The 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo experience is something any serious mountain biker should behold during their career. Often referred to as “Burning Man for mountain bikers” Old Pueblo attracts an estimated 4,500 riders and spectators to a desolate desert landscape they call 24 Hour Town.
Old Pueblo isn’t just about racing though, it’s about beer gardens, drum circles, whisky hand ups, cactus thorns, drunk guys wearing tutus, rock drops, and uninhibited fun.
As 24 hour events crumble across the country it’s no surprise that 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo continues to grow year after year. Todd Sadow and the crew at Epic Rides have this event dialed and put astounding effort into providing each participant an unforgettable experience.
The weather has done it’s part the last few years as well bringing warmth and calm nights to riders focused on pushing their limits.
The course at Old Pueblo is an inviting 16.5 miles of relatively flat riding. The circuit is roughly 70% singletrack and lined with the most ominous strains of cactus in the west. Unpleasant characters named Prickly Pear, Saguaro, Organ Pipe, Barrell, and Jumping Cholla stand guard along the edges of the course yearning for a chance to plunge a spiny thorn into a flared elbow, tilted shin, or tumbling body. The ultimate focus is needed at all times, a difficult proposition when one is on their 7th lap at three in the morning.
The numbers are simply staggering at Old Pueblo. The attraction is not surprising after participating in one of the most unique mountain bike events in the nation.
Old Pueblo isn’t all drinking and zebra-unicorn costumes. The racing is serious and the riders are focused. Many of the nation’s top athletes travel to the desert outside Oracle searching for early season fitness and the locals, who have been racing all winter, are anxious to put their form to the test.
The music doesn’t stop as night falls in 24 Hour Town.
24 Hour in the Old Pueblo is a refreshing combination of fun and serious competition in a world that too often leans too far toward one or the other. The Old Pueblo has much to offer and will once again leave the thousands of participants satisfied and making plans for 2017.