The wind was howling at the top of Imperial…

That isn’t unusual for Breckenridge Ski Resort.  AKA “Breckenfridge,” but the weather doesn’t faze most of these racers. It’s just part of it.  April in Colorado can have a range of weather from sunny & Blue Bird skies to dumping snow and commonly,  the day AFTER the ski resort closes.

The Imperial Challenge is one of the oldest pseudo Triathlons in Colorado.  For 22 years, racers bike from town to the Base of Peak 8 and then transition into their  choice of uphill gear to hike up Peak 8 to the very top of Imperial (top of Peak 8). Then they ski or ride down to the bottom to the finish line & party. Bike.Hike.Ski.

For the 2013 Imperial Challenge, presented by Mountain Outfitters & Sponsored by Honey Stinger, the skies were blue with some slight clouds moving, temps ranged from high 20s to windchills of below zero at the top. Racers started on their bikes at the Breckenridge Recreation Center just after 10am.  Some entered the race in the “Retro” category.  A new category in 2013 in honor of the “Old School” racers who have raced the entire race, bike-leg included, in their ski gear.  Sounds hard! It is! But these racers have a sense of humor and most don’t take themselves too seriously.

Of course, there are some serious competitors who spend most of the winter skinning up the ski area partly for fun, but also for race events. The winners finish in less then 2 hours! This years overall winners:

Male Winner : Greg Ruckman 1:21:49 (3rd year in a row!)

Female Winner: Eva Hagen 1:41:04

View all the Results.

Thinking about racing, but feeling a little pressure? DON’T!  Jeff Westcott of Maverick Sports Promotions and Sandy Metzger work hard to make this event more about having fun then competition.  The field of racers is mixed & relaxed. Racers include new Moms getting back into shape, friends with a common goal, new mountain residents just getting involved, tourists with no clue, long time locals who love the challenge and even families!  You will see racers in dresses, tutus, spandex and business suits. Take a “peak” at this short video.  Don’t forget about the after Party – always a good time.  See you next year. Enjoy the Climb!