More than 4,000 athletes, support crew and spectators are expected in Moab, Utah this weekend for the 2009 USA Cycling 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championships, in conjunction with the 24 Hours of Moab.
Prior to the addition of an American-only national championship race, the 24-Hours of Moab has a 14-year history as one of the most popular mountain bike races in North America. The annual event offers more than US$50,000 in cash and prizes.
The course is a mix of high-speed double-track, technical sections and sand traps. The roughly 15-mile loops have nearly 1,400 feet of climbing per lap.
“We’re really looking forward to providing the kind of production quality deserved of a national championship,” explained Laird Knight, president of Granny Gear Productions, organisers of the event. “We will have live, real-time scoring available on-site as well as via the web, so fans all over the world can follow the progress of their favourite team.”
The 15th annual 24 Hours of Moab will also be the last hurrah for six-time 24-hour solo champ Chris Eatough (Trek), who will have his hands full at the race, as current 24 Hour National Point Series leader Brandon Draugelis and 2008 Moab champion Josh Tostado will be also be present. Recently, Eatough announced that he will retire from professional cycling following the 2009 24 Hours of Moab.
“Based on the increased participation, this year’s event is also shaping up to have the largest cash purse in the history of 24-Hour racing, topping $24,000. We’re also deeply honored to have Chris Eatough making this his last hurrah.”
As a part of the event Pua Sawicki (Ellsworth), winner of three of the past four 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championships, will attempt to become the first-ever female record holder in the Guinness Book of World Records for the “most miles ridden in 24 hours on a mountain bike.” Sawicki recently became one of the only Americans ever to land inside the top 10 at the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships in Austria, finishing seventh.
Thirteen different classes will race for the Stars-and-Stripes and designation as USA Cycling 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Champion. Racers must compete in one of the championship categories to earn this honour and must hold (or obtain) a current USA Cycling racing license. Also, the national championship is up for grabs by American riders only. National championship classes will also be competing within 24-hour series classes with matching criteria.
For more information, visit www.grannygear.com.