“Galactic” mountain bike championships for Moab

By John Stevenson, international editor | Friday, February 22, 2008 5.00am

Endurance race promoter Granny Gear Productions is planning its own version of a 24-hour world championships on October 11-12 in Moab, Utah, USA. In a tongue-in-cheek poke at the other endurance racing world championships out there, organiser Laird Knight is billing his event as the galactic championship.

“It doesn't really matter what the race is called,” said Knight. “The fact is that if it draws the top pros from all over to a legendary course, then it's the de facto world championships regardless.

“But we thought, why stop there? I like a "Galactic" Championship. While we know that 24-hour racing has spread across the globe, it's not yet certain if it popularity has propagated from Earth to other planets in the Galaxy, but it is possible. And, as soon as we hear of any 24s on another planet, we will send them an invitation, too.”

To attract the world’s best, Knight is offering a cash purse expected to be over US$30,000, and will host a rider's forum on Friday night, to discuss possibilities for the future of national and international 24-hour racing. Granny Gear Productions is receiving suggestions for agenda items now.

The race will be held at the ‘Behind the Rocks’ trail at Moab, traditional venue for the 24 Hours of Moab, one of the seminal 24-hour races. The 24km (13.9-mile) course has 335m of climbing each lap.

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In fact, the Galactic 24-hour championships is the 2008 24-hours of Moab. Knight said he stepped up the rating of the 14-year-old event “by popular demand.”

Knight explained, “I've been asked by many pro racers and industry people, and basically been told: 'you should be running the world championships.' This request is something I've heard increasingly over the past two years. This year it built to a point where the call to action was clear, I felt compelled to deliver that for people.”

Unlike most disciplines in cycling, there is no world championship for 24-hour racing that is sanctioned by the sports world governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The UCI is believed to be uninterested in sanctioning ultra-endurance events.

Some riders have nevertheless considered the Moab event to be a de facto world championships because of its seniority. However, the kudos of that title has largely flowed to the 24 Hours of Adrenalin World Solo 24 Hour Championships. That event takes place in Canmore, Alberta Canada this year on 26 July.

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