Top Finishers 2006
Solo Male Category
1. Mark Hendershot, Grand Rapids, Mich. Completed 32 laps.
2. Peter Jolles, 29 laps
3. Dennis Kuntz, 28 laps
Solo Female Category
1. Danielle Musto, 28, Grand Rapids, Mich. Completed 28 laps.
2. Carey Lowery, 25 laps
3. Karen Moody, 23 laps
Male Team Category
1. Sycamore Cycles, Pisgah Forest, N.C. Completed 41 laps.
2. Middle Ring Mafia, Wilkes (By God) County, N.C., 40 laps
3. Mean Bean, Athens, Ga., 40 laps
Female Team Category
1. Fat Tire Betties, 31 laps
2. Spin Sistas, 29 laps
3. Girls Night Out, 29 laps
Co-Ed Team Category
1. Faster Than Yo Mama. Completed 35 laps.
2. Inevitable Discombobulation, 35 laps
3. Four Guys and a Johnson, 33 laps
2006 Burn Photos
Brandon Eller powered the Sycamore Cycles team
From left: Fifth place Men's Solo finisher Jorge Castillo, Tyler Benedict, event director Eddie O'Dea and Jorge's $149 ride
Lazaro Holguin cheers on riders at the ridgetop aid station
Two riders jockey for position on the Lake Loop
A weary rider nears the finish line Sunday afternoon
Kickin' up a little dust
at the rock garden
Michiganders Danielle Musto
and Mark Hendershot
show off their winnings
Chad Oliver climbs back to the ridge top one last time
Made in the Shade
Leafy woods cut the midday heat
Takin' It to the Bank
Rider rails through a berm turn
A rider feathers the stoppers on the Lake Loop
Not everyone was hurting
at the Burn
Rider puts up with pain
on his last lap
The lake is a cool sight
on a hot day
Wanna see more?
Round the clock race draws a crowd
Record number of riders "feel the burn" at Dark Mountain
More than 250 adrenalin stoked, sleep deprived mountain bikers scorched the trails at Wilkes County's Dark Mountain recreation area May 27-28 during the 2006 Burn 24-Hour Challenge
Racers vied for cash, merchandise and the right to compete in the world mountain bike endurance championships at Conyers, Georgia in October. The round-the-clock race ended at noon May 28th.
The race, sponsored by Burn energy drink, drew top riders from across the eastern U.S. The event also attracted weekend warriors eager to test their physical and mental toughness against the 6.5-mile course through the hills overlooking W. Kerr Scott Reservoir. A record 271 riders participated, a 40 percent increase over 2005.
Mark Hendershot, 41, of Grand Rapids, Michigan finished first in the solo men's category, racking up about 210 miles over the 24 hours.
Danielle Musto, 28, also of Grand Rapids, was the fastest female solo rider, logging about 180 miles over the 24-hour period.
The event's most determined rider may have been Jorge Castillo of Costa Rica. Castillo didn't give up when a sponsor failed to come through with a promised bike. Castillo went to Wal-Mart, picked up a one-size-fits-all Mongoose mountain bike, and rode it for most of the 24 hour event. Castillo finished fifth in the men's solo category, riding his $149 bike against competitors on bikes worth up to $5,000.
Local riders held their own against tough competition.
Ethan Anderson, Kirk Brittain, Jim "Sprocket" Horton, Chad Oliver and Brian Pierce of the local Middle Ring Mafia
Team finished second in the male team category. They were bested by the Sycamore Cycles team from Pisgah Forest, N.C. Sycamore's secret weapon was Brandon Eller, a Wilkes native who moved to the Asheville area last year.
Round the clock event pushes the envelope
The format of the Burn 24-Hour Challenge guaranteed fatigue. Racers ran to their bikes at noon Saturday in a furious mass start. About 50 riders in the solo category kept at it around the clock, taking only brief breaks, until noon Sunday. The rest competed in teams of two to five, alternating riding with rest. Top teams logged more than 250 miles of riding over the course of the 24 hour race.
Team camps were scattered throughout the large grassy field near Kerr Scott Dam. Family and friends offered food and encouragement to the exhausted riders.
The tough terrain took its toll. A rider was treated at Wilkes Regional Medical Center after cracking his helmet in a tough fall Saturday afternoon.
“The rider attempted a jump near the end of the first lap and came down hard on his head,” said Jason Bumgarner of the Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club. “He got up and kept riding, then thought better of it and decided to go to the hospital.” The race was uneventful after that, Bumgarner said.
The course was unlit. Racers used lighting systems to penetrate the deep woods at night. Volunteers from the local cycling club staffed an aid station atop the ridge, checking off riders as they passed during the night.
Tweaked trails draw rave reviews
The Burn event, in its third year in Wilkes, is really catching on, organizers said.
“We're thrilled to death with the response,” said Tyler Benedict of Source Beverages, sponsor of the event.
“Participation is growing in the sport of mountain biking,” said R.G. Absher, assistant operations manager for W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir. “The fantastic weather and good planning made this a very pleasant event for the participants and spectators.”
The trail system at Dark Mountain drew raves from riders and organizers.
“The Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club did an awesome job with the trails,” said event director Eddie O'Dea. “The trails were great last year, but now they're even better. It's an amazing course.”
BMCC volunteers tweaked the course during the off season. They added a new approach trail to the top of the ridge and banked several turns on an already quick downhill section.
BMCC's trail crew, headed by Jim Horton, has built more than a dozen miles of single track mountain biking trails at Kerr Scott. It's one of the biggest volunteer projects in community history, with more than 5,000 hours logged since November 2002.
Middle Ring Mafia nabs second place at 2006 Burn 24
BMCC's own Middle Ring Mafia team nabbed second place in the Men's Team division at the Burn 24 Hour Challenge May 27-28. Pictured from left are team mechanic Richard Fink and riders Ethan Anderson, Jim "Sprocket" Horton, Chad Oliver, Kirk Brittain and Brian Pierce.