CHASING EPIC: MOUNTAIN BIKE ADVENTURES IN THE ROCKIES AND DESERT SOUTHWEST
Chasing Epic takes mountain bikers to seven different bucket-list destinations in the western U.S. for as much riding as they can fit in while there. We spoke with Steve Mokan, Chasing Epic’s Owner, who left the corporate world in December 2015 to start his Boulder, Colorado-based mountain bike adventure company.
Stan’s NoTubes: What tours does Chasing Epic offer?
Steve Mokan: We have seven different destinations. We go as far south as Sedona, Arizona, and Angel Fire, New Mexico is our newest destination. Here in Colorado, we do Crested Butte and Fruita. In Utah, we do Park City, Moab and St. George. The most popular trips are Moab, Crested Butte and St. George - probably because those destinations get the most publicity for trails such as the Whole Enchilada, 401 and Doctor Park and Gooseberry Mesa. SNT: How did Chasing Epic come to be?
SM: I was in corporate America for about 15 years, but I’d always done photography on the side, and when you’re doing photography in Colorado, it’s easy to meet cool people in the outdoor industry. So I began doing some travel photography for a few companies. Then I started to put some ideas together and saw a gap in the market for trips for experienced mountain bikers. Chasing Epic launched in December of 2015, and the first trip was in spring of 2016. This is our third full season of operation, and we currently do 15-18 trips per year.
SNT: From where do your riders hail?
SM: Most of our customers are from outside of Colorado. They want to do the bucket list rides. The way our trips are built, we do ride those trails, but we do them as part of a unique trip. We add in a bunch of trails which those riders have never heard of but are just as good. I’d say 90% are from the U.S., and 10% are international, mostly from places like the United Kingdom, South America and Canada. SNT: Tell us about a typical tour.
SM: Everyone one of our trips are four days, and we max out at 12 riders per trip. Most trips have 10-12 people. The first and last day of a typical trip are half-day rides of a few hours each. The middle two days are full days. We go out from after breakfast until just before dinner, and our focus is to be riding as much as the client can take. We put together aggressive itineraries and scale down if needed. We don’t do minimal itineraries because we cater to experienced mountain bikers. Private trips are also available for groups of six or more, and extra days can be added. Everything is included from a nice condo or private house rental to high end bikes, meals, guides and ride nutrition. You bring only your bike shoes, backpack and helmet, and you’ll be good to go. You just have to show up and ride your bike a lot!SNT: What’s the best way for riders to prepare for one of your tours?
SM: Ride as much as possible! Many of our customers come from places where they don’t have immediate access to big trails systems. So it’s best to mix up the type of riding you do. Do some intervals, do some long slow rides, do a 1.5-hour loop. Ride to have fun so you don’t get burnt out. For our trips, the big pieces are the cardio and the stamina. If you don’t have the technical skills, you will pick them up. We often see people riding much better by the fourth day as they pick up the tech skills more and more every day.
SNT: What’s your connection to Stan’s?
SM: I grew up with Stan’s and Cindy’s daughters, Trista and Tiffany. [Stan and Cindy founded and own Stan’s NoTubes - ed.] I went to school with Tiffany, and I reached out to her and told her what I was going to do for Chasing Epic. Stan’s was one of the first companies that bought into the idea of our company and what we wanted to do. One of the big things for our trip is having parts that are durable and can withstand the beating of 15 trips per year. More than half of our demo fleet has Stan’s Flow MK3 wheels on it. Some are 27.5 and 29”. Of course, we use Stan’s sealant in ALL of our wheels. Every single one of our bikes is set up tubeless.SNT: How have Stan’s wheels worked out for you?
SM: Every one of our customers wants their demo bikes set up the same as at home. For us, that means having tubeless wheels, and with Stan’s wheels, we don’t have to worry. Over the course of three trips of 12 total riding days for 40 total riders so far this season or about 500 days on our bikes, we had just two flats. One was in Moab, Utah, and one was in Fruita, Colorado, two of the rockiest places in the country. That goes a long way to speak to the durability and reliability of Stan’s products.
SNT: What trends are you seeing in mountain biking in general and touring specifically?
SM: Overall, people are spending money on experiencing new things. That’s why I started Chasing Epic. Not only are people spending money on things, they also want to go new places. Mountain biking brings people together from all over the country and the world. We all have something in common, even if it’s just that we’ve been watching the same videos online. Learn more and sign up for a Chasing Epic trip. Note: Most tours sell out six weeks to two months in advance. Signing up 2-3 months in advance also gives more time to train and prepare for the trip, many of which are at altitude. All photos courtesy of Chasing Epic.