MTB Challenge



October 14, 2017
In Memory of Dave Blumenthal
Voted Vermont’s Best MTB Race in 2014,  2015 and 2016 by Vermont Sports readers

NEK Vermont’s annual mountain bike or trail running epic uses a 26.2 mile singletrack circuit on Kingdom Trails and Victory Hill. The one lapper is for runners or bikers. Two laps for “CircumBerzerk 52+ mile bikers only.

Start/Finish Venue: Burke Mountain, Sherburne Lodge, 3 Sherburne Lodge Rd, East Burke, VT 05832

Events: MTB Challenge: 1 Lap 26.2 miles, Start @10 AM, Men & Women
MTB CircumBerzerk*: 2 Laps 52 miles, Start @8 AM. Time cut – 3 hrs 20 min.*
Marathon Trail Run : 1 Lap 26.2+/- miles, Start@8 AM

Circumberzerkers missing the time cut will automatically become finishers and counted in the one lap event.

Registration:$55 until 9/14, $65 until 9/30,  $75 until close of online registration on Wednesday, Oct 11, 2016 at midnight.  Friday Afternoon registration for $85 and number pickup will be at Shelburne Lodge from 5:30 to 8:30 PM. Saturday event day registration is $95 ! Don’t Wait. Bikers please register on Bikereg, Runners register on Runreg.


Refund Policy: No refunds, however entrants, who cannot attend, may substitute another participant’s name for for theirs online at or until Wednesday October 11th at midnight. by emailing .

Bibs/Numbers: October 13th Friday afternoon registration and number pickup will be at Shelburne Lodge from 5:00 to 7:30 PM.  (and late registrtaion) . Paper frameplate MTB numbers. Trail Runners will have paper pin-on numbers.

Course Details: This year’s cicuit will start and finish at Sherburne Lodge at Burke Mountain.  One 26 mile.2 loop is used for all categories, on Kingdom Trails singletrack, with some state logging trail and bits of town road. 3000+ feet of climbing. Last year’s, 26 mile lap took cyclists between 2 hours 45 minutes and 6 hours, and runners 3.5 to 7 hours. Bikers considering the 52 mile Marathon event should be exceedingly fit and prepared for 6000+ feet of climbing, due to a first lap time cut-off of 3 hours 20 minutes. Remember, the CircumBurke is one of the toughest loops in New England, and riding two laps should not be taken lightly.

Results and Timing: The CircumBurke provides rudimentary courtesy timing provided by volunteers, as well as raffle prizes for finishers. Unofficial results are not posted until the following day, due uncertain electricity supply and internet connectivity at venue.

Enduro Classification: Two self-service enduro classifications will be generated over “Clodhopper” (3/4 Mile) and” McGill’s Thrill” (1.5 Miles)  for users using their smart phones or other GPS devices with Strava activated during the event. Be classified in Enduro over two singletrack sections. A  “leaderboard” will be generated on Strava during event. Just for bragging rights.

Excerpt from Vermont Sports Black Diamond Awards Issue:

Most Competitive Event: Circumburke: Every fall, cyclists and trail runners head to East Burke for a tough cross-country race through the forests and hills in the Northeast Kingdom and around Burke Mountain…the event also includes an enduro component for riders to test their downhill skills. Along the way, you’ll get foliage views from Burke, the White Mountains and Victory Bog. Runners-up: 2. Vermont 50 Mountain Bike Race, 3. Spartan and Death Races, 4. Stowe Derby, 5. Tough Mudder.”

The Burke Mountain Hotel and Conference Center offers you these discounts:
Studios for $119/night and 1-bedrooms $129/night. Situated conveniently mid-mountain and 5 minutes from the base lodge area (start of event) Book at and use the code RACE to receive discount or call reservations at (866) 966-4820.

Feed Zones (4): Water in cups or directly from a cooler and an assortment of food from local producers or local markets (bars, bagels, VT made specialties, bananas, oranges and chips).  If you require special food or beverages, please bring them.

Course Marking/Signage: RED is the dominant marking color along CircumBurke route. (Red diamonds with black arrows, blank red diamonds or red wooden signs with white arrows) as well as white foam-board signs with red or black arrows reading, “CircumBurke”, which will be employed at major turns. Brush piles & tape are used to block intersections.  Don’t jump these!

Voiunteering:  Participants and/or someone in their entourage, may volunteer on Saturday October 17th for trailwork in VIctory or on event day as marshals, registration and timing helpers  to offset entry fees. (Full day shift 6-8 hours=full reimbursement, 3-5 hour volunteer shift = half reimbursement).

Rules for All Participants: Safety first and use common sense!

  • PASSING ETIQUETTE:  Although staggered start times and a new course should minimize these inevitable encounters, faster runners will overtake slower cyclists, particularly on uphill sections and then be repassed by cyclists on downhills.  Overtaking athletes are asked to  call out politely  “On your right” or “One your left“,  before passing  on the appropriate side. be courteous, if you are being passed, do your best to move aside
  • LITTER: You will use State Forest and private land in a pristine corner of Vermont. Keep spent GU packs in your pockets.
  • One PORT-A-POTTY is also located at Feed Zone#3 in Victory“. for those who have to “go” mid-race.
  • NO DOGS out of respect for landowners along the way.
  • DRIVE SLOW AND BE POLITE TO THE LOCALS WHEN COMMUTING TO EVENT: No fast rally driving enroute to the race. Favorable reception by the local community is essential for this event.
  • PREPARE FOR ADVERSITY: Cyclists bring a spare tube, pump or CO2 cartridge, chaintool and allen keys. No in-situ mechanical support. Consider packing an extra layer and possibly a raincoat to avoid hypothermia in case of mishap.
  • Please Cross the Finish Line upon returning to the Stock Farm to let us know that you’ve returned safely and we don’t need to send out a search party. Don’t shortcut to your car.

Lunch: Don’t lose your lunch ticket. No replacements.  Tickets for friends & family can be purchased.

Raffle: The prize raffles include a modest assortment of product schwag from the CircumBurke’s generous and faithful sponsors. Two raffles will occur; the first at around 2:30 for those who have finished already and the second raffle at 3:30 pm for those who spend a little longer on the course.  This way, everyone is accommodated and appreciated regardless of finish time.

Emergencies: Bike “sweepers” will follow the main CircumBurke and Mountain Running waves. Emergency personnel will also be stationed at key points along the course in the case that you need assistance. If you have an emergency or see an injured participant please call the following numbers and/or try to ask another participant to notify someone at the nearest food/aid station (every 4-6 miles) or marshal the road crossings (in East Burke only).

Bike Recommendations:  Hardtail or full suspension cross country MTBs would be ideally suited to the course. The singletracks are not suitable for Cyclocross bikes. It can be very muddy on section of the course, depending on the weather..some riders have used very fat MTB tires but most opt for tires in the 2.0 range with tread patterns matched to the weather/surface moisture conditions.