COLORADO SPRINGS – A four-day mountain bike challenge returns Thursday in southern Colorado. It’s called the Pikes Peak APEX, and it brings amateur and pro riders from across the country to our community and showcases local trails.
Approximately 200 runners will participate in the race, which spans 115 miles on local trails in Colorado Springs and Monument. It’s a bucket list race for many mountain bikers, including Miles Juneau, who thought he would never be able to peddle a bike again.
“This race means a lot to me. I put it on my calendar for two years. I have long doubted my ability to compete in a competition like this, said Juneau. “It was doubtful that I would ever walk again and with the amputation talk all I cared about was being able to ride a bike with one leg?”
Juneau underwent routine knee surgery in 2019 that left him with a serious infection, MRSA, and osteomyelitis.
“I had seven knee surgeries in 12 months, I was bedridden and couldn’t move, and all I could do was look out the window and wish I was on those trails,” Juneau said.
Although he no longer has the full range of motion of his leg, just keep pedaling his bike, and by his side on the trails is Justin Martin, a friend and professional cyclist.
“We moved south to Colorado Springs to continue pursuing this dream and our passion. We have traveled many hours, many miles and shed a lot of tears,” said Martin.
The two will be among the few hundred cyclists who ride the popular trails in the region. They will take dirt roads, jeep trails, a unique alpine track unique to Pikes Peak.
“On the course we are definitely fierce competitors, but other than that we just want to help each other grow and take the next step,” said Martin. “Organizing an event of this caliber in our garden is also a testament to the quality of our trail networks and the organizations involved. “
While Junaeu also helped himself take the next step and recover from his injury, he didn’t let his health issues hold him back and even became a certified American cycling coach. Now he has a message for the others.
“As a coach and an athlete, I really want to show people that anything is possible, and when life knocks you down you can get back up,” Juneau said. “You keep going, in the middle of the storm.”
The APEX race begins Thursday at Palmer Park in Colorado Springs. On Saturday, the APEX team is hosting an outdoor festival and exhibit at America the Beautiful Park. It starts at 7:30 a.m. and lasts until 3 p.m.
The race is only in its second year, and it’s also the first year spectators can watch some of the runners.
Profits and money raised during the event are donated to the Alliance des loisirs de plein air. The organization helps maintain local trails and also helps build new ones.
For more information on the Pikes Peak APEX Run, click here.