10th Annual 24 Hours of Snowshoe 3
Author thumbnail By M. Scott Smith, DCSki Editor

A racer participates in the 1997 24 Hours of Canaan Race.  Last year, the popular relay race moved to Snowshoe Mountain Resort.
Negotiating the terrain. A racer participates in the 1997 24 Hours of Canaan Race. Last year, the popular relay race moved to Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Photo provided by Granny Gear Productions.
Beginning at noon on Saturday, June 9 and continuing non-stop until noon on Sunday, June 10, over 2,000 mountain bikers will race around the clock in the 10th Annual 24 Hours of Snowshoe relay race. These racers will face obstacles such as challenging terrain, the darkness of night, the lack of sleep, the potential bickering of teammates, and possibly acres of mud.

And they’ll love every second of it.

What began in 1992 as a 24-hour mountain bike relay race with 36 teams has now transformed into an annual event held in three locales with hundreds of teams participating. Granny Gear Productions organizes the 24 Hours of Snowshoe, 24 Hours of Moab, and 24 Hours of Tahoe races, held in West Virginia, Utah, and California.

The West Virginia race is the largest and oldest. It began in 1992 as the 24 Hours of Canaan race, and moved to its new home at Snowshoe Mountain Resort last year. This year, over 500 teams and 10,000 spectators are expected to participate. Team members will travel from near and afar to participate in one of the most celebrated mountain bike races in the world, with the scenic mountains of Snowshoe Mountain Resort providing a panoramic backdrop for the event.

The course and format

The course is described as “gnarly and technical,” winding around the Silver Creek ski area and requiring racers to negotiate everything from rooty singletrack to dirt roads. The lighting of the course will change as the sun sets (and later rises), and the composition may change if Mother Nature decides to throw some rain into the mix. (Unless weather conditions become extremely treacherous, the event is on, rain or shine.)

Once the sun dips, racers will don handlebar and helmet-mounted lights to navigate through the darkness. Many racers will pitch tents and set up makeshift pit areas for bike repairs in a campground set up at Silver Creek, while they mull strategy: who should eat, cook, or sleep when? How many laps should each team member log? Smart racers will rely on a group of friends as a support crew, helping to perform necessary bike repairs and cheering racers on when the going gets tough.

Racers will be organized into teams in a number of classes, based on ability level and gender mix. The race is currently full, although a waiting list exists in case there are any last-minute cancellations.

Spectators will have plenty to feast their eyes on, starting with the Le Mans-style start of the race.

The schedule

Although the 24-hour relay race will be the highlight of the weekend, several other activities are planned to round out the event and keep everyone busy. Children will be able to participate in their own race: the 24 Minutes of Snowshoe race. A vendor expo will be held on Saturday and Sunday, and a fireworks display will be given Saturday night, courtesy of the West Virginia Division of Tourism. The race will conclude on Sunday with a 3 p.m. Awards Ceremony.

Volunteers needed

Weary trail volunteers  take a break after working on trail preparations for the 24 Hours  of Snowshoe race.
Charting the course. Weary trail volunteers take a break after working on trail preparations for the 24 Hours of Snowshoe race. Photo by Elizabeth A. Gillespie, Granny Gear Productions.
With over 500 teams participating, the 24 Hours of Snowshoe event would be impossible without the generous help of volunteers. So far, dozens of volunteers have already contributed over 1,400 man hours in preparation for the race, establishing the course and performing trailwork such as mucking, raking, de-berming, root clipping and bench cutting.

More volunteers are needed for the race itself. For example, log-in registrars are needed to log-in or out racers starting or completing their lap. Course marshal volunteers will be positioned at various places along the race course, ensuring that riders are healthy and happy while maintaining crowd control.

Four six-hour volunteer shifts are available, covering the duration of the race. Volunteers committing to one full shift will be rewarded with a volunteer T-shirt, coffee mug, and meal ticket. If you are interested in volunteering for this event or would like additional details, please contact Granny Gear Productions at (304) 259-5533. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age.

About M. Scott Smith

M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.

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Reader Comments

Jamie
April 4, 2002
I think the dates are June 26-29, 2002.
DCSki Reader
June 5, 2002
Scott
June 5, 2002
The 11th Anual 24 Hours of Snowshoe will be June 29-30, 2002. This article was published on May 13, 2001, prior to last year's 24 Hours of Snowshoe race.

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