For 24 hours per year, a little corner of the desert turns into a small village. Willow Spring Ranch is a remote state trust land that barely sees a soul for the rest of the year, but during the 24 hour of Old Pueblo, one of the biggest 24 hour race in North America (and part of the Epic Rides serie), it is aptly named the 24 hour town and even has its own street signs. The jack rabbits and other critters probably wonder what they did to offend the gods for such mayhem to take over their otherwise quiet home.
There are about 500 riders on the 17-mile course at all times. Teammates have to exchange the baton in the in-and-out tent, register their lap with the officials and the next rider can go. The event gets fully booked a few hours after the registration opens, with riders coming as far as Europe to participate in the event.
The race begins at noon on Saturday with a LeMans-style start (or stampede) in which the racers have to run 1/2 mile to where their bikes are parked (in their bike shoes... ouch!). It makes for a fun spectacular start and it spaces out the the 500 + riders hitting the singletrack course.
The 24 HOP is the Burning man of bike races and can be anything to anybody... pro racers, party riders, soloists, corporate riders, single speeders... but it sure feels like there are two different races going on: the Spandex vs the Monkey suits.