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 grannygear.com
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.
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.
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 www.grannygear.com/rules.htm).
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 grannygear.com 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
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 www.grannygear.com/Races/Snowshoe/accommodations_directions.html.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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. www.grannygear.com/boards/.
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,
President and Chief Instigator
Granny Gear Productions, Inc.