The third round of the Suzuki 24 Hour National Points Series of endurance mountain bike racing heads home to West Virginia at Big Bear Lake Camplands, near Hazelton on June 7-8. In effect, the NPS's roots began seventeen years ago as the 24 Hours of Canaan, the brainchild of Davis' own Laird Knight and his event company Granny Gear Productions.
Round three is drawing long-time endurance pro Tinker Juarez for his West Virginia NPS racing debut. "I'd always wanted to do the 24 Hours of Canaan or Snowshoe, but never had the chance during my pro career. I'm excited about coming to Big Bear, and I've heard it's a fun, great course," said Juarez.
The Southern California native feels more at home in the arid conditions of California courses than the sometimes-wet, wooded and technical east coast courses exemplified by Big Bear Lake, but he'll be fairly freshly practiced in East Coast riding after a recent appearance at the Dirt Sweat & Gears. "It's true that I've held back coming in the past because the conditions often don't suit me, but at the same time I'm looking forward to the challenge. Toward the end of the 24 hours, those technical sections could get really interesting and be a real challenge."
Racers will tackle oa 12.2 mile course with gradual climbs, abundant singletrack, large embedded rocks, tight slaloms and challenging rock gardens. "It's rolling - without any huge, steep climbs - and almost all singletrack," said Granny Gear's Knight. "With the shade from the beautiful rhododendrons lining the course and the altitude, it remains cool in the heat of summer." A heat wave is expected to settle in over the East Coast this weekend, with high temperatures and humidity.