Skip to main content

Lance Armstrong and George Hincapie have some fun in the desert

Image 1 of 35

Lance Armstrong handled the slickrock drop with ease.

Lance Armstrong handled the slickrock drop with ease.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 2 of 35

Lance Armstrong told Cyclingnews that the goal of the weekend was to “Have fun and ride slow”. He rode his first lap in 1:02

Lance Armstrong told Cyclingnews that the goal of the weekend was to “Have fun and ride slow”. He rode his first lap in 1:02
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 3 of 35

Lance Armstrong relaxing while George Hincapie rode a lap said the race had “a killer vibe”.

Lance Armstrong relaxing while George Hincapie rode a lap said the race had “a killer vibe”.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 4 of 35

24-Hour Town hosts up to 5,000 people in the desert just to the west of the Catalina Mountains every year

24-Hour Town hosts up to 5,000 people in the desert just to the west of the Catalina Mountains every year
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 5 of 35

An AZ Devo racer approaches the rock drop section of the course

An AZ Devo racer approaches the rock drop section of the course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 6 of 35

Spectators watch racers descend one of the technical sections of the course

Spectators watch racers descend one of the technical sections of the course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 7 of 35

Scott the Bullet Countryman completing his first lap in under an hour

Scott the Bullet Countryman completing his first lap in under an hour
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 8 of 35

Shirley Keene (Liv Ambassador) was on hand to cheer for the racers

Shirley Keene (Liv Ambassador) was on hand to cheer for the racers
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 9 of 35

A US Military rider approaches a steep section of the course

A US Military rider approaches a steep section of the course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 10 of 35

Caleb Robinson (Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies) riding singletrack that was typical on the course

Caleb Robinson (Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies) riding singletrack that was typical on the course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 11 of 35

Jeremy Graham (Team Mankini) competing in the Duo Male event

Jeremy Graham (Team Mankini) competing in the Duo Male event
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 12 of 35

Ashley Carelock (Amy D Foundation) was riding the entire 24-hour event solo

Ashley Carelock (Amy D Foundation) was riding the entire 24-hour event solo
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 13 of 35

Brian Dill (Faster than Flying Javelinas) leads a group of three through the cacti

Brian Dill (Faster than Flying Javelinas) leads a group of three through the cacti
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 14 of 35

Tracey Shefter (Groove Subaru) riding solo in the 24-hour event

Tracey Shefter (Groove Subaru) riding solo in the 24-hour event
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 15 of 35

Two members of the All Ass No Gas 4-Person Women’s Open Team prior to the race

Two members of the All Ass No Gas 4-Person Women’s Open Team prior to the race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 16 of 35

Ryan Fiege (Like Last Night) eyes a rock drop ahead

Ryan Fiege (Like Last Night) eyes a rock drop ahead
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 17 of 35

Ryan Fiege tackles a slickrock drop near the end of his first lap

Ryan Fiege tackles a slickrock drop near the end of his first lap
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 18 of 35

Team racers await a baton handoff at the start of lap two

Team racers await a baton handoff at the start of lap two
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 19 of 35

The cholla cactus was everywhere on the course and particularly difficult to avoid at night

The cholla cactus was everywhere on the course and particularly difficult to avoid at night
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 20 of 35

Fast runners were rewarded by getting onto the singletrack ahead of hundreds of competitors

Fast runners were rewarded by getting onto the singletrack ahead of hundreds of competitors
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 21 of 35

Costumes are not required but hundreds of racers add to the vibe by dressing up

Costumes are not required but hundreds of racers add to the vibe by dressing up
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 22 of 35

 Jake Wells (Speed Bros Vail) led out the racers after winning the quarter mile LeMans running start.

Jake Wells (Speed Bros Vail) led out the racers after winning the quarter mile LeMans running start.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 23 of 35

 Jeffery Boyd (L) riding in the 4-person Men’s Open gets underway with Nash Dory (R) who won the Duo Men’s team race.

Jeffery Boyd (L) riding in the 4-person Men’s Open gets underway with Nash Dory (R) who won the Duo Men’s team race.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 24 of 35

Lance Armstrong (Wedo) was competing on a 4-person team for the second year in a row.

