One week left until 12-hour race is run
Half a day might be a long time to spend on a bike for some people, but it’s just a warm-up for bikers taking part in the Endurance 100 race series.
The 12 Hours of Endurance race, which will be held on June 24, is a half-day race along a 10-mile loop of single track stretching from the National Ability Center across the Round Valley trails, with about 1,300 feet of elevation gain. It is the first in a trio of increasingly difficult mountain bike races that are the brainchild of Parkite Boris Lyubner.
As event organizer, Lyubner wanted to design an ultra endurance bike race that showed off Park City’s unique trail system and high elevations. Of course, such a race can be daunting to first-time racers, so he added in the 12-hour race and a 50-mile solo/team relay race, allowing people to prepare themselves for the grueling 100-mile event.
"It’s a pretty serious warm-up," Lyubner said.
But the race series is about more than endurance and scenery. The event also benefits the NAC’s Adaptive Cycling programs that allows disabled citizens to experience the joy of bike riding, as well as the Challenged Athlete Foundation, which helps less-fortunate disabled athletes.
"It will bring good feelings that they don’t just race for their own good feelings, but to raise awareness," Lyubner said.
This year, the 12-hour event will coincide with the Adaptive Bike Expo. The free on-site event will allow riders to demo handcylces, tandems, recumbents, and other products.
Lyubner says that the 12 Hours of Endurance can be viewed as a singular event. He welcomes duos or families to compete in the race relay-style, switching off every few hours. Now in its third year, Lyubner says he has seen all sorts of team sign up. All-female teams, couples and close friends have come together to compete. As in years past, local and out-of-state firefighters and police are competing in teams against each other.
"It’s a special family event," Lyubner said.
And it’s growing. Last year, one-third of all racers were Parkites, another third were Utahns and the rest were from outside of the state. Many have already signed up for one or all of the races and Lyubner says that more always register the day of the event.
Lyubner says that the out-of-state numbers will likely increase this year. The 100-mile race has been added to the National MTB (Mountain Bike) Ultra Endurance Series, which stages races across the country with points awarded at every event, and the regionally based NORBA Rocky Mountain Ultra Mountain Series. Series contenders frequently attend the earlier races to prepare. Often, altitude training is necessary and racers come to Utah a few times to acclimate.
Lyubner is also witnessing more and more people choosing to compete in all three events.
"They see the quality and do all three," Lyubner said.
Some pro riders, such as past winners David Harris and Cyndi Schwandt, have competed for the last two years and look to contend for this year’s titles.
The 12-hour race is open to all ages and abilities, including the disabled cyclists attending the festival.
"It’s a great opportunity for people to step onto this growing market," Lyubner said.
Lyubner says that for locals, the race is a chance to watch the endurance cyclists, as well as attending the adaptive cycling festival.
"You will see friends and neighbors and it will be quite spectacular," Lyubner said.
This is the first year that the three races will be sponsored by Subaru. Lyubner says that because most endurance mountain bikers are between the ages of 35-50, they are part of the car company’s target market. As the popularity of the three events continue to grow, other major sponsors are likely to join in the effort. Sinclair Oil has been part of the events for all three years. Lyubner says that the volume of racers and good results have kept them interested.
"I’m very pleased," Lyubner said. "I’m working hard to make it happen — being part of a national and regional series and having a major sponsor on board."
Lyubner will mark the course the night before with flags to keep everyone on the 10-mile loop. Last year, he set up flags a few days ahead and many were removed before the race. This time, he wants to make sure the race runs smoothly. Lyubner is also hoping that non-participants will avoid the trail on race day to prevent any problems. The trails will be open for public use, but hiking or non-event biking might be difficult.
Course marshals will be placed along the route to provide water and help the riders if needed. The event will also have an emcee to keep spectators abreast of the race results.
For more information or to register, visit http://www.the endurance100.com
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