Time to search for a race and get some old riding buddies back together. But the 24 hour race pickings are slim. Over the past 10 years, the big production 24 Hours of Moab and 24 Hours of Adrenalin have vanished and the overall number of 24 hour races is way down. I eventually find the 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest, outside Gallup, New Mexico. The course and venue look great and, importantly, the local promoter looks committed to all participants.
|Magical night lights at the 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest. (photo by ziarides.com)
Over the next few months, however, the grand plan unravels. My teammates from the past enjoy reconnecting, but none commit to another 24 hour race out in the sticks of New Mexico. Our active teenage daughters have schedules and plans of their own, which not surprisingly do not include much enthusiasm for this trip. It started to look like it may be a solo trip, not only to Denver, but also to Gallup. I question the purpose of this endeavor.
Then, the promoters announce that the 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest would be the U.S. National Championship, as sanctioned by USA Cycling. Ugg. I'd had my fill of that organization over the years of both road and mountain bike racing, with its top down, heavy handed dictation, myopic focus on elite racers and open contempt for everyone else. For my grand plan teetering on the brink, it was too much.
|When USA Cycling latched on, I bailed out. All for the best. (photo by ziarides.com)
As usual, it all turned out for the best. Lightening and flash floods struck the race and USA Cycling clumsily stepped all over the promoters and racers to impose their will and turned a tough situation much worse. Had I been there, it would have been an exercise in exasperation. So, after dodging that debacle, now what?