After 16 Years, This Year May Be The Last 24 Hours of Moab
In recent years there's been a trend towards teams signing up later and later. Distressing as this has been, taxing our ability to anticipate and plan for the size of the event, we've been gratified to see late registrations consistently pour in, and "save the day."

This year, going into the last two weeks before the race, our pre-registrations were only slightly down from previous years. That was a little un-nerving but not alarming, given the trend we've observed. In previous years we've seen 40-60 teams sign up two weeks before the event and fully 75-85 teams sign-up in the final week leading up to the race.

This last week we have seen only 10 additional teams sign up. Now that's alarming. It does not bode well. While in recent years we have seen fields of well over 350 teams, at the rate things are going, even 300 teams would appear to be an optimistic expectation.

The 24 Hours of Moab is an expensive event to produce. It always has been. Hosting thousands of people in the middle of the desert is no small effort and, far from being a profit-center, the camping/gate fees that we charge only serve to offset our expenses. Naturally, over the course of sixteen years, our costs for all aspects of the event have risen. In the interest of keeping the race as affordable as possible we have not raised our entry fee significantly since 2004, relying instead on the sheer size of the field to make ends meet.

Clearly, those ends are not going to meet this year. How closely they come to meeting will determine the future of the 24 Hours of Moab.

What can you do about it?
a) If at all possible, sign up and field a team in this year's race.
b) If you can't race this year, put a shoulder into making 2012 happen (read below)

c) If you'd like to make a contribution on behalf of your team, register a "phantom" team. The Men's or Women's Solo Singlespeed class is the lowest entry fee ($162 total). An inordinately large "turn-out" for the solo singlespeed class would certainly send a clear message about the support for the continuation of the event. (Even if you don't show up, we'll mail you this year's T-shirt!)

There are four more days of on-line registration and then there's walk-in registration on Friday. Every team counts!

Go to 2011 24 Hours of Moab Online Registration>>>

2012 and Beyond...
In the headline of this communique, I chose the phrase "may be the last 24 Hours of Moab" intentionally. I am by no means throwing in the towel but I won't know until some weeks after the race, when all the financial dust has settled, exactly where the race will stand. If at all possible, I intend to move forward with the 18th Annual 24 Hours of Moab but a field size much under 350 teams is not financially sustainable without a significant increase in entry fees. I know it would be better for everyone to get our numbers to a 350-400+ field instead of raising entry fees. That said, I can't do it all myself. I need you and the vast community of people who have enjoyed this race over the past sixteen years to recommit to keeping this event as one of the "crown jewels" of the sport. I need you to recommit to attending and to bringing new teams to introduce them to the fun and excitement of 24 Hours of Moab.

A long, bright future for 24 Hours of Moab is a very real possibility. There is so much to build on: a 14,000+ base of previous attendees, long-term permits allowing for fields of 500+ teams, a super-experienced and committed race crew, a spectacular course and venue, and world-famous reputation as one the greatest races in the history of the sport.

Blame Laird
In the surfing world the phrase 'BLAME LAIRD' is used to credit Laird Hamilton's invigoration of the stand-up-paddling (SUP) movement. BLAME LAIRD bumper stickers can be found on many a surfer's car. But I'm using the heading here to take some personal responsibility.

Just as I leveraged the success of the original 24 Hours of Canaan in West Virginia to finance the start-up of 24 Hours of Moab, I used the success of 24 Hours of Moab to help finance Granny Gear's efforts to create the six-race 24-Hour National Point Series (2006-2009). Despite our best efforts, the 24-hour Point Series didn't take. I'd have done well to have pulled the plug sooner but my tenacity got the better of me. Clearly had I not made this push, the financial pressure of lower numbers at Moab would not be felt so acutely but the combination of debt from my failed efforts and falling numbers at Moab has limited my ability to reinvest in the marketing and advertising of the race. For my part, I have taken no pay for the last two years (Yes, I have an incredibly understanding and supportive (and patient) wife).

The good news is that at least my equipment loans have now been paid-off and that will make Granny Gear's 2012 cash-flow much better. In other words, I'll have more money to invest in rebuilding 24 Hours of Moab. Plus this year's BBC TV show will give the race more exposure than I could ever afford to buy. I know from experience how effective media coverage like this can be. I won't be surprised if a dozen or more European teams make the trek next year, and then with other airings in the U.S. and around the world...who knows?!

Start Where You Are is the title of Pema Chödrön's masterful treatise on compassionate living. The Buddhist notion of starting where you are is as empowering as it is compassionate. It let's us shake-off the shame of the past and fear of future, renew our energy and enthusiasm and move forward in our lives. It is also consummately pragmatic because starting where we are is all we really can ever do.

So, let us start where we are rebuild this great race so that it may go on and on. It has been a distinct privilege to be the creator and race director of the 24 Hours of Moab and it would be incredibly exciting to see the event brought back from the brink of non-existence and see it return to the glorious event that has delivered so much excitement, so much fun, and so many memories for so many folks.
The kind of fun, so well represented by the creativity and goofball-ity of the 24 Hours of Moab Team Photo Gallery and teams like Bada Boom!

Making The Most Of It
In great measure, the motivation behind this communique came from a phone conversation I had with my awesome wife, Barbara, as I was coming to grips with the reality of the situation. She said, in essence, "If you think this could be the last one, you've got to tell everyone. They need to know. Imagine not knowing until after the race." She was right. I knew it right away. For those of you who are in attendance at this year's race, it is my greatest hope that you make the most of the race and truly savor the rich history and special race that is at hand. I know that I will.

I also hope that you will be an active participant in the conversation around bringing the race back in 2012 and beyond. That is certainly a conversation that I welcome.

Best of luck to you, your teammates, and support crew.

The Show Must Go On !
40 teams or 400, when Granny Gear hosts a 24 we pull out all the stops. Preparations are well under way and we still have lots to tell you about this year's event. We'll save that for the next couple of e-mails.

Happy Trails,

-Laird Knight, Race Director
& all the fine folks at:

"You say the hill's too steep to climb. Climb it."
- Fearless, Pink Floyd, 1971

Granny Gear Productions, Inc.
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Davis, WV 26260
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