because the elevation(snow needs to melt), the remoteness. I would never do this ride without the support. The spectacular views that very few people get to see and the challenge itself.


      1. What would really be sick is if you contacted NW Epic and did a cross promotion. Anyone who does both gets a special edition t-shirt. I know they do this for those that do Leadville/Breck Epic back to back. (And they are a whole week apart, pansies…) I’m sure if it’s listed on both your websites as such you will get more people than you think doing it…

  17. I could not do as many races as I wanted to last year. I discovered you late. I did have a great weekend at Beacon and I also ran Bloomsday. Great training weekend for us Xterra racers. Thanks for the races

  18. Another vote for Roslyn…love the course and the town! And super excited to see the possibility of a GF Ellensburg! Thanks for all your hard work, you put on great events!

  19. What ever you pick will be great, some thing tells me that I can be talked into most any and all of them. Thumbs up on no more GFW, I still have bad dreams about hail and fighting cows for shelter.

  20. Winthrop Gran Fondo this year was epic. It would be a shame not do repeat next year. As a race director I know that the first year is the hardest to organize so half the work is done for next year!

  21. Here is a suggestion for the TBA May 17th race. Do it in Spokane at riverside. This is the weekend before the Round and Round 24 hour race. They will already have the race course set up for you, and everyone will want to pre-ride it anyway. This would also be a good cross promotion opportunity, as you can hype the 24 hour race, and all those doing the 24hour race can hype the FTR series. Give round and round a call!

  22. Jake, I think the best races not listed on the site are Chainsmoker and Roslyn Rush. Who doesn’t like grueling uphill?

  23. GFW was epic.. already was planning on doing it again, its a shame to not have it included. As for the heat issue, I welcome it! to many races early in the year leaves the best part of the year in the NW vacant of races until cross season.

    love the events and support!

    1. Man you guys are killing me on the whole GFW thing… If we were to do it again I would want to push it back a few weeks from where it was this year. You say you welcome the heat, but I’m telling you, if it was a sunny 90+ degree day people would be dropping like flys! Not to mention that everyone has cx on the mind that time of year and 80 miles in the mtns isn’t exactly conducive to cross.

      I agree, it feels like we’re missing a lot my doing everything earlier this year, but history shows that our numbers tank after June. Whats up with that?!

  24. As much as I hate rain, I’m not too into heat. GFW was epic, and I’m glad I did it. Even last year I had intended to stay home if temps were high.

    I think the best solution is to push it back as you suggest, and then get cross promoters to get their events out of late summer and back to fall where they belong.

  25. Jake as a local VC rider I see the effort and toll these series take on you and your family and I applaud all that you do. I say put on as many races as you can handle without burning out. I am digging the Fondo or RLT theme and I am glad to see positive feedback. I hope others are spreading the word so these events can grow it takes a lot of effort and money to put on a Fondo and it takes more than the 30 to 40 entry average to support these events.

  26. While not part of your series, here’s an event which many of your riders may find of interest: Gran Fondo Kootenai, located in Libby, Montana, is a two-day “stage” fondo and takes in some fantastic roads and spectacular scenery in the remote northwest corner of Montana.

    Now in its third year, the event is seeing more and more participants from Washington, Idaho and Canada (it’s actually much closer to Spokane/CdA/etc. than most of Montana…). For additional details and to check out what all the excitement is about, see our updated website at: http://www.gfkootenai.com

      1. Or…for a sublime additional challenge, consider adding Gran Fondo Kootenai to the Vicious series.

        We’re less than three hours from Spokane, offer two great courses (featuring honest, Euro-style climbs and descents amidst spectacular scenery), boast excellent full support (including hauling all your overnight gear), and no cars. Check us out: http://www.gfkootnenai.com

  27. Jake, you do a great job and I love your races but no Sunday mtn. bike races? For the bike shop guys Saturday races are tough.I did’nt get to do any of your races last year for this reason. Every mountain bike race in Washington is on a Saturday. Love your series, just something to think about. Thanks.

