Twelve hours of triumph
Saddle sores aside, some cyclists don’t feel they’re truly racing until they’re on the bike for hours on end.
There are few opportunities for mountain bikers to race until the cows come home, but this Saturday at Keystone will be a good time to start for bikers wanting to push their endurance limits.
Not half as intimidating or grueling as Montezuma’s Revenge, but more difficult than the loop used in 24 Hours of Moab, the first ever 12 Hours of Keystone Race from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday will be a prime opportunity to get a pedal or two into the endurance bike race scene.
“It gives them a good taste of what an endurance race is going to be like,” said Don Maneth of Mountain Sports Outlet, which is conducting the race as the last in its four-part series, which began this summer with the uphill, short track and downhill races.
“It’s all-day riding,” he said. “It’s good from both standpoints – people just getting into endurance riding and people looking to do a 24-hour race solo. We’re meeting halfway, if you’re not comfortable racing 24 hours. There’s only three 12-hour races out there that I know of.”
Maneth was referring to the 12-hour races at Big Bear and Snow Summit, Calif., and the John Muir 12-hour race in Wisconsin. The beauty of the 12-hour race at Keystone is that individuals not game for 12 straight hours in the saddle have the much more relaxing option of signing up as a two-rider team.
“I don’t think it will take that long,” said Annie Black, who is doing the 12 Hours of Keystone with teammate Mary Scheifley. “We figured it will take less than 3 hours each to do two loops. Then, you get enough time to recover.”
The loop used for the race is 8 miles, beginning on Jackstraw Road near the Mountain House at Keystone, then ascending the lower part of the mountain on green-rated singletrack trails and descending on blue and green singletrack. Event organizers expect top finishers to do about 10 loops. Racers will stop in a transition area after each loop only long enough to check in with a ticket-scanning and, if they’re on a team, trade off with their partner.
“This is great training for 24 Hours,” Black said, referring to the Moab race, which will take place Oct. 12 and 13 in Utah. “And Moab is much easier than the Keystone course, because, if you have four people, you can really push it every lap. This (12 Hour race) will be a little different. We’ll have three hours in between, and probably won’t go as hard. You have to pace a little bit.”
Ann James, like Black and Scheifley, is a regular competitor in the Summit Mountain Challenge series. James, however, is doing the 12 Hour solo, and plans to go all-out from the get go.
“My goal is to start out strong,” James said. “I feel if I start out at a medium pace, I’m not going to get stronger. Hopefully, I won’t have any mechanical (problems), and I’m going to try to eat every loop. I think I’ll be OK as long as I keep eating and keep pedaling.”
James said her 12-hour diet will go beyond just Clif Shots and Power Bars, and she’s going to bring along sandwich-halves to eat on every loop. James took fourth in the 50-mile Firecracker 50 race on the Fourth of July, and is looking forward to adding longer races to her competition repertoire.
“When I did the Firecracker, I felt great the whole time, and I actually felt stronger on the second (25-mile) loop,” she said. “It sparked my interest in bigger, longer rides. It’s fun to push yourself. We have a huge advantage training at 9,500 feet. When we go to do something in Moab, it’s like we’re super women.”
Maneth said a large portion of the racers pre-registered for 12 Hours of Keystone are from Denver and Boulder. He pointed out that, while there aren’t many time-consuming mountain bike races in the country, the existing few have a huge success rate, and that endurance racing is on the rise.
“These things are popping up,” he said. “There’s a real trend for long races. NORBA has embraced it, it’s gaining nationwide. When you go to some of these 24-hour races, some of the people you see aren’t that competitive, or even in that great of shape. They do it for the challenge, or for the team aspect, because it gives you that sense of comradery. With bikers who do shorter races, sometimes they just want to take it to that next level to see how their body is going to perform.
“Endurance seems to be getting big with everything – mountain biking, running … it’s one of the growing niches in competitive events. I guess it’s that feeling that you’ve pushed the envelope, whether it’s with sleep (or lack of), distance, or whatever. Endurance racing is where it’s at right now.”
12 Hours of Keystone begins at 7 a.m. Saturday morning. Registration is available all week at Mountain Sports Outlet in Silverthorne. Fees are $70 for solo riders or $130 for a two-rider team. Junior fees are $50 for solo or $100 for a team.
Registration fees include a race, barbecue, beer,
T-shirt and potential prizes, some of which include cash. Racers who aren’t NORBA affiliates must purchase a one-day NORBA license for $5. Final registration will take place until 7 p.m. Friday at MSO. Giveaways are available for volunteers, who are needed to help marshall the race and coordinate checks in the transition area. Racers wanting more
individuals wishing to
volunteer should contact Don Maneth at (970)
Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at email@example.com.
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