| Event finale marks the end of an era while providing a look to the future.
Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center has announced that the 20th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Great Glen, which will be held on August 7th, 8th and 9th, will be their final 24-Hour race. The weekend-long race, which began as one of the many off-the-wall events at Great Glen Trails, has matured over the years into a world-class cycling event which draws riders from all over the United States and Canada.
The 12 and 24-hour long mountain bike race wrapped into a themed, weekend-long mountain bike festival, is currently one of the largest and longest-running 24 hour bike races in the country and has enticed intermediate and hardcore racers to the single-track and carriage roads of Great Glen Trails at the base of Mt. Washington. Event officials believe that the 20th anniversary of the race offers the best opportunity to mark the end of an era while looking forward to the future.
“This is without a doubt the funnest event we put on here during the year. We’ve managed to adapt to changing times over the years and keep it going as a great family event but times continue to evolve and we’re looking to evolve with them so this will be the final year so we can make room for a new annual event to be announced later,” said Howie Wemyss, General Manager for Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center and the Mount Washington Auto Road. “We’ll be going out big with what will be a really fun western theme, a great party on Friday night, and the addition of some great sponsors to help us celebrate these 20 years.”
In addition to the competition out on course the event now has a sizable festival component with many side family-friendly events and competitions. Each year the race has followed a particular theme to add to the the excitement and to entice additional participation from racers, family, friends and spectators.
For 2015, event coordinators at Great Glen have chosen a western, rodeo-style theme. A Friday evening anniversary celebration will be added this year as a thank you for 20 years of racing. Friday evening entertainment will include live music under the big top by the Chris White Band, the opportunity to ride a mechanical bull, a kids evening fun bike course (no lights required), and free kayaking on the pond. The celebration will be complimentary for racers and their families/support crew while a limited number of tickets will be offered to the general public. Barbecue will be available at additional cost by Glen View Café, and BYOB will be allowed.
Red Bull athlete Tim Johnson, a six-time national cyclocross medal winner, 2-time Mt. Washington Bicycle Hillclimb winner and a Global Bicycle advocate, will enter a team in the race for the 20th celebration. “As a fellow New Englander, this event means a lot to me.” said Johnson. “In my years as a professional cyclist, this race has always kept its place as a great east coast event. The 24 Hours of Great Glen will challenge the best of them!”
Red Bull Energy Drink will also have a presence throughout the weekend to help provide competitors the energy and stamina needed to perform at their best during the grueling 24 hour race. Red Bull plans to bring their MXT, a giant military-style vehicle that transforms into a state-of-the art sound system and multi-media center plus DJ booth.
The race course takes riders over the carriage roads of Great Glen combined with single track through birch forests and spruce woodlands. Riders are given the option of maneuvering over a narrow, floating S-turn bridge crossing Glen Pond to save time on each lap. For the first time, the bridge will be lit up at night so riders can safely cross throughout the night.
“The 24 Hours of Great Glen has been a part of my life since 1997.” mentions Sven Cole, long-time racer in the region. “My children have grown up around the race, I’ve grown up around the race. It is a race like no other, the community, the venue, the people- it’s such a great vibe.” Cole continues. “The course has evolved over the years and it is now the best it has ever been. For those who have never done the race – do it. If you don’t you will regret it. If you’ve done it before – do it again, if you don’t you’ll regret it.”
In 2014, the race saw 132 teams take the start in either the 12 hour or the 24 hour version of the bike race on a 9.1 mile course that snakes around the base of the northeast’s highest peak, Mount Washington. Riders completed 2,065 laps which totaled 18,790 miles and approximately 2,447,000 ft or 463 miles in elevation gain. Last year over 90 kids participated in the “24 Minutes of Great Glen”, a junior version which features laps around a mini course just outside the festival tent.
Past results, photography and additional information on the 20th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Great Glen can be found online at http://www.24hoursofgreatglen.com, http://www.facebook.com/24hoursofgreatglen, or by calling (603) 466-2333.
This year’s sponsors include Red Bull Energy Drinks, Red Jersey Cyclery, The Bike Shop, Dasani, Coca-Cola, Downeast Cyclery, Danforth Bay Camping & RV Resort, Gorham Family Dentistry, Cooper Cargill Chant, and Down East Bicycle.
Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire, is found at the base of Mt. Washington. Offering an abundance of outdoor activities for people at all skill levels, the Center has programs and resources for adventure in every season in the White Mountains. For more information, visit http://www.GreatGlenTrails.com.
|A competitor crosses the floating s-turn bridge over Glen Pond during the
19th annual 24 Hours of Great Glen. Complete information can be found at www.24hoursofgreatglen.com
Photo credit: “Great Glen Trails photo library