  28. Hi Jake,

    Is the May 17th “TBA” location looking like it will be Echo Valley? I hope so! Would love to see this one on the schedule.

    Great job in 2013. Looking forward to 2014.


    1. The catch with Echo is the NWEpic Series moved their Echo race to May 31. I feel like it would be too much of a good thing to have two races there in the same month. We are shooting for Roslyn on May 17.

  29. Even in a series with only 5 races inevitably everyone will miss at least one race – kids, wedding, sick, etc. Are you planning on best 4 out of 5? Would you consider doing a double at Watt/Roslyn to get one more race into the series and make it best 5 out of 6?

    1. Agree. It’s tough to make every race. We will have at min best 4 of 5. Maybe as simple as all races count, no minimum. Considering a Roslyn xc/enduro on the weekend of May 17-18…

  30. Jake, thanks for promoting races – it can be a thankless jobs at times – so thanks in advance. Count me as another vote for GFW – I was in Chelan/Methow that weekend but found out about the race the day before the event. I have it as an “A” ride/race this year if it happens – and like someone else mentioned, as an ‘old’ guy in my 40’s – I like having all summer to train for a tough event in August – hope it works out – and re: water and heat, I’d say load up on camel baks and hydration systems and go for it. I’m training now for GFE in March as the off-road/gravel long-distance rides are right in my sweet spot – see you soon.

    1. Soon! Actually it pretty much is final. I’m always scared to make any promises especially with permits pending. But so far it looks good. In fact we should be getting the web page updated any day now.

  31. Another vote for the new “Hell of the North” WGF. Last year it was sick cruel and somehow that’s what made it “fun”. At least one event in the Methow Valley? Thanks for all you all do, looking forward to this coming season.

  32. Looks like fun – Happy to see events on Saturday as Sunday is not an option. Wanted to race last year when I noticed the change to Saturday, but life got in the way. I am putting it in the schedule for this year.

  33. Jake,
    If you’re still looking for something for April 13, I know a place with endless brutal gravel roads, easy permitting, and a solid group of stupid strong riders who would love to show off their back yard.

  34. My 2 cents: Huge fan of the series, glad to see it is still alive, was scared what would happen this year after the low turnout at last years races. BuDu does get a decent turnout and even though this proposed schedule avoids the 3/30 Soaring Eagle and 5/18 Henry’s Ridge races by 1 day, there may be fewer people willing to do a double header weekend, may get better turnout by going with an open weekend. Good job avoiding the NW Epic weekends!

    1. Thanks Chris. You’re right, BuDu does great, what’s the secret there. My theory is that they are local and super easy for folks to get to. Our races take a bit more planning and commitment. They get started so early in the year and everyone gets their mtb fix, by the time the real mtb season is here (late spring -early summer) everyone is burned out and thinking about cx. But, I’m off on and entirely different subject now… Scheduling is always tough. It’s not only FTR but also our Gran Fondo rides to consider. Not to mention races that I want to participate in! There are a lot of events on the calendar, so there is always going to be some overlap. I try to avoid it as much as possible and minimize the damage when I can’t avoid it. But I agree with what your saying, any weekend I’m on a BuDu race, westsiders will likely choose to travel 30 min instead of 3 hrs. My response to that is MOUNTAIN bikes races belong in the MOUNTAINS! (Note Rory and Deanna have been great to me and I have nothing against them. They do a great job, I usually try to hit a few of their races myself.)

  35. Here is another vote for Winthrop. Very challenging but overall fun times! I am going to try and do some of your other rides this year, but would love to see Winthrop back on the schedule. We don’t seem to be getting any snow this year so maybe it could be earlier…

  36. Jake, I see some dates have changed. The GF Leavenworth and NW EPIC Chelan are not on the same weekend anymore…??? What happened, you guys couldn’t get the special t-shirts for those doing the double made in time???

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