The 10th annual 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo leaves us with great memories… and a lot to clean up!
On my Bicycle Zodiac, this event marks my New Year’s Day. I’ve been making this Sonoran pilgrimage for three years now, each time leaving me yearning for next year. It’s that good.
Matt and I had been making plans for it between my shop work time and his Solar Decathalon work time… on Wednesday we came up with a loose plan. By Thursday we were loading the adventure Subaru and the box trailer with gear. Lots of it. Bikes, check. Shade structure, check. Espresso machine, check. Bourbon, check. Sunglasses, check. Totally bitchin’ signage and extra style- check, got it in spades…
I headed up Thursday afternoon to get a jump on the expo setup- by that time 24 Hour Town had already grown into a city! From the Willow Springs turnoff (10 miles of dirt road from the highway) I could see a mass of vehicles and tents set up like a two-wheeled Burning Man. The energy was apparent from miles away. As I got closer, smiling cyclists zipped around, in and out of their campsites and heading Arriving at the race venue, the volunteer staff gave a warm welcome and helped me set up our signage and shade structure. The vehicle pass came with step-by-step directions to hanging loose:
Matt and I worked the Siren booth, showing off the bikes, setting up demo rides, and hanging out with friends. Occasionally, we’d take a quick stroll onto the course to cheer on the racers. The relaxed atmosphere made it easy to do all this at the same time. This is one of the major upsides to working in the bike industry- business agreements can be sealed with the shake of a muddy, gloved hand… and it’s perfectly acceptable to discuss a customer’s future frame build over a beer.
Matt came out to the booth Friday, running errands on the ExtraSiren…
We set up the frame fixture, with Todd Carpenter’s prototype Firm Tail jigged up in place. The Bulleit was never too far away…
Katie- the proud owner of one of the prettiest bikes I’ve done in recent memory– was part of the winning 4 person female team, (ahem) Pussy Power. She was seen from time to time traipsing around the venue in her dapper new Siren Track Jacket, being fabulous. Thanks to Katie for letting us borrow her lovely bike for the weekend… and for helping haul other people’s bikes back to Tucson. 🙂
Speaking of track jackets- Dave and Yumi of Pedal One Long put together a fantastic array of soft goods for us. The track jackets sold out very quickly… but tees and handbags remain. I’m so very, very happy with the work they’ve done for us. Get ’em while they’re hot.
Sunset over 24 Hour Town. We closed up shop shortly after sundown, and took a stroll out on the course to visit with racers as they prepared for the long night ahead. We visited with Krista from Voices, and Mel and her husband as she spun records at the KXCI booth, which was broadcasting live in 24 Hour Town. We were fast asleep in down sleeping bags at a reasonable time… as racers began to crack on the cold, dusty course. The race was largely determined by 4am…
We rose with the sun, and set up shop.
We quickly learned that Todd had made major progress through the night- moving up from 9th to 4th in the coldest, darkest time of night… Time and again, this is the story of Todd’s success. When others crack, he waits patiently and presses on- consistent laps like clockwork.
He piloted his Song 55 and Fifty-Five hardtail around the course for 16 laps- 256 miles for a strong 5th place finish in a seriously stacked field. This race has become one of the premier 24 hour events- virtually everyone who’s anyone in the 24 hour solo scene was here. Congrats to Todd for the strong performance. It was great to see Todd and his boy, Finn, up there on the podium.This guy never ceases to amaze me with his superheroic physical stamina… what’s even more impressive is his never-failing good attitude. In a world of great bike racers, this man distinguishes himself in character and class. Todd and Bonnie, his wife and pit boss, made the trip after work at Idyllwild Arts Academy on Friday… I’m proud to have him on my bikes.
Dave Harris, the y-chromosome of 2-Epic, also put on a strong show aboard a prototype (and yet un-named) Siren Firm Tail singlespeed. Unfortunately, stomach problems stopped his ride short in the middle of the night.
The other half of 2-Epic (aka “Life in Stereo), Lynda Wallenfels, absolutely crushed the female solo field- on a singlespeed. I would LOVE to see her on a Song SL… 🙂
Jen from Albuquerque stopped by the booth for a visit. She’s a proud owner of a Hydra singlespeed… perhaps the lightest bike we’ve turned out at 2.9 lbs with sliding dropouts. She likes to go fast.
Spiker was seen around 24 hour town looking dangerous… proud owner of a Trauco. (in fact, his is the one on gooseberry mesa, in the photo on the Trauco page) Team Hosiecow sent him out for the first lap- good pick if you ask me, as he was among the very first on the bike at the lemans start, and came in on the heels of some of the fastest pros on course…
Congrats to Mary, now racing for my alma mater, taking 3rd in the women’s solo field after a tough night. She was taken off course after literally going blind on the bike. After a few hours rest she was back on course.
Jruss of Sabrosa was there, with his extremely cute daughter Noel. I’m looking forward to picking his brain for some upcoming steel projects… 😉 Solid, awesome dude who makes some gorgeous bikes. Thanks much for the help on Friday.
Dan Maloney in his natural state- dirty, desheveled, smiling… raising his bottle in a toast!
These two handsome gents look familiar…
We packed up the adventure Subaru and box trailer and got out of 24 Hour Town at a reasonable hour. Big thanks go out to everyone who helped carry bikes and gear back to town for us. Brad Majors and his friend Sean from Chicago… From Tucson: Ryan, Spiker, Katie, James & Stephanie, Chris… and of course the Epic Rides staff- especially Brad and Heather. A million thanks. We may have hit that point in our company’s growth when we need to start considering other means of transport- but that’s a good problem to have!
Monday– everything is dusty, dirty… worn. Even as a non-racer, I feel a vicarious endorphin buzz. I’m especially happy to be able to call the 24HOP my local race- with this New Year of Cycling passed, I’m looking forward a bright and prosperous time here in Tucson. People and the outdoors are a recipe for a great time, and there’s plenty of both here.
See you out there next year!