Get ready for a royal thigh workout at today's thirteenth annual Imperial Challenge adventure competition, held in Breckenridge. The contest begins with a 6.2-mile mountain-bike ride on unpaved roads to the base of Breckenridge Ski Resort's Peak 8, followed by a 2,998-foot ascent of the Claimjumper run using non-motorized equipment (snowshoes, Telemark skis or alpine touring gear qualify), and ends with a descent along Whale's Tail and Vertigo, ungroomed double-black-diamond runs.
"It's a fairly strenuous race by mainstream standards, but for those who live up in the mountains or enjoy an active lifestyle, it's always an enjoyable day," says Chris Kulick of Breckenridge's Great Adventure Sports, the event's sponsor. "The ascent to the top of Peak 8 is where people get creative; that is definitely where the race is won or lost."
The Challenge benefits the U.S. Disabled Ski Team; the registration fee is $30 per person in advance or $50 at the contest. Three-person teams can also compete for $90 and must register in advance.
"The snow is pretty stellar right now," promises Kulick.
The brave and foolish will leave at 10 a.m. from the Breckenridge Recreation Center, 880 Airport Road; competitors must cross the finish line by 12:30 p.m. A post-race party and awards ceremony will rock the center starting at 1 p.m.
Migration Celebration focuses on feathered friends
Learn more about the long-distance travels of raptors and other birds at today's Migration Celebration at Matthews/ Winters Park, an area that's part of the Jefferson County Open Space program. "This is a tremendous place to see birds," says Chris Barth, interpretive specialist at Lookout Mountain Nature Center, sponsor of the free event. "The really special thing about this part of Jefferson County is the Dakota Hogback, which creates a thermal updraft of warm air. It's like a highway for the birds; they can just cruise along."
Open to everyone age two or older, the educational outing takes place today from noon to 3 p.m. at the park, which is next to Red Rocks, off Highway 26 just south of I-70.
"The whole goal is to educate the public about why the birds are moving and how to identify the different species," says Barth. "It's enjoyable for both novices and bird lovers."