Lance Armstrong (Wedo) was competing on a 4-person team for the second year in a row.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 25 of 35

Jonathon Psenka (The Gorillas) fights for position in the chaos of the Le Mans start

Jonathon Psenka (The Gorillas) fights for position in the chaos of the Le Mans start
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 26 of 35

Racers further back in the Le Mans start was forced to walk to their bikes

Racers further back in the Le Mans start was forced to walk to their bikes
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 27 of 35

The University of Arizona (Tucson) was well represented in the race

The University of Arizona (Tucson) was well represented in the race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 28 of 35

Marie Olson (No Dabs at the Whiskey Tree) gets underway in the Duo Co-Ed race

Marie Olson (No Dabs at the Whiskey Tree) gets underway in the Duo Co-Ed race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 29 of 35

Caleb Johnson (Best Name Ever Team) won the first 16-mile lap with a time of 56:17

Caleb Johnson (Best Name Ever Team) won the first 16-mile lap with a time of 56:17
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 30 of 35

The Biking Vikings Corporate Team was ready for battle

The Biking Vikings Corporate Team was ready for battle
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 31 of 35

Nash Dory (TBD Team) ripped off a 57:09 time on his first of many laps

Nash Dory (TBD Team) ripped off a 57:09 time on his first of many laps
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 32 of 35

Caleb Johnson (Best Name Ever Team) got off to a top ten start then passed everyone ahead of him.

Caleb Johnson (Best Name Ever Team) got off to a top ten start then passed everyone ahead of him.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 33 of 35

Jake Wells (Speed Bros Vail) rode the first 16-mile lap in 58:17

Jake Wells (Speed Bros Vail) rode the first 16-mile lap in 58:17
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 34 of 35

Jake Wells is also a newly crowned cyclocross masters national champion

Jake Wells is also a newly crowned cyclocross masters national champion
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
Image 35 of 35

Evan Boone (M&M Cycling Youngsters) riding in the 4-Person Men’s Open broke one hour for his first lap

Evan Boone (M&M Cycling Youngsters) riding in the 4-Person Men’s Open broke one hour for his first lap
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)

The unofficial start to the US MTB season rolled out of the desert this weekend with a couple of special guests as Lance Armstrong and George Hincapie took part in the 19th annual '24 Hours in the Old Pueblo' relay race outside of Tuscon, Arizona.

Epic Rides' 24-hour event began the mountain biking season with over 4,000 people camping at the race north of Tuscon. This year the 2,000 spots for racers sold out in just seven hours. It remains the largest 24-hour mountain biking event in the US and certainly one of the largest in the world.

Former pros Armstrong and Hincapie planned to join Christian Vande Velde and Dylan Casey in the four-person Men’s Open, but Vande Velde fell ill before the event and was replaced by triathlete Julia Polloreno.

"It's a killer vibe, really, not like anything else I've done before," Armstrong said when asked about the event. "We rode yesterday and the weather was pouring rain, cold and miserable. Now because of the rain the course is perfect."

Armstrong is banned from officially sanctioned events, so the relaxed atmosphere and community at the Epic Rides 24-hour mountain bike race was a perfect fit for him and his crew.

When asked about the Wedo Team strategy this year, Armstrong didn't hesitate: "We're going slow, having fun, and drinking." Having said that, Hincapie, who is expected to race at Cape Epic again this year, consistently recorded some of the fastest laps on the course, finishing two of his three laps in less than an hour each. The team eventually finished in the bottom half of the category.

Racing took place on Willow Springs Ranch about 30 miles from Tuscon, to the west of the 3,050-metre Catalina Mountain Range. While Tuscon has had an extremely mild and dry winter, two solid days of rain on Thursday and Friday made the car trip to the race extremely difficult. Bonnie Springs Rd., a 19km dirt road that leads to the event, actually had to be closed to non-four-wheel vehicles on Friday due to the deep mud.

The course is 25.5km long and consists of desert singletrack, fire road, and some very rocky terrain. There were 375 metres of climbing per lap. The top riders were able to average an astounding 28km per hour on the course.

Taylor Lideen from Phoenix won the Solo Men's race with a total of 20 laps or 512km. His fastest lap was 1:02 and slowest was 1:24 during the night. Kaitlyn Boyle from Prescott, Arizona, won the Solo Female race with 18 laps. Carla Williams from Roanoke, Virginia, also rode 17 laps but 43 minutes slower than Boyle.

The Average Joey's 4-person Men's Open Team won that category by clocking an impressive 22 laps for 563kms. M&M Cycling Youngsters finished in second place with 21 laps. CZ Racing's 4-Person Women's Open team crushed the competition with an astounding 19 laps. The closest team to them had 14 laps.

Timon Fish from Albuquerque, New Mexico, won the Men's Singlespeed race with 18 laps. Ann Sudoh won the Women's Singlespeed race with 13 laps. Lindsay Nohl also clocked 13 laps but was 48 minutes off the pace of Sudoh.

Todd Sadow, Epic Rides President and Co-Founder was pleased with the weekend. He remarked, “To see the growing popularity of the #24HOP is proof the 24-hour relay race format is a great way to gather folks who love the outdoors and mountain bikes”.

The 2018 edition of the 24-Hours in the Old Pueblo was dedicated to Victoria Cramer, who is a published author and cancer survivor. She has missed only two years of the event, and even raced while undergoing chemotherapy. Her struggle is documented in her memoir, "Living Life Loudly".