Kirkland, Tostado among favorites for 24 Hours of Moab

Utah race doubling as US 24-hour mountain bike national championships

Fifteen US national titles will be awarded at this weekend's 24 Hours of Moab in Moab, Utah, on October 9-10. While the soloists typically draw much of the attention, stars and stripes jerseys will also go out to the top two-person and four-person teams in various age and gender categories.

In the elite men's solo race, 24-hour National Champion & two-time 24 Hours of Moab Champion Josh Tostado is returning to defend both titles. Kelly Magelky and Ernesto Marenchin, who finished second and fourth respectively last year, will give Tostado a run for his money.

In the elite women's solo race, Jari ("Yari") Kirkland will face challenges from Laureen Coffelt, Kris Cannon and Timari Pruis. Kirkland won the title in 2008. Defending champion Ester Horanyi will be missing as she will be racing the 24 Hours of Adrenalin World Championships in Australia this weekend.

The date conflict between the US and world championship races arose after the 24 hours of Big Bear, scheduled for June of 2010, was cancelled. The race, which like Moab is run by Granny Gear Productions, was cancelled this spring, and the US championships were shifted back to the 24 Hours of Moab, which also hosted nationals last year.

The forecast for the weekend of racing is looking good with temperatures maxing out at 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) and drop to the mid 40s. No precipitation is expected. Promoter Laird Knight reported that as of last weekend, the 14.91-mile per lap course was riding well with its usual fast sections and sandy sections.

"If the current forecast pans out, this will likely be the fastest course and the most dust-free year in the 15-year history of the race," said Knight.

The course includes some big chain ring sections where racers hit 40+ miles per hour, and pros consistently break the one-hour mark for lap times. Each lap includes 1,360 feet of climbing.

Follow the race via Granny Gear's real-time tracking system online at www.grannygear.com.

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