February 22nd, 2011 11:11am
Seasoned Old Pueblo attendees know that you can never be too prepared. For those hearty souls who attended this years 24 Hour of Old Pueblo race, preparation paid off.
The weather at Old Pueblo may not be the story, it is always a factor. Before the race, friends gather and catch up, reminiscing of races gone by, referred to not by the year, but by the weather. The usual conversation opener going something like …"remember 3 years ago when it snowed?" And like the 11 years before, this year would be not different. The weather would have its hand in creating memories for what would be a tough day of racing.
The race's Lemans style start headed out under partially cloudy skies and into a solid head wind that whipped up hours before the race. Blowing from the South to the NorthEast, the wind became gradually stronger as the afternoon wore on, reaching speeds of 25 miles an hour and wreaking havoc on tents and destroying most of the pop-up tents. Around six-thirty, the temperature dropped 15 degrees and brought the rains to further test the mettle of racers and campers.
(LEFT - Tyler Coplea of AZ DEVO Team has a flying lap for his teams opener. One hour flat - impressive for anyone - especially a 17 year old kid.)
Kevin Riseborough leads the Bicycle World TV Race team and 300+ other racers onto the course at the start of 24 Hours of Old Pueblo 2011 edition. Riseborough's team would go on to finish 3 in the highly competitive 4 - man open class featuring 143 teams.
With the inclimate weather, most lap times increased by 10% or more. For many, the weather was ample cause to take a brake and re-think why they love this style of self torture. The competitive racers always staying on the bike, even as the rain stung their faces as it sometimes fell at 45 degree angles. It was difficult for riders to leave the comfort of their domain to go out in the cold rainy conditions, but that's what makes 24 Hours racing special and separates the hard core from the core. It makes having enough of the right gear priceless.
Completing the forecast to perfection, the brutal weather lasted about 5 hours before moving on as if a switch had been thrown in some meteorologists control room. The wind died down, the clouds began to break and the race was on. Riders came out from hiding to remount their steeds and were treated to traction extraordinaire as the dusty desert trail soaked up the rain. Once the wind died down, the temperature rose and reports began to come in of the spectacular conditions for the midnight laps.
The desert clay soaked up the moisture like a thirsty sponge. Each rider grooming the malable dirt for the next, creating miles of blue groove trail to be railed for the final ten hours of the race. When the sun rose on the massive 24 hour camp, so do did a breeze, but nothing to prevent fast lap times or ruin the perfect trail conditions. As the race began to wind down, most of the top positions held their spots and the course was littered with tired bodies. Some walking the short climbs, all suffering to different degrees and all looking to complete their last lap(s).
In the final hour, fans gathered around the rock drop - in a what is turning out to be a bit of a tradition - to cheer for their friends, team mates and family. Everyone glad to see it end but sad to leave.
Ben Sonntag of the No Tubes / Weapons of Ass Destruction team was the fastest man around the course on lap one throwing down a sub-hour lap.
Ben's team would take second place in the 5 person Co-ed 200+ class.
Lots of women this year at the 24. This skirted rider shows the boys how its done riding the rock drop on her fully rigid, single speed Redline with V-brakes.
Surly bikes always make a run at the fun in Old Pueblo - showing you how big tires roll and soak up the bumps.
Ernesto Marenchin of Team Pivot hauling the mail through a rough patch on the down hill just before the rains came down. Ernesto Marenchin and Team Mate Brian Bennett took out the win in the physically difficult two-man category.
Pro Downhiller Melissa Buhl rode with the class winning AZ DEVO team in the five person Co-ed 0-149 age group. Melissa's times were very impressive with consistent 1:15-1:24 lap times.
Strong winds wreaked havoc on tents and pop-ups. This happy chap tried to beat mother nature by pulling the tops off his pop-up and making a custom three walled dwelling...then it rained..
Night time on the rocks - this rider rode the course with only a head lamp. Early evening rain took many lights out of action and caused most people to take the alternate route around the rocks.
Just before sun up a rider crests the rock without any lights but with the aid of a solo flash.
It's what they race for. Unique trophies for the division winners.
While 24 hour town is always awake and tri-tip or pulled pork sandwiches are available, it isn't until the race is over and the ravenous appetites break out.
This vendor probably does 80% of his business as the riders complete their final laps and waiting for the podium.
The die hard, happy, tired 24 hour crowd. Waiting for the award ceremony to begin. They deserve awards damn it!
The Winning 4- man open team - Velocidad Maxima - completed 22 laps
Our own Bicycle World TV race team stood on the box in 3rd place in 4-man open division. 21 Laps - Nice work boys!
Winner - Solo Male - Ant White of Scotland - 18 laps = 288 miles! Ouch.
Solo women Podium - Pivot's Lindy Lee in the #1 Spot
No Tubes Women took top spot in the 4 women open division by two laps.
Location: News >> 2011 - 24 Hours of Old Pueblo Wrap Up