November 1, 1997 Night of The Living Dead 24 Hour Mountain Bike Challenge

The Riders:

  • William Martin
  • Ed Smith
  • Chris Rose
  • Charlie Mitchell
  • Mark Heit
  • Robert McCarty
  • Dave Seymour
  • Bill Henke
  • Craig Cheeseman

The Record: Just the rain No record was set! The Course – 10 mile loop on the Blue Trail (counter clockwise) 150ft climbing per lap.

This year the word was RAIN. For the first 5 laps, things went real smooth for I and my friends. The average speed per lap was 11 MPH, which is very fast. After the fifth lap it looked as though it wasn’t going to rain as predicted and visions of a record danced in my head. I headed out for my sixth lap with Dave Seymour. Half way through the lap it started to rain. As they finished their lap it was a full-fledged rainstorm.

Dave and I changed into some rain gear and set out for another lap. I knew that there would be heavy rain for the rest of the night, and I started to see my chances of breaking the record diminish. A quarter mile into lap seven, I stuffed my wheel into a stump and crashed over my handlebars. I was injured and the front wheel of my bike was tacoed. Dave and I headed back into the pits so that I could assess the damage. After relentless tinkering, I brought my front wheel back into trueness. I wondered how long it would stay that way.

Not injured enough to stop, I headed out again alongside my friend Dave. The lap was horrifying. The trail was covered with water and the fog was thick. Every hill became a slick slide-fest. The lap was made even more deadly at the road crossings were the traffic could not see where they were going. As they finished their lap, a small group gathered at the pits to see if I would continue. Dave, now shaken up, was finished. I would have to go out on my own for the next lap.

Numerous attempts were made to talk I out of continuing, but I set off on another desperate lap. I knew that I would have trouble finishing the 24 hours, let alone setting a new record. After lap eight, my friends, Paul and Lucy, convinced me into not risking my life any longer. Bill decided to quit the effort, and felt as though my soul had died. The Blue Trail had beaten him.

After I fell asleep the rain stopped. Once I awoke I set out again, just like the previous year, to salvage my dignity. I rode the fastest 2nd day laps ever, and finished with 125.387 miles at 12:12 PM.