By Sue George
The US 24-Hour National Championships has found a new home. For 2009, Granny Gear Productions will host the nationals in conjunction with its 24 Hours of Moab on October 10-11 in Moab, Utah. Schedule and logistical conflicts forced the change in venue according to USA Cycling.
"It gives us the kind of course that will sort out a national champion. Moab's course has an ideal mix of both technical and high speed sections," said Granny Gear Productions' Laird Knight to Cyclingnews.
"It's definitely a fitness course, but it's also a course where you have to have good technical skills to make a good lap time. That's something I've always tried to do since I put on my first mountain bike race in 1993. To me, mountain biking is not just putting your nose to the bar and pedalling as hard as you can," said Knight.
"The response that I've had has been 100% positive. People are really excited about it," said Knight of his company's plans for the popular Moab event.
The 24 Hours of Moab, which attracts more than 4,000 racers, support members and spectators, will double as the finale in Granny Gear's National Points Series (NPS). The Granny Gear-organized series, reduced in scope for 2009, will kick off with the 24 Hours of Big Bear in West Virginia on June 13-14 and then head to the 24 Hours of Nine Mile in Wisconsin on July 25-26.
Granny Gear Productions will also host next year's USA Cycling 24-hour National Championships, but it will move to another venue the 24 Hours of Big Bear on June 12-13, 2010.
"Our West Virginia venue represents the roots of 24-hour racing and for the first time the 24-Hour National Championships will be held at an East-coast venue," said Knight. "Just as the Moab course represents the quintessential western course, Big Bear represents the ultimate east-coast course with mile after mile of wooded singletrack, moss-covered rock gardens, birch and hickory forests and beautiful mountain laurel just be coming into bloom."
Granny Gear recently bought the 24 Hours of Nine Mile, which hosted the 2007and 2008 24-Hour National Championship in Wisconsin. The company will be bidding to host it again at Nine Mile in 2011.
The 2009 Championships had been previously scheduled for Payson and then Phoenix, Arizona.
The national championship competition in Moab will be open to American riders only. The 24-Hours of Moab event, however, will offer more than 20 divisions open to various age groups, skill, levels, team sizes and nationalities.