This Weekend in Stoke: Top 5 ways to put human endurance to the test

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This weekend we found five of the world's gnarliest endurance events, all going down right here in Colorado. This is what you've been training for all summer, right?

It's all downhill from here! First up is the Trestle All-Mountain Enduro at Winter Park, a three-day, five-stage mountain bike event created to help determine the best all-around trail rider in North America, with $10,000 in prize money and over $20,000 in swag prizes including a TREK Remedy bike for the fastest amateur in the event and free Avid chains for all participants of the Enduro. Registration closes tonight at 5 p.m., immediately followed by the first event: A chainless top-to-bottom downhill race down the double black diamond trails Search & Seizure, Trestle Downhill and Witness.

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Take that, Dante! The Warrior Dash at Copper Mountain is only 3.15 miles, a pittance in the grand scheme of endurance events, but, as WarriorDash.com helpfully notes, they're "3.15 hellish miles" with "11 obstacles from hell." No, literally: Post up by the fire pits with your camera to get some classic shots of bros braving the brimstone, like the one at left. The race runs in waves starting at 9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

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Eat lead! Sure, there are lots of other endurance running races out there these days, but how many of them can say they start at 10,200'? The Leadville Trail 100 "Race Across the Sky" Run dates back to 1983 and is still the most brutal way to let some altitude go to your head. Registration for this year's race is closed, which lets you off the hook until next year, but it's a spectacle worth seeing all the same: The race starts at the corner of 6th and Harrison in Leadville at 4 a.m. on Saturday (we said it was brutal, right?), and you can watch for the first finishers about 15 or 16 hours later.

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If you thought the IronMan Triathlon and the Food Network's Iron Chef were intense, wait until you see the 2nd annual Iron Artist competition on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. at The Other Side Arts, 1644 Platte Street, where 15 artists will be competing in a live art demonstration using a "secret ingredient" art material that won't be unveiled until the start of the competition.

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Divide and conquer! And, last but not least, the 2011 Ski Haus Continental Divide Trail Run on Sunday at 8 a.m. is a 15-mile trail run with over 4,500 feet of elevation gain. There's a 4-hour cutoff time, so be prepared to bring it (no race day registration, so sign up online at RunningSeries.com by Saturday).

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