20 minutes of 24 hours

Rock out, man

Stoned again.

The 24 Hours of COS, a.k.a. USA Cycling’s 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championship, is going on as we speak in Palmer Park, so between paying chores I popped round for a peek, as I did last year.

And just like last year, the whole thing seemed rather underwhelming, spectacle-wise. Here’s one rider; there’s another. And another. And another.

No disrespect intended. It’s a race intended for participants, not spectators, and I’m sure things get much more interesting when the sun goes down and the wildlife comes out and that rocky stretch that seemed so eminently rideable just a dozen hours ago turns into a black-hole Stonehenge express elevator leading directly to Hell.

But in the daylight it had all the excitement of a strip-mall carnival’s merry-go-round.

It’s a shame nobody was passing out prizes for abusing yourself over a 24-hour period back in the Eighties. I’d have a walk-in closet full of stars-and-stripes jerseys.

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8 Responses to “20 minutes of 24 hours”

  1. Charley Says:

    Fortunately, a few sports are first and foremost for the participants. Triathlon, long distance running, and mountain biking are some of them. Lots of camaraderie and respect amount the participants.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The sport’s governing bodies have managed to make mountain biking less interesting for participants, too, with their attempts to make the discipline more TV-friendly. That Olympic course in England was a travesty.

  2. john Says:

    For whatever reason, any mention of Stonehenge brings to mind that scene from Spinal Tap …

    Nasty weather up here in New England, with no end in sight. Rain, temperature in the 50s. If I were a fanatic I’d be on my bike, but — I’m not.

  3. Larry T. Says:

    Did a 24 hour motorcycle roadrace once, stints of about an hour to 90 minutes for each rider. Can’t imagine riding around on a MTB for 24 hours but hey, if folks “enjoy” that, more power to ’em, at least they’re not out campaigning for Mitt Romney! Sent my ballot in via mail already, now I want the campaign phone calls to STOP!!!

  4. md anderson Says:

    Well it’s got to be more interesting than a time trial. I’ve done my share of 24 hour racing, and always had a lot of fun both as racer and observer.

    Maybe its the Championship aspect that makes it a bit more grim. Come out to one with just plain folks riding and drinking and various other shenanigans and see if you don’t enjoy yourself.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Oh, MD, good Lord, no. I’m not the worst mountain biker in the world, but I will do until s/he comes along. I can barely ride one of those boingy bikes in the daylight.

      Now, if someone offers up a 24-hour cyclo-cross race, I might just take an interest. There better be reflectors on the barriers, though.

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