August brings about the annual 24 hour MTB race hosted by MORC and this year’s title sponsor, Salsa. While there are an assortment of team and solo categories for the 24 hour race, there are additional options if you want to get your endurance racing feet wet, with a 4 or 8 hour category.
The race takes place at Afton Alps, a 7.5 mile course consisting of long uphill switchbacks, technical descending and, of course, the infamous Manhandler, 400ft of continuous climbing. Afton graciously permits camping on-site as well as use of their chalets, thus providing bathroom facilities and potable water access.
MORC’s volunteer army is responsible for race organization, which includes prepping the trail (plenty of help from LCR), providing dinner and breakfast for all of the racers, organizing a live music schedule, having trail patrol for first aid, and keeping up racer motivation with heckling at the top of Manhandler.
A cloudy day and early morning thunderstorm led to perfect conditions for most of the day, keeping the trail in tacky condition. The race kicked off at 10AM, with a Le Mans start. Riders had to position their bikes in a pit, take off their front wheel and line up. After getting the signal to ‘GO’, riders had to run halfway up a ski hill, round a corner and then run back down the hill to their bikes, where they had to put their wheel back on. The start helps to spread out the riders as the race dumps immediately into tight singletrack with a grinding uphill climb.
Starting around midnight, a fog started to roll in, which left only a few feet of visibility and decreased the effectiveness of riders’ lighting systems. However, by dawn the worst of the fog had burned off, leaving a cool bright morning to end the race.
There were many great prizes donated including a frameset from Angry Catfish and lights from Nite Rider (full sponsor list). On-site support was provided by Freewheel and Penn (who graciously helped yours truly with a bent disc rotor) and unlimited light charging and rental was provided by Nite Rider. Unlimited coffee (and some chocolate if you were lucky to snag it) was provided by Equal Exchange.
4-person team: Peace Coffee Racing
2-person team: Paul’s Bike Repair
4-person Co-ed: Team F-Bom
4-person Veteran: LCR Misphits
Solo Man: Alan Ebbert
Solo Woman: Kjerstie Wiltzen