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Here's the Skinny on the New Snowshoe Course, Camping and Other Important Info
May. 16, 2000

(This communique' was mailed on 5/15/00 to all registered racers who had turned in their Accident Waivers. There was an error in the section on
Pre-Riding the course regarding trail use fees. Please note the correction in this version of the letter which is being posted here to make this same information available to anyone who did not receive the mailing. This is important information for anyone planning to attend as a racer, volunteer, support crew, or even as a spectator.)

Toyota 24 Hours of Snowshoe

Howdy 24-hour mountain bike racing fans,

We?re mailing this communiqu? because our ?snail mail? list is still the most complete address book of registered racers that we have, and we want to make sure that this information is received by as many of our participants as possible. If any of your teammates do not receive this, they can read it online in the ?current news? section of .

To reduce waste and expense, we are using broadcast e-mails as much as possible.

I just got back from setting the course at Snowshoe and I have much to report about the course and the camping. I know that everyone is excited to hear about the course, so I?ll get right to that.

The Course
I am very pleased to tell you that we have nothing short of a world-class course. It?s 11.3 miles with 1,500 feet of climbing. That?s nine-tenths of a mile shorter and 300 feet less climbing than the Canaan course. What the course has lost in distance and climbing, it has made up in technical single track. With four uphills (three hard packed doubletrack climbs and one single track climb), five singletrack downhills (3 rolling and 2 steep), and one level, high-speed, hard-packed doubletrack section, the course has a nice rhythm. Some of the climbs are steep but none of the climbs are very long.

Technical Riding
This course will raise the bar for less skilled riders, not because the technical sections are that much harder than the most technical sections of Canaan but because, overall, there are more miles of technical riding. Practicing your technical riding skills will deliver a big pay-off at this race. Find the rootiest, rockiest, singletrack you can and learn to flow your bike through it. There?s is a technique called ?pinballing? that will really come in handy. Pinballing is when you read the terrain and realize that the deflection of your front wheel off of one object, which might normally throw you for a loop, can be counteracted by the deflection off of the next object in your path.

Get a friend who is a good technical rider to show you some of the finer points of his/her technique. Specifically, work on reading the terrain, staying loose, using your momentum, using a slightly bigger gear to torque through rough sections, steering and counter-steering, front and back brake-steering, and using ?body english.?

Re-think if you think you should
If you think that the Canaan course was (or would have been) over your head, then the Snowshoe course will definitely be over your head. I?m not trying to scare anyone off, but even though we tell everyone that these courses are not for beginners, every year we get folks who really should have gotten a little more experience before taking on this kind of challenge. I want folks to have fun and this course will be a blast for anyone with good, basic skills but anyone (or any team) that is seriously intimidated by rocky, rooted terrain should consider finding a replacement and joining the fun as a spectator or team support crew member.

With the slightly shorter course and the technical terrain that will exaggerate the speed differential between skilled and less skilled riders, there will be more passing. Passing on the doubletrack climbs and flats will be easy, but in the single track passing will be harder. Remember, one of the cool things about this race is that all classes race together, pros and amateurs, alike. The tradition of sportsmanship and camaraderie that this race engenders is legendary and is underscored by the remarkable cordiality shown between the various classes and categories. If you?re new to this race and on the slower end of the spectrum of abilities, you should know that it?s just good form to let a clearly faster rider, ride through (plus it can be really cool to watch the pro and expert guys and gals in top form). Likewise if you?re new to this race and race at the fast end of the spectrum, know that you?re going to get through the course faster by communicating you?re intention to pass, loudly, clearly and early enough for the racer you're passing to make way. Also, remember to say thanks and offer words of encouragement. Remember too, that in a pinch one of these other racers may be your best source for mechanical support (as per rule #4 on

Cool earth
Here?s another plus for the course at Snowshoe: The soil on top of the mountain is composed of humus (that?s decomposed organic material, not the stuff you spread on a falafel) and decomposed sandstone. It?s reminiscent of the soils on the original 24 Hours of Canaan course, near Davis. That?s not to say there won?t be mud, just that the mud will not be the kind that clogs up on your bike like 50 lbs. of peanut butter.

Mapping & grooming
A map of the course will be posted on within the next 7-10 days. The course is very roughly cut, right now. It has some fresh single track and some trail sections that need to be bench-cut. The folks at Snowshoe are working on the sections that need chainsaw work, in preparation for our trail maintenance crews. Kudos to the 120+ people who have volunteered for our trail maintenance weekend, May 18th-20th. This is the largest trail crew we?ve ever assembled and if the work of previous year?s crew is any indicator, you can be sure that the course will be in tip-top shape after these folks are done with it.

You can pre-ride the course any time. Snowshoe does have an $8 per day area use fee which includes access to 12,000 acres of private land. Shuttle service is available from the bottom of the mountain. Shuttle Fees are $5 per shuttle run or $20 all day. And, they?ve got some sweeeet downhill runs!

Weather (or not)
Weather is going to play a huge role in this race due to the fact that Silver Creek Lodge and the entire race course are located on top of a 4,800 ft. mountain. If bad weather does move in, it will get very cold and very windy. Some of you may remember how cold it was at the top of the mountain at Timberline, two years ago. It was actually snowing up there. Check this out: the top of Timberline is 4,268 ft.; we?re going to be 600 ft. higher than that for the entire event. Get the picture? Be sure that you and your teammates, as well your support crew, are prepared for the worst case scenario. The key for racers will be to have clothing that is easily adjustable for different temperatures. Most of the course is in deep woods but the last climb to the top, before the downhill to the finish, is very exposed.

