The Kona Bikes 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo relay mountain bike race, scheduled for February 13-14, begins its second decade with a full complement of riders. All categories, team, duo and solo, have been filled for the event, which takes place near Willow Springs Ranch, north of Tucson.
Now in its eleventh year, 24 hours in Old Pueblo has become a must-do winter mountain bike vacation destination for mountain bikers from all over of the world. Its popularity comes from the fast and flowing Sonoran desert singletrack, some signature challenges along the course, and the enthusiasm of the town when celebrating the mountain bike lifestyle.
"The registration numbers tell us that even in down economic times people still value the quality of life derived from the great outdoors," said Todd Sadow, president of Epic Rides. "Bringing people together in a positive environment to celebrate the many benefits we enjoy as mountain bicyclists."
In addition to stimulating the local economy with an influx of approximately 3,000 visitors, the event raises funds for local nonprofits, including the Arizona Cancer Center, the Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition and several trail advocacy organizations including the Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists, the International Mountain Bicycling Association and the Arizona Trail. In recent years, the event has averaged more than $20,000 in funds raised for the various charities.
An anticipated 1,600 plus riders from across the country and beyond will compete in the event. Marco Copelli, a seasoned Italian endurance racer with 43 24-hour events on his resume, will be attending for his first time. After missing last year due to conflicts, he's excited to make it happen this year.
The Eleventh Annual Kona Bikes 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo is dedicated to Stan Koziatek. Stan is responsible for introducing the tubeless tyre conversion system to the mountain bike industry, and for driving the impetus to use tubeless tyres on dirt.