Pinkham Notch, NH – Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center welcomed back the 24 Hours of Great Glen for its 20th and final edition on August 8th and 9th, 2015. The unique mountain bike race, wrapped into a weekend-long mountain bike festival enticed intermediate and hardcore racers to tackle the single-track and carriage roads of Great Glen Trails at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road.
The race that began 20 years ago as one of the many unique events at Great Glen Trails, had matured over the years into a world-class cycling event which has drawn riders from all over the United States and Canada. But due to changing times and decreasing numbers event organizers felt the 20th anniversary was the correct time to begin looking ahead to a new event.
This year saw 179 teams take the start in either the 12 hour or the 24 hour version of the bike race on a 9.1 mile course that snakes around the base of the northeast’s highest peak, Mount Washington. Riders completed 2717 laps which totaled 24,724 miles and approximately 3,219,645 ft or 608 miles in elevation gain. To put the total number of miles ridden during this year’s race in perspective, the equatorial circumference of the Earth is 24,901 miles, just 177 more miles than the total distance covered in this year’s race.
“Although the decision to make the 20th year the finale was difficult, times continue to evolve and we’re looking to evolve with them.” said Howie Wemyss, General Manager for Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center and the Mount Washington Auto Road. “It has been especially difficult for our staff which has worked so hard over the years to perfect race weekend, but we feel confident that the time is right to head in a new direction.”
This year the 24-hour race was won by Team Pure Adrenaline with a total of 35 laps completed and 318 miles travelled. Team captain Billy Biscan, from Haverhill, MA was joined by teammates Brian Oickle, Durham, ME; Eric Oickle, Falmouth, ME; and Jack Perry, Brewster, MA.
Team BikeReg, last year’s overall winner, took second place with 34 laps and rode a total of 309 miles. Team captain Ross Krause from Easthampton, MA was joined by Evan Huff, Southampton, MA; Colin Reuter, Easthampton, MA; and Jay Gump from Conway, MA.
The 5-Person Co-Ed team, Red Jersey Ghost Hogs, made up of mostly local riders from the Conway area, battled to the end with 3 other teams eventually winning sole possession of third place in their division with 28 laps. Team captain Mike Malkin from Conway, joined forces with Erik Nelson from Intervale; Jon McDougal from North Conway; Shawn Waters from North Conway; and Melissa Linne from Franklin, MA.
In the solo category of the 24 hour portion, top honors went to Jonathan Sturm from Gorham, ME who won with a total of 25 laps. In the overall solo women’s category, Elizabeth Bove, from Woodstock, CT, took top honors with 17 laps total. In the men’s solo single speed division Andrew Lysaght from Somerville. MA took the win with 16 laps completed.
“The 12/24 Hours of Great Glen was more than a mountain bike race, it was a great excuse to hang out with friends and family and enjoy a full weekend of riding bikes.” said Chris J. Dunn, Owner & Founder of acidotic RACING, LLC. “We would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to the staff and volunteers of the Mt. Washington Auto Road & Great Glen Trails for 10 incredible years of mountain bike racing at the 12/24 Hours of Great Glen. Our mountain bike team has grown in large part because of the event. We hope to see everyone again very soon.”
For the third year, riders were given the option of maneuvering over a narrow floating bridge crossing Glen Pond to save time on each lap. This year a twist, literally, was added in the form of an S-turn to the bridge. Although a few riders took the plunge off the bridge into chilly, spring-fed waters during practice, all competitors were successful at crossing to the other side during the actual race.
Mother Nature held off any major weather event until competition was completed Sunday afternoon “We were expecting great weather for the weekend and we lucked out with dry conditions during the race followed by a light shower to end the day on Sunday,” said Wemyss.
The 24 Hours of Great Glen is actually many races in one, with both a 12 hour and 24 hour format running at the same time. With so many teams all competing in so many different categories racing all at once, it can be hectic knowing who is in the lead at any time. “In the past we did this all by hand, with scorers keeping laps counts by hand, meaning that the information teams had could be up to an hour or so old.” Explained Wemyss. “However a few years ago we partnered with Granny Gear Productions, who pioneered the 24 hour racing format, and now we use their timing system that uses radio frequency chips to track all the riders in real time. All the results are posted on computer terminals under the festival tent, and they even push that information out to the web in real time. Conceivably a rider could check in on their competition while out on course from their smart-phone. It’s pretty incredible how far this has all come,” Wemyss stated.
In the 12 hour race, which also started at Noon on Saturday and ended at midnight, Team
Cycle Loft took the top step of the podium with a total of 15 laps. Joesph Stein from Concord, MA led the team of Delvis Gomez, Matt Juros and Rich Blair.
Vladimir Capka from Arlington, MA of Team CycleLoft took the win in the 12 hour solo category with a ride of 12 laps. For the women, the 12 hour contest was won by Sarah Vickers from Holden, ME of Team Dave’s World Bike Racing riding 9 laps total.
A race of this nature requires a large crew, and volunteers poured into Pinkham Notch to help out. The event drew on the well-known cadre of local volunteers who kept the event flowing smoothly throughout the 24 hours. Volunteers helped at the timing table where riders check in and out, worked out on course as course marshals, and in general provided support to the competitors.
In addition to the competition out on course the event had a sizable festival component with many side events and competitions for other family members. This year over 100 kids participated in the “24 Minutes of Great Glen”, a junior version which features laps around a mini course just outside the festival tent. “Who’s a Fuzzy Bunny?”, a marshmallow-stuffing contest, a kid’s movie with popcorn under the tent and the always entertaining “Cheese Doodle Toss” helped to round out the weekend and kept families entertained during race times.
This year’s sponsors included the Mt. Washington Auto Road, North Conway Lodging.com, Red Jersey, Stan & Dan Sports, The Bike Shop, Barker Mountain Bikes, Philbricks Sports, Tri-City Bikes, Downeast Bicycles, Danforth Bay Camping & RV Resort, Pearlizum Factory Store, Point 6, Gorham Family Dentistry, Cooper, Gargill & Chant, Singletrack Cycle Shop, Goodale’s Bike Shop, Green Machine Bike Shop, Red Bull, Coke/Dasani.
Bike shops participating in the event included Red Jersey, Stan & Dan Sports, The Bike Shop, acidotic RACING, Barker Mountain Bikes, Philbricks Sports, Tri-City Bikes, Downeast Bicycles, Papa Wheelies, Likin’ Bikin’, Berkshire Outfitters, Rose Bike, and BikeReg.
Complete results, photography and information on the 20th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Great Glen can be found online at www.24hoursofgreatglen.com.
Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire, is found at the base of Mt. Washington sharing facilities with the Mt Washington Auto Road. Offering an abundance of outdoor activities for people at all skill levels, the Center has programs and resources for adventure in every season in the White Mountains. For more information, visit www.GreatGlenTrails.com.