The 24 Hours of Old Pueblo

The storm before the storm.

The storm before the storm.

Friday sunset cocktail party at the Whiskey Tree.

Friday sunset cocktail party at the Whiskey Tree.

Tying a bottle to the Whiskey Tree.

Tying a bottle to the Whiskey Tree.

Got Lobster?

Got Lobster?

Let’s go ride bikes in AZ they said, it’ll be warm and sunny, they said...

Let’s go ride bikes in AZ they said, it’ll be warm and sunny, they said...

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Jason in the stampede at the beginning of the race.

Jason in the stampede at the beginning of the race.

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I love how these guys kept themselves entertained with that "piñata" while waiting for the dad to ride by.

I love how these guys kept themselves entertained with that "piñata" while waiting for the dad to ride by.

Antonio on his first lap.

Antonio on his first lap.

That's the spirit.

That's the spirit.

The water bottles of the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo from the last 13 years.

The water bottles of the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo from the last 13 years.

Lance Armstrong!

Lance Armstrong!

The Saturday night Happy Hour crew at the Whisky Tree.

The Saturday night Happy Hour crew at the Whisky Tree.

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Diedra rocking it.

Diedra rocking it.

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The CycloKeg going down the rock drop!

The CycloKeg going down the rock drop!

Antonio and Jason on their 6th lap!

Antonio and Jason on their 6th lap!

Our friends 4-men single speed team, the Fearless Foursome, finished in 3rd place with 21 laps!!

Our friends 4-men single speed team, the Fearless Foursome, finished in 3rd place with 21 laps!!

This is E.T. It’s his 14th year of doing the 24HOP in solo. He is a fascinating man. He bought that truck brand new in 1973 (he calls it the coyote den). He is a fire fighter and was sent to help during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the big fires of California over Christmas. He’s worked in Tok, Alaska and lives in a remote rural area near the Mexican border. He speaks Portughese and Spanish and asks the most interesting questions.

This is E.T. It’s his 14th year of doing the 24HOP in solo. He is a fascinating man. He bought that truck brand new in 1973 (he calls it the coyote den). He is a fire fighter and was sent to help during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the big fires of California over Christmas. He’s worked in Tok, Alaska and lives in a remote rural area near the Mexican border. He speaks Portughese and Spanish and asks the most interesting questions.

It’s like someone had a deal with the weather gods... The weather was perfect for about 30 hours just for the race, and then it rained again!

It’s like someone had a deal with the weather gods... The weather was perfect for about 30 hours just for the race, and then it rained again!

Rain in the desert is pretty special.

Rain in the desert is pretty special.

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This weekend marked 19 years of enjoying Sonoran Desert singletrack at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. One of the largest 24 Hour events in the world, this race has the reputation of being biking’s Burning man 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 as my friend Antonio likes to say: the Spandex vs the Monkey suits.

Away from everything, this trail is only busy one week out of the year. The cows look at us in confusion as we ride by, the jack rabbits scamper off and they all probably wonder what they did to offend the gods for such mayhem to take over their otherwise quiet home...

There’s a new record for single speed solo male this year with 19 laps!! Imagine that! 19 laps 17 miles lap in 24 hours!!

Founded in 1999, Epic Rides has become world famous for producing events that celebrate the many positive aspects of mountain biking. Events such as the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, Whiskey Off-Road, Grand Junction Off-Road and the Tour of the White Mountains are popular with participants because they offer challenging, fun riding and emphasize the joy and camaraderie inherent in the sport. 

The 24 hour of Old Pueblo

Borat style!

Kids hiked up on samples of energy bars and hydration drinks, enjoying the free race swag they got "in town".

Tire toss contest!

Lance Armstrong coming down the rock drop on his first lap.

More swag. Pickle juice for muscle cramps. Yes, it's a thing. Not the real stuff, but natural enough, and pretty tasty too.

Jump Pikachu!

Finish or die!

Antonio on the rock drop.

Single-speed rigid bike with a 12 pack of beer. To each their race.

Antonio leaving camp for his second of five 17-mile laps.

The 24 hour town at night.

The town becomes even more alive at night with colorful lights and bonfire everywhere. It was so cool to see the course illuminated by all these headlamps and bike lamps, like a thousand crazy fireflies in the dark night.

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.