Lodging for teams
Considering how cold the camping scene could be, you may want to consider lodging options. Remember that one of the pluses in the move to Snowshoe is that they have over-capacity in lodging. In my book, there?s nothing quite as nice as getting off your lap at 3 a.m. and heading back to your condo for a hot shower, fixing a meal in a real kitchen and crawling in to a warm, dry bed.

If you haven?t booked your lodging yet, there are still plenty of units available. Call Snowshoe?s reservations at (304)572-5252 or click through from the lodging links on our website at Let the folks at reservations know you need to stay at the top of the mountain. Snowshoe is a ?top serviced? ski mountain. The bulk of Snowshoe?s lodging is along the 1-1/2 mile ridge on the top of the mountain, all within a workable distance from the venue at Silver Creek. You?ll be able to drive your racers near the start/finish area. Riding your bike to and from the lodging is probably not practical; besides being 1-1/2 to 2 miles from Silver Creek venue, it?s also a 300 ft. climb back to the lodging. Snowshoe will operate a shuttle service for people, not for bikes. Hours of operation are Saturday, June 10th from
10 a.m. till 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 11th from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. The shuttle runs between the top of Snowshoe and Silver Creek Lodge.

Staying at the Snowshoe Inn or any other lodging that is at the bottom of the mountain, is fine for spectators but it won?t work for a team that is racing. Travel time from the bottom of the mountain to Silver Creek Lodge (at the top of the mountain), is at least 10 minutes.

All roads lead to Snowshoe
Granny knows how important it is to pick the right line when you're racing. And the folks at Toyota understand that no matter what you drive, you don't want to spend any more time in the car than you have to. So to help you find the best line to The 9th Annual Toyota 24 Hours of Snowshoe, we?re sending Team Captains a complimentary West Virginia road map. To find out where all the other roads lead, check out West Virginia?s official website at for tourist information.

Pit areas
You will not be allowed to bring your bikes into the lodging units. Plan to set up your pit area outside, near your lodging. Space is at a premium, so try to keep things as compact as possible. If you're bringing an E-Z Up or other type of canopy, remember that it can get very windy up on the mountain. Bring some means to secure it with weights or to a vehicle or to the ground (or all three).

There is a fair amount of camping around the Silver Creek Lodge. However, it is not concentrated in one central campground; instead it is spread out in many smaller areas that may contain anywhere from 2 to 30 sites. Currently, Snowshoe is planning to offer these sites on a first-come, first-served basis. Because camping is limited and because it is hard to judge how many folks who camped last year at Canaan are going to be taking advantage of the additional lodging that Snowshoe has to offer, we thought it would be prudent to try to get a read on just how many of the racers are planning to camp. If your team is planning to camp, have your team captain send an email to with the number of cars, people and tents that you plan to bring.

Catch some good zzzzzzs...
You may have noticed that one of our new sponsors is Therm-a-Rest. Their parent company, Cascade Designs, is also the parent company of Platypus. They were so psyched about the success of Platypus? sponsorship last year that they decided to bring in another of their popular brands. As part of the Therm-a-Rest sponsorship, Therm-a-Rest and GGP will be operating a Therm-a-Rest ?Crash Test? program for all of the campers that are coming to the event. Stop by the Therm-a-Rest booth and register for the Crash Test program on your way to your campsite. We?ll set you up with an awesome Therm-a-Rest self-inflating mattress to use during your stay at Snowshoe. If you?ve never crashed on a Therm-a-Rest mattress, you owe it to yourself to give one a try. It is, by far, the most comfortable way to sleep outdoors. If you?ve tried one before but don?t yet own one, well here?s your chance to catch some good zzzzs for the race and purchase one when it?s all over, for a discounted price. The purchase option is available to everyone at the end of the weekend but the Crash Test itself and the good night?s rest that you?re sure to get is free, compliments of Therm-a-Rest. Please, include the number of folks in your team and support crew that will want to participate in the Crash Test program in the e-mail that your team captain sends regarding camping. Therm-a-Rests will be available while supplies last and we want to make sure we have enough for everyone.

Calorie counting
In previous years, PowerBar has been an enthusiastic sponsor of the 24 Hour Race Series. They?ve been supplying teams with lots of power food goodies in their swag bags, which I?m sure have been the salvation of many a bonking racer. This year, PowerBar?s budgets were frozen due to the planned sale of the business and they had to pass on their sponsorship opportunity. Recently, PowerBar was purchased by Nestl? Foods. It?s a big plus for PowerBar that bodes well for future sponsorships but it doesn?t look like they?re going to be able to rally for this event. So, for the time being, plan to bring your own supplies of power food for the race.

Pet peeves
Dogs are indeed man?s best friend. I love dogs, but bringing them to large events is not a good thing. Please, for the sake of everyone, including your dog, leave Rover at home with friends or family. Pets are prohibited in the lodging at Snowshoe as well. Thanks for your cooperation.

Message boards
Just a reminder that the racer message boards have been a really effective resource for teams in search of racers and racers in search of teams. Read the postings and put up a posting of your own if you're in either of these categories.

Cya real soon...
We?re all really excited to see everyone at our new venue at Snowshoe. I have a feeling that this is going to be one of the biggest mountain bike shindigs in the history of the sport.

Best regards to you and yours,

Laird Knight
President and Chief Instigator
Granny Gear Productions, Inc.

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