Olympic MTB Park Host 1999 Finals|
Wednesday, November 10, 1999
The beautiful hot weather over the October 2-3 weekend was welcomed by the many participants. For most, this was their first 24 hour mountain biking event. The 24 Hours of Adrenalin, a North American wide 24 hour series (4 events in the US & 4 events in Canada) rapped up its 1999 series at the Georgia International Horse Park.
The event began Saturday at noon as several hundred spectators and riders from 35 teams representing 150 riders, amassed at the starting line for one of the most exciting starts in mountain biking today, the LeMans Start. The start consists of a rider from each team running a 500 meter short loop before getting on their bikes and heading out onto the course. The 8.5-mile loop followed the Olympic course used in the 1996 Olympics. People raved about the course saying it was exciting challenging and constantly offered a different variety of trails keeping the rider on their toes for their entire lap. The famous granite rock sections were a new challenge for most. Riders, spectators and support crews basked in the sun, sat around the campfire and enjoyed roasting marshmallows and hot dogs. After the Sunday noon finish everyone gathered for the post race pasta party and awards ceremonies to wrap up the event and celebrate everyone's best efforts.
Most teams were from the Atlanta and Conyers area such as the SORBA team (Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association) participating and supporting the event and taking home a second place finish in Open Age 150-199 category. While most riders were local, teams and riders came from as far away as British Columbia and Ontario (Canada). States represented were Tennessee, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Arizona, Minnesota and Massachusetts. The majority of riders participated in the 5 Person Open Age teams whereas several teams participated in the 2, 4 and 6-10 person team categories. In addition 8 solo riders, riders who compete by themselves entirely for the 24 hours, such as Greg Blackwell-Gary Fisher (first), Michael Madden (second), Jon Kirschke-Power Bar (third), Pat Irwin-Airborne Bicycles who rides single-speed (fifth) and Katie Lindquist (second at the worlds and first this weekend) competed. Greg Blackwell with his victory clinched the North American Solo Point Series victory from Jon Kirschke, who has completed all seven 24 Hours of Adrenalin events this year. With 3 victories in the last three 24 Hours of Adrenalin, Greg Blackwell definitely earned his new title as the Solo Point Series Champion.
The Georgia International Horse Park's mountain biking trail system has been under scrutiny lately due to course conditions, however the park's maintenance staff did an excellent job grooming and preparing the trails for the inaugural 24 hour event. Participants left with a good impression of the Georgia International Horse Park and the course conditions reinforced the legacy of the first Olympic Mountain biking venue and course in the United States. Dates for 2000 are being determined and will be released in the upcoming weeks.