Granny Gear Productions, the race promoter that brings us the 24 Hours of Moab, is bringing it's festival-style 24-hour mountain bike format racing to the site of the inaugural Olympic cross-country course in 2006. The 24 Hours of Conyers will take place May 20-21 at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, Ga., the site of mountain biking's debut as an Olympic sport.
"We started looking at Conyers because we were getting tons of e-mails and phone calls from folks asking us to bring a Granny Gear event to the Southeast," said Laird Knight, president of Granny Gear Productions. "We looked at several venues but time after time we kept coming back to Conyers. The venue is ideal and the course is great, plus I can't get over the historic significance of this course."
The mention of the new race hooked the interest of champion 24-hour racer, Tinker Juarez. In fact, Juarez has already pre-ridden the course. So what if it has been nearly ten years since Juarez rode in Conyers as an Olympian at the '96 Games? The memory of the plush venue and zippy course still stick in Juarez's mind.
"The cross-country course for the Olympics had a lot of fast accelerations and short climbs - that made the race really fast," said Juarez. "You had to be really smooth, there was a lot of shifting around the corners to be in the right gear to get out of corners and into the short climbs."
Borrowing from the design of the first Olympic cross-country course, the 24 Hours of Conyers will compliment Granny Gear's commitment to topnotch racecourses. The original course design has been rerouted and improved by Mike Ritter and hundreds of volunteer hours from the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association. Granny Gear plans on adding about two miles of high-speed double-track to perfect it for 24-hour racing.
Knight's first exposure to the course was as a volunteer course marshal at the 1996 Olympic Games.
"I went down to Atlanta to volunteer because I realized how many hundreds - if not thousands of people - had volunteered at my events," said Knight, "and I wanted to pay back my volunteer karma."
It will be a new race at Conyers and veteran racers should be inspired to return for an unparalleled event featuring RealTime(TM) Scoring, $20,000 in cash and prizes, and the ideal setting to convene with friends and family for a weekend getaway.
Granny Gear's 2006 race series features calendar footholds like 24 Hours of Temecula, Big Bear and of course, the grand finale, the 24 Hours of Moab. Yet in response to requests for races in underserved mountain bike communities in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, Granny Gear added the 24 Hours of Conyers plus explored venues in Missouri and Kansas for a rumored 24 Hours of the Ozarks. Stay tuned to grannygear.com for news about upcoming races.
The 2006 Granny Gear 24 Hour race series kicks off on April 22-23 with the 24 Hours of Temecula, in Temecula, Calif. just outside of Los Angeles. The Inaugural 24 Hours of Conyers will happen May 20-21 in Conyers, Ga. near Atlanta. Next stop is the second annual 24 Hours of Big Bear, the go-to 24-hour race at the heart of it all in northern West Virginia. TBA will be the 24 Hours of the Ozarks, coming in September 2006. The 12th Annual 24 Hours of Moab finishes off what looks to be Granny Gear's most thrilling season ever on October 14-15.