More than 1,600 riders from across the country and beyond are set to take on the Kona Bikes 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo relay mountain bike race in Arizona.
All categories – team, duo and solo – have been filled for the event, which takes place north of Tuscon on Feb. 13 and 14. The popularity of the 11-year-old 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo comes from the fast and flowing Sonoran desert singletrack and “the chill vibe” in “24-Hour Town,” said Todd Sadow, president of Epic Rides, which puts on the event.
“The registration numbers tell us that even in down economic times people still value the quality of life derived from the great outdoors,” said Sadow.
As in the past 10 editions, the 2010 event will utilize the same course, which combines 10 miles of singletrack with Jeep roads to provide a 16-mile loop. The course is challenging without intimidating intermediate level riders, Sadow said.
In 2009, the four-man team of brothers Sam and Andy Schultz, Jeff Herrera and Chris Suter defeated the Kona squad of Ryan Trebon, Barry Wicks, Kris Sneddon and Matthew Slaven to take the overall team prize. Evan Plews took home top honors in the solo men’s category. Plews outlasted Ian Leitch by half an hour, and completed one more lap than former winner Tinker Juarez. Sarah Kaufmann won the women’s solo prize.
The Eleventh Annual Kona Bikes 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo is dedicated to Stan Koziatek, founder of Stan’s NoTubes. Koziatek is responsible for introducing the tubeless tire conversion system to the mountain bike industry. Sadow said that as the country’s largest 24-hour mountain bike event — located in the Sonoran Desert — the tubeless innovation means more time riding and less time fixing flats.
In addition to stimulating the local economy with an influx of approximately 3,000 visitors, the Kona Bikes 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo raises funds for local nonprofits, including the Arizona Cancer Center, the Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition and several trail advocacy organizations including the Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists, the International Mountain Bicycling Association and the Arizona Trail. In recent years, the event has averaged more than $20,000 in funds raised for the various charities.