10 reasons why you need to ride the SPAR Swiss Epic
The SPAR Swiss Epic is Europe’s premium mountain bike stage race that promises some of the most exhilarating singletracks in the world. Staged over five days and boasting some of the most amazing scenery imaginable, riders will traverse an easy-to-navigate yet challenging route. Interested? Thought so. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from the 2023 SPAR Swiss Epic and how it's come to be the spectacle it is.
Founded in 2014 and held annually in the Graubunden region of Switzerland, the SPAR Swiss Epic is a full-service mountain bike stage race that includes accommodation, luggage transfer, race support, massage, on-course tech support, all meals and nutrition, and branded race swag from CIOVITA.
Like all four events that comprise the Epic Series Legend races - the Absa Cape Epic, 4Islands MTB Croatia and Andorra Epic - the SPAR Swiss Epic is a unique test of endurance, skill and mettle that plays out amid a stunning backdrop of the snow-capped Swiss Alps. Each team - made up of top professionals and amateurs alike - will ride, race and recover in the same setting making for a truly immersive on-and off-bike experience. Highlights include an overnight double room, free beer and coffee, and mouth-watering cuisine in each race village of Lenzerheide, St. Moritz and Davos.
In terms of terrain, the SPAR Swiss Epic boasts one of the most rewarding routes of the Epic Series with 350km and 11,700m of elevation gain on offer - but it’s the descents that keep bringing riders back for more. All-in-all, riders will descend 11,700m - yes, you read that correctly - of Graubünden’s diverse and world-famous trails, in Lenzerheide, St. Moritz and Davos before claiming their hard-earned finisher medal. Think flow trails, jump lines, forested switchbacks, natural rock gardens, and open mountain roads with views that’ll have you questioning your very own eyes.
Teamwork and camaraderie
One of the most rewarding aspects of any Epic Series event is the two-person team dynamic. Riders must traverse the route in its entirety in pairs, which adds a unique dimension to the riding experience. You’re only as strong as your partner which means you’ll need to manage your effort and practise your teamwork. It’s a special journey and many great friendships have been forged through the stage-racing partnership at the SPAR Swiss Epic.
Challenging climbs and exhilarating descents
The SPAR Swiss Epic is world-renowned for its climbs, most of which are long, tough and demanding but also exceptionally rewarding in terms of views and vistas. The climbing on offer is varied and takes in long, gravel mountain passes, switchback singletracks and ancient footpaths - it’s a truly magical experience. Of course, what goes up must come down and the descents more than make up for the hard graft of getting to the top. The descents are as varied as the climbs and feature fast, flowing rollercoaster-like downhills, challenging technical sections and mind-blowing flow trails, some of which even take in the Lenzerheide UCI MTB World Cup course.
Qualify for the Absa Cape Epic
The Absa Cape Epic is the Pinnacle of the Epic Series and entries for The Untamed African MTB Race are hard to come by for obvious reasons. As an Epic Series Qualifier event, the SPAR Swiss Epic has 15 qualification slots available for the Absa Cape Epic. These slots are offered via performance (10 slots) or a draw allocation (5 slots). Riders who want to qualify for the Absa Cape Epic can register their interest during the online registration process. It’s as simple as that.
All-inclusive package: world-class accommodation and hospitality
The SPAR Swiss Epic prides itself on the rider journey and ensuring all riders get the same premium MTB stage race experience. The all-inclusive package covers everything you need for an unforgettable week in the Swiss Alps. During the five days of racing, you’ll stay overnight in Swiss-quality double rooms together with your teammate and be treated to world-class service throughout the five days.
Ride the same route alongside legends such as Nino Schurter
As with every Epic Series race, amateurs get to ride the same route alongside the best mountain bikers from all over the world. Every year the UCI Men’s and Women’s fields are stacked with World Champions, Olympians and National Champions - from Nino Schurter and Andri Frischknekt to Sina Frei and Haley Batten, there’s every possibility you’ll get to meet your favourite mountain bike personality over the five days of racing; and you’ll get to say that you conquered the very same trails that they did.
You’ve seen it on the internet and in travel books and magazines and now you can experience the mind-blowing Swiss landscape for yourself. The SPAR Swiss Epic is filled with postcard-like scenery and terrain. From snow-capped Alpine mountains to river-forged valleys and pristine high-altitude pastures, your eyes will feast on some of the best scenery known to man.
Awesome food and free beer. Yes, free beer!
Yes, you heard that right - free beer, but there’s more. Every stage features designated Service Stations, where riders can top up with food and sports nutrition. Once you’re finished each stage you’ll be served a fresh meal including a drink directly after passing through the finish line. Furthermore, there is free coffee available, not to mention breakfast and dinner at your accommodation before and after every stage. Tuck in!
Memories to last a lifetime
Anybody who has ridden an Epic Series event has a story to tell - after all, these events are designed to challenge both the body and mind and the satisfaction of completing the SPAR Swiss Epic is one to cherish forever. Given the race format’s unique nature, the unpredictable weather, the people you meet along the way and the amazing trails encountered en route to the finish line, many riders return every year to make new memories and friends. The Sportograf photo package is a great way to immortalise your achievement and give your Instagram account the content it deserves as it includes scenery and impressive shots of each day captured by the professional media team.
An Epic medal
Few can dispute the beauty of an Epic Series medal. These superbly sculpted medallions serve as a reminder of the challenges you’ve overcome and the memories made along the way. Each medal is beautifully painted and comes adorned in exquisite detail featuring the year completed, the route distance and elevation as well as the names of the three regions traversed during the five stages.
Become an Epic Legend
Becoming an Epic Legend is one of the most prestigious achievements as a mountain biker, and one all riders acknowledge as a formidable feat of determination, grit and endurance. To etch your name into Epic Series folklore and become an Epic Legend, you’ll need to complete the Pinnacle event - the Absa Cape Epic - and two other Epic Series Legend events such as the SPAR Swiss Epic, 4Islands MTB Croatia or Andorra Epic. Upon completing the third race (in your preferred order and timeframe), you will receive a unique Epic Legend medal engraved with your name and you’ll join an elite club of riders recognised the world over.
Ready to Conquer The Alps? Get your entry here.
This content is sponsored by Swiss Epic.