E100 kicks off with 12 Hours of Endurance
For athletes intimidated by the sound of a 100-mile mountain bike race, the Endurance-100 Race Series president Boris Lyubner says he hopes that The 12 Hours of Endurance race, June 23, will quell their fears and lure them into trying more difficult stages later in the summer, including the famed 100-mile solo event.
"I think the 12-hour race will become more popular even than the E-100 because it’s such a fun atmosphere," he said. "It’s a team deal, so you don’t have to go the whole way all at once. It’s still a hard event, but you can go at your own pace."
The race, which allows solo riders and teams of two or four, will sponsor a biking program for the National Ability Center. About 150 riders participated in last year’s event, raising $800.
"It’s really exciting to see the people who will be benefiting," Lyubner said.
This year’s race, which begins at the NAC parking lot at 7 a.m., will also feature a disabled bike expo. Lyubner said he expects the funds raised will increase significantly this year through greater participation.
"Participation has grown about 25 percent each time we’ve done it," he said of the four-year-old event.
Lyubner called last summer’s race the "event of Girl Power" for the number of impressive women’s performances. The overall solo winner, David Harris of Durango, Col., completed an impressive 14 laps, 140 miles, in 12 hours with an elevation change equaling 18,200 feet. But Lynda Wallenfels wasn’t far behind. The St. George resident tied the second- and third-place male finishers, completing 13 laps.
The winning two- and four-person teams, all comprised of couples, further contributed to Lyubner’s assessment. "These winning teams weren’t all men," he said. "The women really did well."
A number of high-profile athletes have expressed interest in participating this year, including Olympian Tinker Jourez, who "has it on his calendar." But he did not know yet who would officially register.
"It would be irresponsible to speculate at this point," he said.
A bid to sanction the race as a nationally sanctioned event, allowing professional cyclists to gain points for USA championship races, would draw even more elite athletes, but Lyubner said the race would remain friendly to beginners and less serious cyclists as well. The course, which circles Round Valley, is not technically difficult, he said.
"The competition is stirred up with professional and regular athletes," he said. "It’s exciting to start a race with Olympians next to you. People are inspired, not intimidated."
Lyubner may need to cap the field at 499 competitors if the race grows too popular, but he said he will take the first people to register rather than set qualifying times.
"I don’t care who registers. It’s first-come, first-served," he said. To inspire a festive atmosphere at the end, Lyubner will supply food from Volkner Bakery as well as beer and Red Bull. "Everyone will want to party when they’re done," he said.
Lyubner said those who want to participate, but not compete, can volunteer with course marking and sweeping. "We make sure it’s worthwhile," Lyubner said, citing T-shirts, hats and backpacks among the swag on the list for volunteers. "But I think volunteers don’t do this for free stuff," he said. "They do it because like watching racing and want to support the athletes."
To register or volunteer for the race, visit ww.thee100.com. The next race in the series is the Endurance-100 relay and 50-mile solo race, taking place July 21.
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