On Saturday afternoon, I and a couple of my riding buddies went to the course where the 24 hour race is held and rode it to see what its like. The course is a really enjoyable 16.3 mile which is mostly beautiful single track with a few areas of old jeep roads thrown in. Since we got confused a couple of times, we ended up riding 17 miles. It took us 2 hours to complete a lap, a truly un-competitive time.
Before we started, we talked a bit with a guy who is probably 75-80 years old. He had just finished a lap on a single speed in 1:25. His tale, if true, solidified my resolve not to enter the race.
The drive from Phoenix actually takes you south of the track quite a way, then north on a gravel/dirt road to the course area, about 2.5 hours from Phoenix. It seems like a round about way to get there, but that's what the directions say.
When we finished up and were ready to head back to Phoenix, a guy we know said his GPS said there was a short cut back to Hwy 79 that would cut a good 25 miles off the return trip. I had mapped directions on Google Earth the day before and it showed a route across the valley, but when I zoomed in and followed the directions given, there were areas where the line across didn't appear to actually follow a road. Anyway, it was the weekend, so what the hell. We followed the guy west for about 30 minutes while the road became a jeep trail, then a set of tire tracks, then a barbed wire fence with nothing but mesquite, prickly pear, and no gate. By the time we got back to the race course, it was already dark, but no problem backtracking.
In all, we spent almost 6 hours travelling to get in a 2 hour bike ride. It was a nice way to delay the chores I would have done at home.