Preview: World solo 24-hour mountain bike championships

Riders will take to the trail Saturday for 24 straight hours  Credit: Trilife International
Set high (4,200 feet) in the San Bernardino National Forest, just outside Idyllwild, Calif., Hurkey Creek Park a relatively new found mountain bike destination, will host the World Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin Championships on Saturday. The $15,000 cash purse awarded will be the largest solo cash Purse in 24-hour history.

The Idyllwild is an extreme endurance championship event in its second year will bring together 45 top qualified soloists from around the world. Previously held in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, solo competitors battled extreme weather conditions such as down pouring rain and freezing temperatures which forced many of the athletes to drop out of the race.

It is a technical roller coaster style course that combines rocky single-track, fast downhill sections and climbs that twists through desert brush and force athletes to stay alert at all times so that loose rocks and/or ruts do not leave athletes injured and or out of the race. This year, moving the event to Southern California has brought relief to many competitors but with hot temperatures forecast for the region the riders may have more deal than the pain and suffering that 24-hours in the saddle will bring. The athlete with the most laps completed in the 24-hour period will be crowned the champion.

Recent inductee into the Mountain Bike Hall of FameJohn Stamstad will be will be amoung the top competitors. Stamstad, who was inducted into the hall for his endurance accomplishments, placed third in 1999 at the World Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin Championships. He is currently the all-time leader with 24-hour event victories.

Other strong competitors looking to do anything to beat Stamstad will be Nat Ross of Boulder, Colo.; Pat Norwil of Mazama, Wash.; Mike Curiak of Crested Butte, Colo.; and up and comer Jon Dalman of Salinas, Calif. Also one-legged Brett Wolfe from Seattle, Wash., is putting in one last solo performance at the event. Rishi Grewal, the 1999 World Solo Champion retired after the event last year and will not be competing this year.

In the women's field, Chloe Lanthier, defending World Solo Champion will have to fight of second and third place finishers from 1999, Katie Lindquist and Monica Nelson and the likes of the tough Denver rider Cristina Begy.

On the international front, Roman Urbina, an extreme multi-sport athlete from Costa Rica is back for a second year. Newcomers from the international field will be Chris Eatough, from Britain who currently races for the Trek/Volkswagen Team, Paul Van Der Heide of New Zealand and two time RAAM (Race Across America) winner Wolfgang Fasching of Austria.

While there is only a small select number of athletes competing, race promoter Stuart Dorland indicated that they turned away many athletes who did not meet the qualification procedures laid out to compete for this prestigious title. Athletes had to qualify through one of the 24 Hours of Adrenalin events or through "Official Qualifier" events.

Official Qualifiers events included 24-Hour Mountain Bike Race in Spokane, Wash., 24 Hours of Afton, 24 Hours of Allamouchy, the Cascade Cream Puff 100-mile race, 12 Hours at the Summit and the Brian Head Epic 100.

Trilife Sports International began running the 24 Hours of Adrenalin series in 1994. They have partnered with NORBA to introduce the first 24-hour National Championship and have expanded to 10 events across North America.

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