Photo courtesy Granny Gear Productions, Inc.
Last fall I rode 24 Hours of Moab as my first mountain bike race ever. Seeing a tent city pop up in the middle of the desert, riding a fairly technical course at speeds I didn’t think I had in me, and doing it again in the dark while hanging around the start/finish area with my teammates eating food and watching the other racers was collectively the highlight of my mountain biking experience last year.
As a former participant, I am now on their mailing list and I just received a rather disturbing email from Lance Knight, the race director.
After 16 Years, This Year May Be The Last 24 Hours of Moab
In recent years there’s been a trend towards teams signing up later and later. Distressing as this has been, taxing our ability to anticipate and plan for the size of the event, we’ve been gratified to see late registrations consistently pour in, and “save the day.”
This year, going into the last two weeks before the race, our pre-registrations were only slightly down from previous years. That was a little un-nerving but not alarming, given the trend we’ve observed. In previous years we’ve seen 40-60 teams sign up two weeks before the event and fully 75-85 teams sign-up in the final week leading up to the race.
This last week we have seen only 10 additional teams sign up. Now that’s alarming. It does not bode well. While in recent years we have seen fields of well over 350 teams, at the rate things are going, even 300 teams would appear to be an optimistic expectation.
There is no doubt that the economy plays a huge part in how we spend our recreational dollars. For my part, I am purchasing a new bike and taking the family on a much needed vacation. With gas still over $3 a gallon, plus registration and camping fees, 24 Hours of Moab is just not feasible for me this year. “I’ll go next year,” I told myself, and apparently I am not alone. But unless something changes, next year may not happen.
24 Hours of Moab is a tradition among mountain bike endurance races and to see its demise would be tragic. With the race occurring this weekend, it is very short notice for teams to pull together an entry, but there are some things you can do if you’d like to help:
What can you do about it?
a) If at all possible, sign up and field a team in this year’s race.
b) If you can’t race this year, put a shoulder into making 2012 happen
c) If you’d like to make a contribution on behalf of your team, register a “phantom” team.
The Men’s or Women’s Solo Singlespeed class is the lowest entry fee ($162 total).
An inordinately large “turn-out” for the solo singlespeed class would certainly send a clear message about the support for the continuation of the event. (Even if you don’t show up, we’ll mail you this year’s T-shirt!)
Let’s see what we can do to save this iconic mountain bike race. If you’ve ridden it in the past and loved it, if you plan to do it “someday,” or if you just hate to see traditions die, please consider helping out.
You can read the race director’s complete message here.
And you can register for the race here.