HURRICANE, UTAH – While most people were enjoying an extra hour of sleep Sunday morning, a group of devoted mountain bikers were racing among the red desert mesa’s of southwestern Utah.
Billed as the longest one-day race ever, thanks to the shift from Daylight Savings Time, 25 Hours of Frog Hollow also claims to have the longest hours of darkness (about 13) of any 24 hour event. To top it off the race is set against some of the finest scenery anywhere in the Southwest, with the towering cliffs of Zion National Park serving as backdrop to the event.
“It all starts local, we’re here to showcase our awesome scenery and this time of year is just perfect,” race organizer Cimarron Chacon said.
Indeed word seems to be getting out about the small grassroots event, now in its second year. This year’s race saw participants double to 140.
“What I like about this race is how wide open the course is and that there aren’t a million people. Places like Moab are crowded and dusty, this is really simple,” John Hernandez of Smithfield, Utah said. “Next year we plan on bringing more people down.”
The weekend also brought news that the 21-mile Hurricane Cliffs Trail System was one of six recently announced IMBA Epics for 2010. The race course traversed six of those sweet miles, with an almost equal mix of single and doubletrack. Racers were especially raving about the five-mile descent on the JEM trail.
“It’s kind of like the Colorado-thing where you’re on a jeep track, but after that it’s some of the fastest and swoopiest singletrack on the planet, and of course you’ve got views of Zion in the background,” Dave Harris of St George, Utah said.
“The thing is, climbing on a dirt road is not bad, and it was really scenic,” K.C. Holley of Spanish Fork, Utah said. “That rocky section just kicked your trash,”
For race organizer Cimarron Chacon, the recent news from IMBA was the culmination of a number of years of hard work.
“For me this is kind of a life’s project,” she said “The trail system was designed over a six year period. It’s the embodiment of great desert riding,”
The extra hour of racing and the extended period of dark certainly did not stop racers from pulling in fast laps all weekend long. With the average lap time hovering around the hour mark and better, the overall fastest lap of the weekend came from 16-year-old US National Mountain Bike Champion Keegan Swenson at 44:47. In fact Swenson rolled the three fastest laps of the weekend, all within 45 seconds of his fastest time.
The fastest Solo Male of the weekend was William Martin, a.k.a. Muleterro, riding 20 laps in 24:02:44.
The fastest Solo Female of the weekend was Kiki Hutchins riding 12 laps in 25:41:37. “I just kept going, I didn’t sleep that much. I think that’s the only reason I beat some of these ladies because they’re pretty fast,” she said.
Top Solo Singlespeed Male winner Jamon Whitehead rode 17 laps in 25:11:58 “The thing about the solo race is you don’t have to be the fastest, you just need to keep going,” he said.
Solo Singlespeed Female winner Sarah Rarick rode 10 laps in 25:11:43.
Overall top laps completed for the weekend went to the Dolly’s Endurance team consisting of Nathan Miller, Keegen Swensen, Christopher Peters and Troy Lupch. They rode 30 laps in 25:44:17.
For complete results go to 25 Hour of Frog Hollow 2010 Results