Gearing Up for 24 Hours of Snowshoe
Author thumbnail By M. Scott Smith, DCSki Editor

There aren’t many races like it in the world. On June 29, mountain bikers from across the country will converge on West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort to participate in a 24-hour relay race. The ropes will drop at noon on Saturday, June 29, and participants will try to log as many laps as they can through the evening, night, and following morning. The race will conclude twenty four hours later, at noon on Sunday, June 30.

The event, operated by Granny Gear Productions, is expected to draw 500 teams, 50 solo riders, and over 20,000 spectators to the Pocohontas County resort. Organizers are anxious to welcome racers and spectators, but have left rain out of the invitation.

In recent years, spring rains have turned parts of the race course to mud, resulting in some complaints from riders. Granny Gear Productions has been making a big effort to ensure that mud won’t sour the race this year.

In a letter to racers early this year, Laird Knight, President of Granny Gear Productions, explained that $30,000 was being budgeted for materials, equipment and construction staff to combat the possibility of wet conditions. Since then, race organizers and volunteers have been busy preparing the course, working to build a sustainable trail bed through techniques such as bench cutting or “turnpiking,” where the trail bed is built up with mineral soils and mixed aggregates. The course is located at the Silver Creek area of Snowshoe Mountain Resort.

The date of the race has also been moved to late June, giving the course a better opportunity to dry out from spring precipitation. These efforts should improve the overall quality of the course, although rain during the event is always an unwelcome possibility.

A carnival-like atmosphere will be present at the race this year, helping to entertain not just racers but spectators as well. The theme is “The Three Ring Circus of Cycling,” and it will be backed up by booking some of the best cycling acts in the country. Music and other events will be on tap throughout the weekend.

24 Hours of Snowshoe is one of three relay races sponsored each year by Granny Gear Productions. On August 24 and 25, the 24 Hours of Tahoe race will be held on the west coast, followed by the most famous race of all, the classic 24 Hours of Moab, October 12 and 13 in Moab, Utah.

Each of the three courses offers a distinct set of challenges, but most racers feel that the Snowshoe course offers the most challenging race with its varying conditions, elevation changes, and tree roots.

Although many teams take the race seriously, a lighthearted atmosphere accompanies the event, with most teams happy just to participate in the race. Teams this year are given their own web space on Granny Gear Production’s web site; many have shown their creativity.

Snowshoe has a busy summer on tap. The NORBA National Championship Series Mountain Bike Race will be held the weekend preceding 24 Hours of Snowshoe, June 20-23. 2000 professional and amateur riders are expected to participate in that event. Die-hard mountain bike enthusiasts will be tempted to attend both races, spending 9 days in mountain biking bliss. Between the two races, there will be events such as mountain biking clinics, as well as all the miles of mountain bike trails in Pocahontas County, ready to explore. Snowshoe will be offering discounted lodging packages.

DCSki/DCBike will be on hand to provide coverage of 24 Hours of Snowshoe; check back following the race for a complete wrapup.

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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