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Write To Granny
 

Dear 24 Hour Race Fans,

We’ll, we’ve got lots of exciting news. We wanted everyone to be able to get their news first-hand, right from Granny so we’re mailing this communiqué to everyone that’s ever raced with us at Snowshoe or ever asked to be included in our Snowshoe mailing list. It’s official...the 2002 race dates are set! The 11th Annual 24 Hours of Snowshoe is slated for June 29th & 30th at Silver Creek Resort on Snowshoe Mountain. Snowshoe will be taking reservations after January 15th; You can call (877)441-4386 or (304)572-5252 to book lodging at Silver Creek Resort and Snowshoe Mountain. Any reservations made for June 8th & 9th will automatically be changed by Snowshoe’s Reservations Department to June 29th & 30th, but you should call Snowshoe after January 15th to confirm your reservation.

THE COURSE
Foremost in everyone’s minds, and foremost in ours, is the race course itself. I’ve always felt that a true mountain bike race should be a test of riding skill in addition to fitness and strength; too easy of a course and it slants the advantage toward roadies, too hard and it slants it toward runners. Striking that balance has been our goal, but due to wet conditions we’ve missed the mark for the past two years with a definite slant towards the runners.

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 can’t 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
the race at Canaan in ’95 than we did at Snowshoe in 2000 or 2001, even with the larger fields. What we need is an all weather course with a great mix of singletrack, doubletrack, challenging climbs and exciting descents. We can have it all by staying right where we are and building on the work we’ve started. The topography at Silver Creek is ideally suited to our needs. The bowl-shaped area offers less severe climbs and great singletrack, all within close proximity of the main venue. The stair step climbs (100 ft., 200 ft., 300 ft., 400 ft., and 500 ft., respectively) make for a great rhythm.

Talk to any rider who has had the good fortune of riding the course in dry conditions and they’ll 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. It’s 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 that’s “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. It’s been done before in other parts of the world that have wet weather and similarly soft topsoils. The experience that we’ve gained both at Canaan and Snowshoe, along with the education we’ve received, from working closely with Jen and Rich Edwards (IMBA’s Trail Care Crew #3), will guide us in this project. We are very eager to get to work (planning has already started) and we’re 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. We’re 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. We’re 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 Gear’s long-standing reputation upon it. You’ll 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 Gear’s 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 theme for The 11th Annual 24 Hours of Snowshoe is “The Three Ring Circus of Cycling.” We’re going to turn the entire mountain into a multi-day, multi-event bike bazaar, a cycling cyclone, a spoked spectacle! The race itself will stay in the big ring at Silver Creek but the added attractions in our extravaganza will be located in and around the Village at Snowshoe’s Summit.

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. John’s 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. There’ll be lot’s 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. We’re in the process of adding some vert ramp and free ride exhibitions as well.

We’re 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 who’d 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, you’d have plenty of time to ride some of Pocahontas County’s renowned trails and as many pre-rides of the 24 hour course as you’d like. It will be the ultimate mountain bike vacation!

WHEN THE CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN
It’s always exciting when the circus comes to town and when we build our “Three Ring Circus of Cycling” we want to generate the same level of excitement. We’re going to book some of the best cycling acts in the business. We’re going to pull out the stops to make The 24 Hours of Snowshoe one of the most exciting mountain bike events in the country, both on and off of the course.

Why? Well, we think it’s 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 fun—all weekend long—for 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 don’t think the teams should foot the bill; Heck, they’re 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 we’re bringing in. Teams will get free passes for themselves and two support crew and kids under 12 will get free passes too. There won’t be any other fees (like parking fees) and the single gate fee will cover the entire weekend.

There’s a first time for everything and I’m sure that collecting a gate fee for the first time will present some unique challenges for ol’ Granny, including some folks who don’t take kindly to the idea. But we’re doing this to make the event bigger and better for everyone. If you stop and think about it, $5 isn’t 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
Race registration for all Granny Gear events will open on January 10th. As a courtesy, we’ll be mailing pre-printed race entry forms to 2001 Snowshoe team captains, due to arrive by the first of the year, which gives last year’s teams a bit of a head start. New for 2002, Granny is introducing online registration. Participants will be able to go online to register their team and pay entry fees. Once the online team entry is accepted, Team Captains will be able to maintain their teams by adding teammates and updating information such as team sponsors and anecdotal information. One of the big advantages to online registration is the ability to submit accident waivers online. Once a teammate has been added, the individual will be sent (electronically) a link to an online form to fill out their personal information and accept the accident waiver/release of liability statement. When all of the teammates have filled out their personal information and accepted their waivers, all that is left is picking up the race numbers and schwag bag prior to the race. In the event that a teammate has to drop out of the event, the team captain can easily log on to remove that member and add a replacement. Granny will eventually provide each team with their own web page with photos, team anecdotes and bios and links to sponsors, the team’s standings and the ability to keep their fans/friends/family updated leading up to and through the race.

