BUTTE — At dawn on July 24, some 500 mountain bikers from 16 states will assemble at the start/finish line at Homestake Pass to embark on one of the most difficult races in the country, the Butte 100.
"It's going to be an epic race," said Butte 100 race owner Stephanie Sorini. "I think the competition between the racers is going to bring the race to a whole new level."
The 15th iteration of a race that sees participants endure over three miles of elevation gain while traversing 99.8 miles of technical, sometimes harrowing routes along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail will be chock-full of world-class talent.
Josh Tostado, still the two-time defending Butte 100 champion from 2018 and 2019 after the race was called off in 2020, is back to defend his titles. Two-time Olympian Tinker Juarez, who didn't compete in 2019 and didn't finish the race in 2018 after getting off course and not being able to find his way back, is also back in the mix.
And then there's local rider Bear Stillwagon who will be attempting something remarkable--riding the entire Butte 100 course the night before the race, making it back to the start/finish line before the actual Butte 100 begins and then racing it again with the other competitors.
The Butte 100 was first run in 2007 with a handful of mountain biking enthusiasts. Word of the route's unique blend of stunning vistas, high-elevation racing and monstrous climbs soon spread and participation has steadily grown every year since.
"It's a very unique race," Sorini said. "People are very excited for it. What I love is seeing the people who come back year after year. And then every year we're seeing new racers come on board. We're seeing a younger generation get involved. The level of competition has grown immensely over the years."
The 2019 race was capped at 350 riders. This year's race expanded to 500 after organizers were able to secure the necessary permits from the U.S. Forest Service.
The Butte 100 begins at 6 a.m. on July 24.