Dear 24 Hour Race Fans,
The problems with the course have to do with the trails' soft topsoil and its inability, when wet, to withstand the extremely heavy use associated with an event of this size. For the past two years, Granny Gear staff and more than 200 volunteers have worked hard to improve trail drainage (to speed the drying time) and minimize siltation by bridging stream crossings. Despite our good work, our efforts were not sufficient to prevent what happened in 2001 with an incredible amount of rain prior to the event (20 inches in 21 days), let alone the worst case scenario where we might have rain during the event itself.
So, what to do? In my opinion, we can run but we cant hide. In
similarly wet conditions, the scene that played out at Snowshoe this
year could just as easily happen at another location. Old-timers may
remember the mud year at Canaan in 95; not only were
the conditions unrideable but you had to push your bike down the downhill
with the brakes unhooked and 40 pounds of mud hanging from it. We actually
had more teams drop out of
Talk to any rider who has had the good fortune of riding the course in dry conditions and theyll tell you what a blast the course can be! Our trail work has yet to focus on the key issue of the trail bed itself, its composition and its durability. And this, my friends, is the much larger task that we are going to tackle. Granny Gear Productions is undertaking a comprehensive trail construction project that will produce the quality of trail needed for this race. We are budgeting upwards of $30,000 for materials, equipment and construction staff. After a complete survey of the course to catalog the work to be done, GGP will set to the task of rebuilding the entire course. Its an unprecedented effort, but then this is an unprecedented race. The primary focus of this work will be to build a sustainable trail bed either through bench cutting or by building up the trail bed with mineral soils or mixed aggregates, a technique know as turnpikeing. (The good news is that Snowshoe is blessed with an excellent mineral subsoil that already provides hard-packed, all-weather traction on places like the Cub Run Climb and the High Wall.)
These techniques, if over-done, can produce a very well drained, hard-packed but sometimes of a trail thats too smooth for our purposes. Our goal will be to artfully construct the trail beds so that we achieve a durable surface without sacrificing the challenging nature of the terrain; i.e. constructed singletrack. Its been done before in other parts of the world that have wet weather and similarly soft topsoils. The experience that weve gained both at Canaan and Snowshoe, along with the education weve received, from working closely with Jen and Rich Edwards (IMBAs Trail Care Crew #3), will guide us in this project. We are very eager to get to work (planning has already started) and were looking forward to showcasing the Snowshoe course as an example of state-of-the-art trail construction.
This is a big commitment for Granny Gear, but we feel an obligation to our racers and a responsibility to the trail. Were doing the right thing. Our adherence to the ideals of corporate responsibility has been integral to the quality of our events and we are going to continue this policy, which has served us so well. We want and need your continuing support. Keep the faith. Were going to deliver a race course that will make you proud and peg your fun-o-meter like a Geiger counter in a reactor core.
My commitment to you in this regard is absolute. I stake Granny Gears long-standing reputation upon it. Youll note that the dates have been pushed back to the last weekend in June. This gives the ground more time to dry out from spring rains and generally moves us into a warmer and dryer part of the year. Also, Snowshoe is continuing to host Granny Gears two trail work weekends with free lodging. These events are a great opportunity to make new friends while learning about various trail building techniques that you can use at home. Dates and other details have yet to be set, but we will be sending a broadcast e-mail in early spring when those dates are confirmed.
THE THREE RING CIRCUS OF CYCLING
The North American Trials Series, a perennial favorite, will feature top pro riders attempting even sicker sections and vying for a record $5,000 cash purse, the largest purse in North America.
John Stamstad will be conducting one of his Singletrack Ranch Riding Camps in the week leading up to the race. Johns Singletrack Ranch was voted BEST of the BEST for outdoor sports camps in the October issue of Outside Magazine. The Snowshoe camp will be the perfect preparation for anyone looking to master the course, or just do better, or as an introduction for first time 24 hour racers who want to get a jump on the competition. Therell be lots of fun side-bar competitions, Bunny Hop high jump, King and Queen of the Mountain (a test of climbing skills), perhaps a bike tractor pull with a real tractor pull sled. Were in the process of adding some vert ramp and free ride exhibitions as well.
Were open to suggestions, too. What would you like to see? Music, clowns, circus acts? Let us know. Plus, the 24 Hours of Snowshoe will run back-to-back weekends with The Snowshoe NORBA Nationals on June 20th-23rd. This opens up the door for an unprecedented 9-day celebration of cycling for the entire East Coast! Snowshoe will be putting together special 9-day packages for folks whod like to plan on staying for the entire time. Imagine how much fun it would be to take it all in. After taking in some awesome racing at the Nationals, youd have plenty of time to ride some of Pocahontas Countys renowned trails and as many pre-rides of the 24 hour course as youd like. It will be the ultimate mountain bike vacation!
WHEN THE CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN
Why? Well, we think its time for the East Coast to have a major cycling celebration. Our goal with the Three Ring Circus is to provide even more fanfare and more funall weekend longfor all of the spectators, creating an event that will draw even larger crowds of those great folks who are out there at all hours of the night cheering you on.
Of course, to do all of this is going to take time, effort and expense. And we certainly dont think the teams should foot the bill; Heck, theyre the center ring of the big show. So, this year we will be implementing a nominal $5 gate fee for the spectators that Granny Gear will be using to pay for the entertainment that were bringing in. Teams will get free passes for themselves and two support crew and kids under 12 will get free passes too. There wont be any other fees (like parking fees) and the single gate fee will cover the entire weekend.
Theres a first time for everything and Im sure that collecting a gate fee for the first time will present some unique challenges for ol Granny, including some folks who dont take kindly to the idea. But were doing this to make the event bigger and better for everyone. If you stop and think about it, $5 isnt really a lot to pay for two days of racing excitement, thrilling exhibitions and fun activities. But it is enough to give us the resources to make it all happen, in a big way.
ONLINE REGISTRATION AND PROCEDURES
ENTRY FEES AND EVENT T-SHIRTS
REALTIME SCORING GETS EVEN BETTER
THE 24 HOUR POINT SERIES
ALA EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION & WINNERS CIRCLE COMPETITION
But 2002 Winners Circle competitors wont have to compete with Mr. Warhoftig. David told us that last year was a one-time effort so everyone will be in the running for this years prizes. Granny Gear is very proud of the teams that help to make this fund raiser so successful. If you havent yet participated in this great program, we encourage you to read the flyer thats enclosed with this mailing to learn more about racing for free in the ALA Early Bird program and going above and beyond to compete for the awesome Winners Circle prizes.
GET HOOKED UP WITH GRANNY
Thanks for helping make 2001 one of our most exciting years ever. Everyone
here is very
excited about the upcoming racing season. This is where the fun begins.
Best wishes to you and your teammates.
Granny Gear Productions, Inc.
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