Powderhorn 24

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Powderhorn 24 is a community event and 24-hour bike race that happened this weekend. Twenty-four hour bike race sounds pretty daunting, right? Most riders sign up as a team of two to six people who take shifts riding the course, although some brave folks go it alone. There’s a recommended route that’s 5 miles, and riders get points by making it to check points and completing laps. They also get points by doing bonus laps which include various tasks, like riding a unicycle. A tent city emerges along the Midtown Greenway outside Freewheel Midtown, as riders take nap breaks, stuff their faces with food, or just relax with others until their next turn comes up.

Last year was the first year I’d heard of it, and it sounded completely nuts. Even this year, I was skeptical of the whole thing. I’m very picky about my sleep, and riding my bike for hours in the middle of the night followed by trying to grab some Zs while sleeping on the ground did not sound like my idea of fun. I was finally convinced, very late in the game, that it’s actually an amazing experience. By that time, most of my friends had signed up for teams already. I decided not to do it but instead walked around in the hot, hot, heat yesterday with my dog, giving encouragement, fetching water, and taking photos. Everyone I talked to was sweaty and exhausted, but exuberant. Many teams were in it just to have fun and experience this new way of interacting with bikes and the community. Even though everyone looked physically miserable from the heat, exertion, and lack of sleep; there was this clear and palpable energy. They were part of Something Big. You could feel the air buzzing with it.

I’m definitely going to do it next year.

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