World Tour Report: 24 Hours of Big Bear

 Total Laps completed 1,832

Total distance traveled 23,449.6 miles

Total elevation gain 2,986,160 ft (565.56 miles)

We just returned from another great weekend of 24 hour racing at Big Bear Campground near Hazelton, WV.  Rolling in around noon on Friday, we saw that many riders arrived early to set up camp and to prepare for the festivities.  This year’s riders lucked out with cool and comfortable days, although rain from earlier in the week lingered as puddles on the old airstrip campground and trails. By Friday evening, the trails were soon churned up by hundreds of riders eager to preview the course.  Soon after dark, hundreds of radios were blaring the Pen’s game. Although we weren’t equipped with a radio, we were kept in-the-know by the crazed shouting and horns in the camp area. Go Pens!

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From the early morning on Saturday through the afternoon of Sunday, there were few dull moments. Even when trying to doze through the night, we could hear riders talking about experiences out on the trail or cursing about unexpected light malfunctions. Between the trials competitions, 24 minutes of Big Bear, and the 12 hour race, there were many events to either partake in or watch.One of the most memorable aspects of this weekend was hearing about a rider who has overcome adversity. This incredible and admirable rider is Matt Gilman.  Several years ago Matt became blind due to his diabetes, yet he has persevered and relearned how to trials ride. Since he can only see about a foot in front of him, he carefully inspects the course with his hands before each competition. Check out these links to learn more about Matt and the trials competition.

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Although the campground, exhibitors, vendors, result tent, and transition area were bustling through the entire weekend, a rider on the race course could feel miles away from civilization riding in the darkness of the night.  The course was rocky and rooty with peanut buttery muddy sections.  Since the weather held up so nicely, by the time we rode on Sunday late afternoon the trail started to improve.  Because we were out with the last riders, we had a chance to talk to some of the race volunteers at the aid stations.  What a great group of people!One of the best parts of the World Tour events is hanging out with the friends of DR at our expo tent.   As always we had a great number of renewals and new subscribers.  This year our sponsors provided some great treats for them.  Princeton Tec provided the Swerve Tail light, Fuel Headlamp, and EOS Bike Light. WTB supplied GTO clamp-on-grips, Technical Trail grips, Prowler tires, Wolverine Tires, and tubes.

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Overall the event was great fun. We had a chance to hand deliver some tasty Troegenator to new friends we made while crashing their camp fires during our night hike. We had the chance to meet and talk about the race with spectators and racers.  And we had a chance to enjoy the trails.  If you haven’t participated in a 24 hour race yet, you’re missing out on an interesting and entertaining experience to say the least.  Check out the gallery.

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Photos By Matt Kasprzyk

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