7.08.2004

THE FATE OF GRANNY GEAR PRODUCTIONS

This year was the 13th year of Granny Gear's 24 Hour Racing in West Virginia. In these years I have raced at a variety of Laird Knight's venues; Canaan, West VA; Snowshoe, West VA; Donner Pass, CA, and Moab Utah. Each and every race is presented and promoted in the most professional of fashions. His most popular and most successful race is his West Virginia original... I witnessed the growth of this event both in participation and in sideline entertainment. This race had become a festival for all who attended, racers and spectators alike. Then something happened. It happened slowly, and it had been happening all along. People were losing interest. Laird was still selling out his event, but people stopped returning. The course at Snowshoe was in an environmental niche that got lots of rain and did not drain it. It seemed as if this event was cursed, it would be dry the weeks leading up to the event and then THUNDER/CRASH/SPLASH! RAIN OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS. And this year was no different. Seasoned racers who love racing and particularly love the 24 hour race format finding themselves swearing that they would not return to race this course again. Admitably I said those words myself two years ago, and regretted missing last years event, returned this year only to repeat those words again on my night laps. To our cumulative joy all the participants were greeted with morning sunshine and the news that Granny Gear was leaving Snowshoe and seeking and alternate West Virginia venue. (Laird is nothing shy of faithful to West VA, his contributions are not just to mountainbiking, but to West VA tourism as well, he loves this Wild and Wonderful State!)

Racing has taken a hit!

I have seen the Dan Comber's race series grow too large too fast and nearly kill itself. Strange parallels between the health of these events. As a East Coast mountainbiker it scares me to see the declining race options in the east. But, such declining in race participation is not only in the East, as it turns out Laird has canceled this year's Northern California 24 Hour Race Event.

Here is what Laird sent out to his email list of Northern California 24 Hour Racers....

Howdy NorCal 24 Hour Racing Fans,

Thank you all for the superb feedback on my recent e-mails regarding our search for a 24 hour racing venue in NorCal. The response to the possibility of running a race at the ultra-gnarly Donner Pass location was very positive and very encouraging. I was really amped by the idea of getting to race this course again and was willing to take the financial risks on blind faith alone.

The venue itself at Donner Pass is in some financial difficulty and there is a possibility that the property may go to auction in late July. That being the case, there is no way that we could be assured of having a race. Some risks are worth taking but I wouldn't want to risk your time and effort only to disappoint.

So, it looks like the best thing for us to do is to look forward to Moab while we continue to look for a NorCal venue for 2005. By all means, keep your suggestions coming. We've got a good list going but we're giving every new suggestion its due. Keep in mind that we can even run events in remote locations as long as there's enough space to camp everyone. In Moab, we host 5,500 racers and their support crew with hot showers and food service, twelve miles from the nearest utilities!

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments and kind words of support. Our commitment to bringing you the finest racing experiences remains unshaken. I hope you'll consider the possibility of bringing your team out to The 10th Annual 24 Hours of Moab. I can guarantee you one of the most memorable racing experiences of your life. It is a truly world-class event.

Best Regards and Happy Trails,

-Laird Knight

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Granny Gear official race page, check it out....have fun looking over the results of years past....GWADZILLA has a history with these races.

Laird Knight, I have already directed people to this site. But it is interesting to read the history of all the people who have become members of the Mountainbike Hall of Fame. It is an interesting group of people. People who have all made contributions to make the sport of mountainbiking what it is today. And I thank them!

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