“It’s looking like this year will be the last race,” said event organizer and founder Laird Knight in a recent email sent to race participants. “It’s been a fun, 17-year ride. Lots of challenges, lots of victories, lots of friendships, and lots of memories. This year’s event is going to be bittersweet for me, but I’m looking forward to putting on a great show, as usual. I’m really going to soak it in. I hope you’ll get to soak it in, too.”
After experiencing a marked decline in the number of participants last year, Knight said he hopes to see the numbers for the 2012 event get up to approximately 300 entrants once again.
The 2012 race is scheduled to start at noon on Saturday, Oct. 6 with the riders lining up in for a LeMans-style foot race to their bicycles. Riders will then begin making 15-mile loops over the rugged course including sections of sand and slickrock. The race ends at noon on Sunday, with winners determined by who completes the most laps. Teams are grouped into various categories according to factors such as age, gender, experience, and number of people per team.
Two-time solo champion and course record holder Josh Tostado is among the top endurance cyclists scheduled to compete in this year’s race, Knight said.
In a message to participants following the 2011 race, Knight indicated that the cost of producing the event, combined with declining numbers, could force him to discontinue the race.
“The 24 Hours of Moab is an expensive event to produce. It always has been,” he wrote in 2011. “Hosting thousands of people in the middle of the desert is no small effort and, far from being a profit center, the camping and gate fees that we charge only serve to offset our expenses.”
More information is available on the event’s website at www.grannygear.com.