A Tough Day in the Wilderness: Hammerhead 100 Mountain Bike Race

April 16, 2014 Updated: April 16, 2014

OCALA, Fla.—Another Sunday, another mountain bike endurance race. This weekend, April 13, it was the GoneRiding Hammerhead 100 at the Landbridge Trailhead of the Greenway Trails in Ocala, Fla., an eight-hour race over a ridiculously long 25-mile course snaking through hardwood and long-leaf pine forests, alternating between fast fire roads and narrow singletrack.

Race organizers GoneRiding offered 25-, 50-, and 100 miles options to suit the variety of riders who show up for these events, and for the different definitions of what makes for a fun day on the bike.

In all, 258 riders divided into six classes and three distances completed the course, some riding solo, others on two-person teams. (Full results are online at http://goneriding.com/images/pdfs/hammerhead/results/14hh.pdf)

Recreational riders, young riders, and seriously fast riders who wanted to have some fun and still have enough energy to do other things on their Sunday chose the shorter options. As one rider explained, he did his flat-out 25-mile blast, went home, took a nap, had a drink, and came back to watch the 100-milers finish.

The die-hard, hardcore, potentially crazy riders—of all ages—picked the 100-mile distance.

These riders rolled home eight hours after the event started, stiff and sore already, but very satisfied just to have survived. Sure, there were trophies and prizes for the winners (and free food and beverages for all the riders) but no one rides 100 miles in Florida heat just for a prize or a trophy. There has to be some measure of wanting to test oneself, to fully utilize one’s abilities—and these riders do.

It is awe-inspiring to see some of these riders, after eight hours of hammering in the saddle, still riding fast through the twisting trails, looking like they were stating their first, not finishing their fourth laps.

It is equally inspiring to see young casual riders struggling hard to finish their 25th mile, or to see a family out riding the course for fun.

Mountain bike endurance racing is an inclusive sport. People can participate at any level and are afforded the same respect if they ride five miles and quit or ride 100 at maximum speed. Showing up and trying grants entry to the community; everyone who wants to ride is welcome.

There are two events left on the GoneRiding Endurance Race calendar, the 12 Hours of Tsali in Bryson City, North Carolina on May 17 and the 8 Hours of Labor in Alachua, Florida on August 31. Riders cna register at the GoneRiding website.

More photos will eventually be posted at CyclopsPhotos.com.

(All photos: (Chris Jasurek/Epoch Times)