Report by Eddie Clark
Tostado and Kirkland defend 24 hour titles with repeat victories in the solo competition.
(Oct 9 and 10, 2010) MOAB,Utah—The Granny Gear Productions crew once again showed why the 24 Hours of Moab mountain bike race is one of the most prestigious and long living 24 hour races still going. A continual evolution of racer and fan acknowledgement with services that include onsite diversified camping, a 24 hour food court, showers, and even real time race tracking are just some of the extra perks for the lucky 550 (field limited) racers, fans and support people who attend this event. Add in the fabled desert location of Moab, which is a widely recognized international mountain biking Mecca, and this years’ exceptional weather, close racing and a lot of fun were a guarantee for the weekend.
For the 2010, 16th annual 24 Hours of Moab, perfect weather with “manageable” winds, sunny highs in the 70’s, and clear night lows in the 30’s were not only a welcomed change from previous years’ challenging conditions, but it also provided racers optimal riding conditions to give it their all in the unique desert terrain of southeast Utah. “It was the fastest I’ve ever raced it” noted Men’s Solo winner Josh Tostado.
Starting promptly at 12pm on Saturday, all racers started together with a Lemans style running start before mounting their bikes for 24 hours of saddle time. With each lap, racers would ride through the time check station and wave their RFID badge over a RFID receiver to have their actual lap time entered into the real time scoring database. Time keeping officials would also verify the racers name and time at the check station to ensure correct time keeping accuracy. By adopting RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, which works its magic when a microchip inside the lightweight badge comes to life from the latent RF energy of a specific radio wave frequency to transmit it’s presence back to the receiver, actual racer lap times could be seen real-time via the internet and at the time-check tent onsite.
Unsurprisingly, veteran solo racers Josh Tostado of Bach Builders and Kelly Magelky racing for Trek were neck and neck through the first couple laps until Tostado had a mechanical and limped his bike into the pits for a quick swap. Tostado’s four person pit team quickly got to work on the broken bike, and had it ready again after a quick trip into town to acquire a rarely broken linkage bolt. At this point, Magelky assumed the lead and held it going into the night.
“Josh and I both did our homework this year. I think we both came here to win it. I told myself, no matter what I would tear myself inside out to win it, but the thing about Josh is he can climb back no matter what, he’s very resilient, and it’s frustrating. I’m really good friends with Josh, and we were hoping we could battle it out. There was definitely some good attacking going on throughout the race”, said Magelky of his fastest ever 24 hours race in which he finished with 2 more laps than the previous year for 18 laps total, but still second to Tostado again.
“I’ve never raced that hard for 24 hours”, noted a very worn but happy Magelky.
In the women’s solo race, Crested Butte local Jari Kirkland of Alpine Orthopedic took another convincing victory after claiming the lead from second place finisher Kris Cannon of Team Honey Stinger on just the second lap. “Besides being a hurting unit, and the projectile vomit session around 2am, I really like racing my bike for 24 hours. It only takes a couple days to forget how much it hurts “, noted women’s solo winner Kirkland.
Besides being a 24 hour race mountain bike race, it’s also a pit crew marathon of sorts to provide the substantial support which was evidenced by a pit lane that stretched for nearly a mile. For entertainment, several pit crews built little double jumps alongside their respective pit areas, and some even featured fire pits for riders to jump over. In fact, the Honey Stinger team pit #2 and Tostado’s own pit crew had a friendly ‘fire booter’ competition which drew plenty of laughs and cheers throughout the night for racers to partake in. “It’s pretty cool when you pull up and it’s like a football team in the pits”, said Tostado of his 5 person team which had a cheering contingent that was easily twice as large.
In addition to the extraordinary solo efforts, there were also numerous team competitions which accounted for a majority of racer attendance. Winning the pro 4 man team comp with 22 laps was the Honey Stinger/Trek team which featured heavy hitters Ross Schnell, Len Zanni, Jay Henry, and Kalan Beisel. As dusk rolled around, Schnell was just hitting his stride, and succeeded in setting the fastest hot lap on the 14.9 mile course with a time of 57 minutes and 41 seconds. Using a 2x10 SRAM drivetrain, Schnell noted, “It was a surprisingly fun course, it’s pretty physical with a lot of techy zones out there. I was making up time where I could and riding smooth.”
For full results and race info, please visit Granny Gear Productions.
More photos here.