Sleep-deprived mountain bikers from across the land root-rock-and-rolled their way around the clock last weekend during the Ford Gorge Games’ 24-hour mountain bike event.
Amid the dust clouds, tumbleweeds and scorching afternoon sun at the Whoop-Dee Trail, 252 riders in seven divisions began grinding their gears at noon Saturday (July 20), and didn’t finish until noon Sunday — the winners completing the 10-mile course between 22-30 times each.
Some teams felt they could have completed even more laps, but had to cope with issues such as fatigue and mechanical breakdowns.
“We built up a pretty good lead during the day, but had some mechanical problems in the late evening that slowed us down a bit,” said Alice Pennington, an Oregon State University mountain-bike star and member of the Disco Chicks, who won first place in the women’s four-person division with 23 laps.
“We fell behind a team from Seattle (Dirt Divas) for a few laps, but we weren’t worried. It just meant we had to work harder to make up for lost time,” she said.
Joining Pennington on the winning team were Hood River residents Julie Wilson and Jaime Goffin, and Corvallis native, Emily Babcock.
Fellow locals “Work in Progress” (David Dorocke, Dee Holzman, Bob Olson, Jennifer Wilson) rambled their way past the four-person co-ed division with 22 laps, while two other local teams — Gorge Electric (five-person co-ed) and Discover Bicycles (four-person, men’s) — finished second in their divisions with 28 and 25 laps, respectively.
The Gorge Electric team was comprised of Todd Clay, Ryan Coyner, Terry Lansell, Richard Lee and Alexis Vaivoda, while Discover Bicycles drew its energy from Rich Cramer, Ted Cramer, Ted Grauman and Derl Miller.
Another notable local finish was that of the Summit Multi-Colored Projectiles (Tamara Ball, Tom Huminski, Jim Kimball Rob McCready and Dick Virk), who took third place in the five-person co-ed division.
Additional competitors from around the valley were Mike Colesar and Michael Jones, who competed in the solo men’s division, and teams From the Hood, a four-person men’s team, and Two the Pain, which competed in the Fiesta division.