For some reason, the idea of a 24 Hours of Darkness Mountain Bike Festival in December never caught on.
Thankfully, the 24 Hours of Light Mountain Bike Festival is as popular as ever, drawing in 29 teams and solo riders, adding up to 130 riders in total.
“They have 24-hour events all over the world, but what makes ours unique is we don’t have lights,” said Sierra Van Der Meer, co-organizer of the event. “Because we have 24 hours of light.
“Not everyone has a great light system for their bike, but up here anyone can ride until 1 a.m. If you were doing this race somewhere down south, you’d have to have a really nice set of lights for your bike.”
The full day of racing, put on by the Contagious Mountain Bike Club, began Saturday at noon and ended Sunday at the same time. The previous two years the event has been held at the Copper Haul Train Station, but now was back to its original location at Mt. McIntyre.
“It’s partly just to mix things up a little bit,” said Van Der Meer. “Last year it got really cold and we didn’t have any indoor facilities. This year we decided to get some indoor facilities just in case the sky fell down, like it did a couple hours ago.
“We have a slightly different course, for those of us who do it every year it’s nice to get a little different change of scenery.”
Taking first in the largest category, with 15 teams entered, was a Whitehorse team with the ironically humourous name, No Funny Name, winning the eight-person division with 25 laps of the 14-kilometre course.
“Most of use have done the race before but on different teams,” said No Funny Name captain Paul Burbridge. “I think the trail was better than the previous one, it has more single track and it’s a little tougher.”
Surprisingly, the team won the eight-person division, racing with a five-person team.
“We smoked—consistency was the key to victory,” said Burbridge’s teammate, Mark Nelson. “Fast and steady wins the race.”
Winning the solo-riders division was Juneau’s Ryan Siverly, 22, with 12 laps completed.
“The initial plans was to try and do it in stages of five hours,” said Siverly. “With the bi-polar weather we were having, that plan went out the window.”
Siverly has competed seven times in the event—twice winning with an eight-person team—but this was his first attempt at a solo. His exhausted state was exemplified by requesting a pillow be his prize.
“I think I’ll take a couple years off and do some team riding and then maybe try and go back to it,” said Siverly. “I got about three hours sleep this morning, but that’s about it.”
To boost scores while helping feed the hungry, teams could double the value of a lap by making a food or financial donation and riding the “vomit comet,” a slow “crappy” bike.
“You have to donate to the Whitehorse Food Bank in order to ride the vomit comet,” said Van Der Meer. “In past years we used it to raise money for certain causes; last year we sent 10 bikes to Africa with proceeds we raised.”
In the past, riders would be awarded bonus laps for riding in the nude. This was not the case this year, but some skin could still be seen.
Eight-person team Tighty-Whitey, who finished 12th and was the only all-men team in the division, rode the entire race wearing nothing but their tighty-whitey undergarments. To help the team keep track of laps—and perhaps also to either intimidate or disgust their opposition—each team member would hang up the pair of skimpy underwear after each loop.
“They were brand new to begin with—they were virgin, untouched underwear,” said Tighty-Whitey team member Norm Curzon. “We’ve got a lot of positive feedback for what we’ve been doing.
“Yesterday, in the first four hours, it was really cold and it made you think, ‘Why am I only wearing underwear and riding a bike?’ But it was amazing actually—we were fairly warm.”
1st Ryan Siverly – 12 laps
2nd Hans Gatt – 9 laps
3rd David Pedersen – 8 laps
4th Ross Phillips – 4 laps
5th Jonah Clarke – 4 laps
6th Scott Yarnall – 3 laps
Best lap: Jonah Clarke – 40:57
Two person teams
1st Dirty River Kids (mixed) – 15 laps
2nd Leg It (men) – 12 laps
3rd One Nut & A Bolt (mixed) – 11 laps
4th 2 Girls/1 Water Bottle (women) – 6 laps
5th Marsh/Niki (women) – 5 laps
Best lap: Dirty River Kids – 52:21
Four person teams
1st Axles of Evil (mixed) – 21 laps
2nd B-RPMs (mixed) – 16 laps
3rd Fanfiluca (mixed) – 15 laps
4th Ninja bunnies (mixed) – 14 laps
Best lap: Axles of Evil – 47:28
Eight person teams
1st No Funny Name (mixed) – 25 laps
2nd Party In Dave’s Pants (mixed) – 24 laps
3rd Up/Down/Around/About (mixed) – 23 laps
4th Atlin Connection (mixed) – 22 laps
5th Beasts from the Southeast (mixed) – 20 laps
6th Riding With Phillipe Flops (mixed) – 20 laps
7th Happy-Go-Lucky Velocity Hillbillies (mixed) – 20 laps
8th Four Chicks and a Rooster (mixed) – 19 laps
9th Bottle of run and a Couple Sore Bums (mixed) – 19 laps
10th Team Free Candy (mixed) – 18 laps
Best lap: Party In Dave’s Pants – 45:23
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