Great Glen Trails has put on the 24 Hours of Great Glen for 20 years! To the dismay of many 24HOGG fans this past race was the last one ever. Why has it ended? Is lap racing going the way of the wind surfer? Or more likely there are other reasons that only God, Howie, and his crew are aware of. All of us two-wheeled endorphin junkies are left speculating and day dreaming about what, if anything, GG will replace the 24HOGG with.
What was the 24HOGG all about? A lot of people have trouble wrapping their heads around the idea of riding your bike for 24 hours, solo or on a team. In fact, I have trouble putting my finger on why I do it. Yes its fun to race mountain bikes, yes I thrive on competition, personal and among other racers, yes I’m a bit of a chest-thumper.
But a larger part of the formula is the camaraderie and community created and shared at an event of this size and time frame. With 500+ cyclists of all abilities packed into one small valley in northern NH, all feeling the same pain, elation, fatigue, confusion, and eventual relief, awesome things happen. The good vibes generated from cheering for total strangers pushing themselves hard into the night lasts for weeks, and can only be described as crack for the mountain biker’s soul. The sense of community and energy that swells to fill an entire mountain valley doesn’t drain away like water from a burst dam when the event is over. Instead everyone that partakes in the 24HOGG takes a bucket of good vibes back with them, to share with friends, and to nourish there soul until the next event.
So is endurance mountain bike racing a macho adrenaline-fueled throwdown? Or one of the last places we can find a real sense of community?