The 24-hour mountain biking is exactly what it sounds like: Cyclists try to best one another by riding laps around a race course for 24 hours. This year’s national championship race will use a 19.7-mile course starting at McGaffey Campground.
The mostly single-track course has an average elevation of 7,300 feet. Many riders will be competing relay-style with a team, but others will brave the entire race alone.
Gallup is traditionally known as a cultural destination for Native American art, jewelry, crafts and events, but the city has been using its geography to transform itself into New Mexico’s adventure tourism hub for mountain biking, camping, hiking and other outdoor activities.
Gallup has been awarded the Mountain Bike 24-Hour National Championship for 2013 and 2014 by USA Cycling. About 500 racers are expected at this year’s event and about 2,000 people are expected at the campground staging area.
The weekend event will feature both USA Cycling’s national championship categories and non-championship categories for solo male, solo female and various teams.
The event will also feature a more laid-back Enchanted Forest category geared for novice riders and families. All categories are open to the public, but the national championship categories require riders to have a valid USA Cycling license.
USA Cycling is cycling’s national governing body recognized by the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee, and the International Cycling Union. It is the organization responsible for identifying, training and selecting cyclists to represent the U.S. in international competitions.
As with all Zia Rides-hosted events, the race will be spectator-friendly with plenty of activities outside of the race. The staging area will feature kids’ races, piñatas, bicycle barrel races and the spectator-favorite great beer chase (for adults, and based on the Navajo watermelon chase). There will also be cycling-related movies during the night. For a full list of events, visit the weekend schedule online.