When registration opened for the 2021 Pikes Peak APEX presented by RockShox, Tom Turney, from Monument, Colorado was the first to sign up. Colorado Springs' own Russell Finsterwald, Men's Overall Winner for 2020, reached out to welcome Tom and ask what's he's looking forward to at this year's event.
Russell: Tom, congratulations! You were the first rider to sign up for the 2021 edition of The APEX! We have to ask, what was your motivation in signing up right as registration opened up?
Tom: For me, 2021 is a do-over year for 2020. I signed up on day one to make sure I got into the race because I believe it will fill up quickly. I was planning on racing in the Pikes Peak APEX presented by RockShox last year but was not able to race and ended up having to have “minor” back surgery. Not caused by mountain biking but from sitting in an office chair too much :) Telluride ended up a being a mud fest, and I had a mud induced mechanical. I always pick 1 or 2 races as my “A” races for the next year so that I have something to look forward to and to motivate me to train hard throughout the year. 2021 being my 2020 MTB do-over year, I am signed up again for the Telluride 100 and the Pikes Peak APEX presented by RockShox. I am extremely excited to race in The APEX race because it also supports our local Colorado Springs businesses. I met Micah Rice when I was racing in the Breck Epic race in 2019 and was extremely impressed with how well last year’s APEX race was organized and run, top notch. I had several friends do the race last year and was really bummed to not be doing it with them.
Russell: What are you looking forward to the most in the 2021 edition of The APEX?
Tom: I am really excited to do this particular race because my very best experiences racing has been doing MTB multi-day races. My first was doing the 3-day Leadville stage race as prep for LT100 one year. That was fun. Then I did the 6-day Breck Epic in 2019 and that was probably the most fun I have ever had Mountain Biking. I did the Breck race with my Endurance Training Coach - Larry DeWitt and he will also be doing The APEX race with me this year along with several good friends. During these multi-day races you end up riding with the same group of men and women because you are at similar fitness levels. You start knowing who to stage with at the start and you get to ride together with them during the day. The camaraderie, support of each other, and a bit of competition is really special. And you end up with some new MTB friends. I believe the Pikes Peak APEX presented by RockShox will be one of the best races anywhere because of the incredible trails we have in the Colorado Springs area. The perfect mix of climbing on wider roads/trails so passing or being passed is not an issue and LOTS of really fun single-track that is, fast, flowing, and adrenaline/smile inducing. I also like the fact that they have taken some of the unnecessary risk out where they could, like not having us race down dirt roads like Rampart with oncoming vehicle traffic. Very wise decision. My goal for The APEX race is to race hard and be smiling for 4-days straight.
Russell: Being that you are from Monument, CO, what are some of your favorite trails that you would recommend to others who aren’t familiar with the area?
Tom: I would say the best trails in the area are the ones that were chosen for The APEX race. In addition, the Falcon Loop at the US Air Force Academy is also a great loop and I hope that can be incorporated into the race for 2021, I believe that loop was originally planned as one of the days but USAF had to restrict traffic at the Academy due to Covid-19. There are also lots of fantastic trails up above Monument and Palmer Lake, that is where I do most of my training.
Russell: After an epic day in the saddle, what is your go to guilty pleasure? An XL beer, pizza, ice cream, etc.?
Tom: After an epic day in the saddle I love to hang out with friends and then spend some time in the hot tub relaxing.