Editor’s note: The first official Mount Spokane Hucklebeary Epic mountain bike race was scheduled to take place on Saturday, August 8 (due to extreme fire danger). This article was written for the July 2015 print issue of Out There Monthly and is a good preview of the course we hope you’ll get the chance to ride in 2016.

The first Mount Spokane Hucklebeary Epic mountain bike race was the brainchild of Dan DeRuyter of Spokane. It began as an unofficial race with riders donating money for trail maintenance in the park. This year it has a race director and sponsors. The course is a 20-mile loop that follows Nordic trails that tour Mount Spokane State Park and venture into Idaho and back. Entrants have three options. There is “The Taste” of one 20-mile loop, “The Grinder” for two laps and “THE EPIC,” which consists of three laps. All of this happens in the shadow of Mt. Spokane and includes views of lakes in the valley floor below. Plus, huckleberries will be ready for picking.

The primary purpose of the Hucklebeary Epic is to fundraise. At least five dollars of every registration will be donated to the Friends of Mt. Spokane and Spokane Nordic Club for trail maintenance. A secondary purpose is to build up enough participation and support to expand the Hucklebeary Epic into an even more challenging endurance race. DeRuyter envisions a rider experience similar to the Leadville 100, which he has entered three times and finished twice, but at a lower altitude. I rode the course with DeRuyter and some friends last month. It was a lot of fun, and it’s what I, in my limited experience, would expect for an endurance race: the need for legs and lungs. Each lap nets 2,100 feet of elevation gain. It’s mostly narrow/overgrown double track and forest roads, which allow for speed. It’s not a technical course, but there are still plenty of places where caution is needed. This event has a lot of potential, but to reach it, we need to race it and give the organizers feedback. Mtspokanehucklebearyepic.com. (Hank Greer)