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2004 Burn Photos

Matt Adams burns through a turn.

Sweet of the Jeep road

On the homestretch to the lake

Adrenalin rush

Look of determination

The daily grind

Chad Oliver ready to hand off... Matt Adams

Brandon's happy it's over

Rolling out of the woods

Daniel and Smithey in the dark

Last lap
Team Biking Buddies: Richard,
Brandon, Steve, Michael and Brian
Thankful for some flat ground

 Hundreds take on BMCC-built trails at Dark Mountain May 29th-30th, 2004
Burn 24-Hour Challenge a big hit

About 200 mountain bikers scorched the trails at Wilkes County's Dark Mountain recreation area Memorial Day weekend 2004 during the Burn 24-Hour Challenge.

The mountain bike endurance race was a big hit with competitors and spectators. "The feedback has been overwhelmingly wonderful, and the new venue was a hit!" said event director Tyler Benedict. "It was better than I ever anticipated," said BMCC president Dwight Levi.

195 racers vied for cash, merchandise and the right to compete in the world mountain bike endurance championships at Whistler, British Columbia.  The round-the-clock mountain bike endurance race ended at noon Sunday, May 30th.

The race, sponsored by Burn energy drink, drew top riders from ten U.S. states, Ontario and Puerto Rico.  The event also attracted weekend warriors eager to test their physical and mental toughness against the six-mile course through the hills overlooking Kerr Scott Lake.

Anderson, Camp take solo honors

Bob Anderson, 38, of Crozet, Va. finished first in the solo men's category, racking up about 180 miles over the 24 hours.

"The hardest part was staying awake at 4:00 a.m.," said Anderson, a funeral director.

Anderson never slept and stopped only briefly during the 24-hour race.  "If I stopped, I knew I'd be stopped for quite a while."

Vicky Camp of Asheville was the fastest female solo rider, logging about 140 miles over the 24-hour period.

Team Spinz of High Point won the two-person team competition, Team Critter of Richmond, Va. took the coed team honors and Team Deliverance of Wise, Va. bested the field in the male team category.

Local riders held their own against tough outside competition.

Brandon Eller, Steve Hall, Michael Satterfield and Brian Pierce of the Biking Buddies Team finished fourth overall in the male team category.   Matt Adams, Kirk Brittain, Jim "Sprocket" Horton and Chad Oliver of the Middle Ring Mafia Team finished sixth in the male team category. Both teams completed 38 laps of the six-mile course while competing against teams with five members.

Dynamic duo Annette Bednosky and George Santucci of Biking Buddies finished fifth in the two-person team category.

Round the clock event demands endurance

The format of the Burn 24-Hour Challenge guaranteed fatigue.  Racers ran to their bikes at noon Saturday in a furious mass start.  About 40 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 200 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.  The six-mile course featured two climbs from the shores of Kerr Scott Lake to the top of Dark Mountain.  Some competitors speculated aloud about their sanity as they slowly slogged up the steep slope to the top.  Once atop the ridge, racers blitzed through an undulating tangle of rolling singletrack trails, encountering tight turns, a "rock garden" and several optional jumps.  

At the bike repair tent, mechanics Mark Bumgarner and Sam Hutchens from Cook's of North Wilkesboro worked into the wee hours replacing derailleurs and  chains shattered by the strain.

Wilkes Rescue Squad members were on site throughout the race, but encountered no injuries beyond the expected scraped elbows and knees.  A massage therapist did a brisk business trying to knead life back into tired leg muscles.

The course was unlit.  Racers used lighting systems to penetrate the deep woods at night.  BMCC volunteers staffed an aid station atop the ridge, checking off riders as they passed during the night.

BMCC-built trails debut to rave reviews

The Burn 24-Hour Challenge was a debut of sorts for the trail network at Dark Mountain.  The trails near Wilkesboro have been complete and open to the public for several months, but weren't officially dedicated until ceremonies Saturday, May 29th.

BMCC volunteers have logged more than 1,200 hours adding about six miles of singletrack trail at Dark Mountain, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Terry Ramsey said.

Riders were pleased with the freshly-built trails.  "This course is awesome!" one competitor exclaimed to no one in particular as he completed his initial lap.

"Riders love these trails," said BMCC president Dwight Levi.  "We've gotten nothing but positive feedback about the course," agreed event director Tyler Benedict.

BMCC's trail design crew, headed by Jim Horton, used techniques taught by the International Mountain Bicycling Association during a November 2002 clinic in Wilkes.  IMBA trail building expert Rich Edwards, a racer in the Burn event, gave the trails a big thumbs up.

Horton himself wasn't so upbeat.  "I hate this trail!" he groused Sunday morning after he completed his last lap of the course.  "It got longer and harder every time."

The trails were largely dry despite a rainy run-up to the race.  They are designed to shed water and hold up under heavy traffic.

Most riders rode the trails for the first time this weekend, but said they'd be back.

"Kerr Scott is the next mountain biking mecca in North Carolina.  The Burn 24 puts Dark Mountain in the ranks of Tsali and other nationally-known trails in western North Carolina," said Jason Bumgarner, BMCC's coordinator for the Burn event.

BMCC landed a $10,000 tourism development grant from the Wilkesboro Tourism Development Authority in July 2003 to support trail construction efforts.  With trail development efforts at Dark Mountain largely complete, the club is working to extend the Overmountain Victory Trail on the south side of the lake.  BMCC plans more than a dozen miles of multi-use trail on the south shore.

For more information on the Burn 24-Hour Challenge, visit the event website at