ENTRY FEES AND EVENT T-SHIRTS
By popular demand, every racer will now receive a free race T-shirt included in their entry fee. Entry fees for 4- and 5-person amateur teams will be $125 per person, Solos and Duo will remain at $300 and $220 respectively, with a 50% cash back purse. The Coed Pro/Am (they race for the big cash purse) entry fee will be $200 per person. Even though we’re giving a T-shirt to every racer, we’ll still be issuing racers their $5 “Granny Bucks” and there will still be lots of cool commemorative gear for your (and your friend’s and families’) shopping pleasure. In fact, we’re putting together a coupon book for discounts all over the mountain, which we’ll put in all of the team’s swag bags.

CAMPING
Granny Gear will be handling all aspects of camping and parking at Silver Creek this year. Reservations will be taken starting May 1st but remember to call Granny Gear, not Snowshoe. The camping fees remain the same at $50/15x20 space and the campsites and hot showers will be available to you from Wednesday through Sunday nights. There will be 350 campsites available, a small increase from this last year.

REALTIME™ SCORING GETS EVEN BETTER
The single biggest equipment investment that we’ve ever made (nearly $50,000 in hardware and software) is arguably the single best one that we’ve ever made. Our new RealTime™ Scoring System was a smash hit at all three events. The ability for every team in every class to see their standing in real time added tremendously to the excitement of the races and made it much easier for everyone from casual spectators to media to see the incredible competitions that unfold during the events. The system worked flawlessly from its debut at Snowshoe. Over the course of the year we had the opportunity to make the system more stable, more reliable and easier to administer. Now we’re ready to add some very cool bells and whistles. We’ll be announcing these new features in our periodic broadcast e-mails, as they are implemented.

THE 24 HOUR POINT SERIES
Inspired by the increasing number of teams that we see coming to all three of Granny Gear’s Races, Granny Gear will be tracking points across all classes for teams that are planning to race the whole circuit. Participating teams will be tracked on grannygear.com and trophies will be presented at Moab. Dates for The 5th Annual 24 Hours of Tahoe will be August 24th & 25th at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort and The 8th Annual 24 Hours of Moab will be October 12th & 13th, Behind the Rocks, 12 miles South of Moab. We’ll detail the specifics of the rules and point system in an upcoming broadcast e-mail.

ALA EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION & WINNER’S CIRCLE COMPETITION
2001 was the most successful season yet for the American Lung Associations’ Early Bird Registration fundraiser. Due in large part to the new Winner’s Circle Competition, which rewards the team that raises the most money with an all expense paid trip to The 24 Hours of Tahoe for the entire team, the American Lung Association Teams raised an all-time record of $154,344. David Warhoftig of Team Oxygen Debt ran away with the first place prize by raising an astounding $24,000 over and above the team’s Early Bird registration amount.

But 2002 Winner’s Circle competitors won’t 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 year’s prizes. Granny Gear is very proud of the teams that help to make this fund raiser so successful. If you haven’t yet participated in this great program, we encourage you to read the flyer that’s 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 Winner’s Circle prizes.

GET HOOKED UP WITH GRANNY
We’d love to keep everyone up to date on all of Granny’s current news. Mailings like this one are resource consuming and expensive. If you’re not already receiving our broadcast e-mails and you’d like to be, send ol’ Granny an e-mail at <heygranny@grannygear.com>. We keep separate lists for each event, so let us know which list(s) you want to be on. And, we promise to keep the communiqués pertinent and relevant. Granny’s doesn’t like spam mail any more than you.

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.
From all your friends here at Granny Gear Productions,
Happy Trails!
Laird Knight
President

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127 Springfield Ave
Morgantown, WV 26505
Phone: 304-259-5533
Fax: 435-608-1699

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