Mountain bike enthusiasts have an opportunity to test their mettle this month with the first annual 24 Hour Endurance Mountain Bike Race at the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park on July 27.
Presented by Global Biorhythm Events (GBE), the 24 Hour Endurance Mountain Bike Race will offer “a true test of endurance and mental power,” said GBE Race and Timing Director Jim Northey. “Mammoth has so much history when it comes to mountain biking,” he said; “so it really was a no-brainer, trying a 24 hour race here.”
24 hour mountain bike races have taken off in places such as Moab, Utah, which offers the “24 Hours of Moab” across steep and challenging terrain. Here in Mammoth, the course will climb 850 feet in elevation per lap, with a 9.45 mile course. The race will be 95% single track, Northey said, with plenty of room to pass.
To provide a variety of challenges to riders, the 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race will also offer an 8-hour option, beginning at noon and ending at 8 p.m., while the full 24 hour race will run from noon to the following noon, all through the night.
“This is the ultimate test of mental state of mind when it comes to 24 hour mountain bike racing,” said Northey. “The 24 hour teams have by far the best time. Team dynamics come into play. A lot goes into the planning for a team to finish and complete the endurance event.” Team riders provide support for each other, trading off laps so teammates can eat and sleep.
The night riding can be the most challenging, as riders must provide their own headlamps, with no other source of illumination.
This year’s event offers a special timing system, using RFID chips embedded in each participant’s number plates to record and place over 50 categories from 1st to last place team, as well as first through last place solo racers every hour. “This way teams can come and see their placement, and see how they or their companion are doing,” Northey explained. Winners are determined by number of laps completed in the allotted time, and GBE will provide “big hand made custom awards and medals for the top three in each category,” he said.
Some local teams will use the 24 Hour Endurance Mountain Bike Race as a fundraising event, Northey said, with donations per lap given to local nonprofits. This aim is very much in keeping with Northey’s own mentality. “I started GBE events 15 years ago as a trail building and event company with the goal of giving back to the land that we take so much for granted,” he said. After 24 hours of a grueling ride, participants in the 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race are sure to do anything but take that land for granted.
Registration for the 8 and 24 Hour Endurance Mountain Bike races is now open to the first 1,500 racers, and host Mammoth Mountain encourages racers to sign up soon for their desired category, as the event is expected to sell out.
For more information on the first annual 24 Hour Endurance Mountain Bike Race, or to register, visit the GBE website (http://www.globalbiorhythmevents.com), or the Mammoth Mountain page (http://www.mammothmountain.com/ResortActivities/SpecialEvents/24BikeRace/).
Photo: Susan Morning