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12-01-2023 | Frank Jansen

Sidetrack E P I C, an awesome event in a stunning environment

It's a trend in the world of cycling events: small-scale rides are on the rise. Tours with a small number of participants, where things go a little differently than usual. Special events, for various reasons. The Sidetrack E P I C fits perfectly into this list. What makes this one so special?

The concept

The Sidetrack E P I C is a small-scale, self-supported event for road bikes with start in finish in Engelberg, Switzerland. There are two routes

  • The E P I C is the long variant of 220 km and 7250 meters of elevation.
  • The Light variant has 160 km with 4500 meters of elevation.

The driving force behind the event is Dutchman Dirk Spits. He lived, worked and cycled in the Engelberg area and that's how he came up with the idea to organize this tour. Dirk: 'Engelberg is a small mountain village in Switzerland that is mainly known for its fantastic (off piste) skiing. Mountain bikers have already discovered it in the summer, cycling is not there yet. It's a playground of empty roads, trails and bizarrely beautiful views.'

'It's a playground of empty roads, trails and bizarrely beautiful views'

We mentioned, Sidetrack E P I C is a small-scale event. Participants get to know each other, share stories and end the experience with a nice dinner at one table. In what category should we place this trek? It is certainly not a gran fondo, because it is not a race. Dirk: "It is, however, a race against yourself, including a GPS tracker so family and friends can watch. The event is self-supported, so you meet yourself and become aware of how you face certain mental and physical challenges."

Fabulous routes

Switzerland is of course known for its wonderful landscapes and roads. The Sidetrack E P I C goes off the beaten track, you ride (almost) only on quiet, hidden farm roads without traffic. You get to know the real authentic Switzerland; friendly people, small villages and the most fantastic (hidden) views. Dirk: 'The routes I have built offer the best of what I have experienced myself. From rolling hills to the punishing (unknown) cols at the foot of Swiss Alps, accompanied by blue lakes and snow-capped peaks."

Complete package

The Sidetrack E P I C is certainly not a hit & run tour. It is a four-day feast. Thursday is the arrival day, Friday is race day, Saturday is rest day and on Sunday you go home. The offerings are pretty complete:

  • Three nights' stay at the Ski Lodge includes a legendary breakfast on all days.
  • Welcome dinner and finisher's feast.
  • Safe luggage & bike storage (including bike rack and tools).
  • Live state-of-the-art GPS Tracker; family and friends can follow you with automatic updates.
  • Professional food and water bottles at the start.
  • Exclusive GPX of the route including checkpoints.
  • Free parking in front of the hotel (first come, first served).
  • Non-cycling partners can join at a reduced price.

Want to know more? Then check out the website!

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