Wells, Rusch and Woodruff on the roster for 24 Hours of Old Pueblo

North American mountain bike race season gets going in Tucson

The 15th Annual 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo is set to begin with a shotgun blast at high noon on February 15 at Willow Springs Ranch. The resulting mad rush of 1,850 mountain bikers sprinting a quarter mile to their bikes Le Mans style starts the biggest 24-hour mountain bike race in the United States.

World-class mountain bike talent scheduled to attend includes Todd Wells, Rebecca Rusch and Chloe Woodruff, all three of whom will ride on an Arizona High School Mountain Bike League team of student athletes. In addition to providing wisdom and inspiration, Wells, Rusch and Woodruff will impart their invaluable experience and knowledge of training secrets, riding skills and healthy eating to the future of mountain biking.

Epic Rides President Todd Sadow describes the race as "the mountain biker's (healthy) Burning Man"; with 24-Hour Town suddenly emerging from the desert with tents, campers and RVs, forming a temporary city of more than 4,000 spectators and participants.

Riders are expected from all over the US, many of them escaping the cold and snowy northern winters to come bask in the Sonoran Desert weather on a 16.1-mile course that flows through the desert flora.

The 2014 edition of the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo sold out faster than ever before, taking only 39 days to fill up (as compared to 80 days in 2013). Registration closed on December 17, 2012, a full two months ahead of the event.

Dedicated to Sal Ruibal

Each year Epic Rides dedicates the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo to an individual who's made an enormous impact on growing the popularity of mountain biking. For 2014, that person is Sal Ruibal, who spent 23 years at USA Today as a sports reporter and was named by Mountain Bike Action Magazine as "one of the 25 most influential people in mountain biking".

Whether writing for 10 Olympic Games, six Tours de France or waxing poetic on his famous Dirty Words column for Bike Magazine, the prose of Ruibal has captured the hearts and imaginations of readers around the world, helping bring the sport of mountain biking to the consciousness of mainstream American media.

Ruibal can also ride a mountain bike, having secured a fifth place finish in Masters 45+ at the 2002 24-Hour Solo World Championships.

Epic Rides will be hosting a Social Hour and Dedication Dinner for Sal on Friday, February 14, starting at 6:00 pm in the 24-Hour Town Exchange Tent with a wide selection of beer. While sipping on a few cold ones, Ruibal will share some favorite adventures from his remarkable journalism and mountain biking career; stories that are sure to entertain all in attendance.

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