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. 

Riding Thunder Mountain, in Panguitch, UT

                                                                               Oops! Road block!

Thunder Mountain Trail is just outside Bryce Canyon National Park. The first section has more climbing than we expected after consulting the MTB project website and less scenic, but the descent among the Red Canyon's hoodoos is a blast as we ride along knife ridges and switchbacks back to the trailhead The last mile is a super fun let-the-brake-go flowy downhill.  The trail is mostly smooth hard pack but has short serious sections of loose, steep, switchbackery madness (probably the reason why it is rated as a black trail, because most of it is truly blue). There aren't much in the way of steps or drops, the technical sections are short and walk-able with the climbing mostly moderate. What makes it harder is that you are riding at over 8000 feet of altitude and you sometimes wish you had an oxygen mask on while climbing.

If possible, ride this trail from the upper trailhead to the lower trailhead, with a car shuttle back. Several sections of the trail are virtually unrideable in the uphill direction.

However, riding the trail as a loop is possible if you ride back up the bike path for 8-9 miles.