A team named “Nine Inch Males” matched a course record last weekend at Epic Rides’ 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo and beat Lance Armstrong and his former WorldTour teammates in the process.
The team rode 24 laps in 24 hours often pushing through cold and wet throughout the day and night, besting Armstrong’s team by two laps.
“I knew we had the team to do it, but in 24 hours there is a lot that can go wrong so we all just rode smooth, consistent laps and were able to get it done,” said Kyle Trudeau, a Nine Inch Males team member and a professional mountain biker who also rides for Construction Zone Racing. “It’s cool to beat Lance but our main goal coming into the race was to get 24 laps, so that is what really takes the cake.”
The race, just 40 miles north of Tucson, has been dubbed as the largest 24-hour mountain bike race in the world. Teams must ride as many laps in 24 hours as possible. A previous course record was set in 2007 by a team fielded by Kona bikes.
Trudeau’s composite team included Kalan Beisel from Superior, Colorado, Nick Gould from Durango, Colorado, and Brad Aven from Logan, Iowa.
Beisel said he assembled a “rag tag” team he knew would be able to get it done. He said it wasn’t the perfect race. Aven rode the first lap one-handed with a cell phone when his lights went out. Gould missed a turn and rode two miles in the wrong direction.
“Despite those things, we kept our eyes on the prize and had fun while doing it,” Beisel said. “24 hour racing is never easy and takes a toll on the mind and body and both felt strong this weekend.”
Trudeau said the key to matching the course record was motivation and to stay smooth and avoid big mistakes.
“Everyone on the team was really motivated, so that’s what really made it possible,” Trudeau said. “The weather did make it hard to get going sometimes, and staying warm and dry between laps was difficult at times, but it also discouraged some other racers from riding, which meant [fewer riders] passing each lap for us.”
Beisel said Armstrong’s team wasn’t a big concern, but it was a “cool feeling” to beat them.
“We were more proud of ourselves to accomplish our goals and even more so with the set backs,” Beisel said. “We came together and none of us let off the throttle, stayed in positive spirits, and did something that has not been done before on that course.”
He said he it was especially nice to see some younger development riders from the “Stan’s No Lube” team secure second place, beating Armstrong’s “WEDU” team, which got third.
“I’m more proud of the devo kids that beat the Lance crew and that my sister turned faster laps than Lance (and the fastest woman lap),” Beisel said.
Beisel’s wife Rachel Beisel and his sister Amy Beisel were on the winning four-woman team with Natalia Ptas and Rebecca Gross, completing 19 laps.
Roca Roja ROLLERS, a four-man single-speed team, finished 22 laps.
Armstrong was joined by George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde and Dylan Casey.
Armstrong is serving a lifetime ban from sanctioned competition, although he has entered unsanctioned events, including the Four Peaks Urban Dirt Triathlon in 2011 in Tempe, a race he won. Hincapie and Vande Velde also served bans for doping. His team finished 22 laps.
“The 18th edition of the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo presented by Tucson Medical Center was a great production,” said Epic Rides organizer/owner Todd Sadow. “In spite of inclement conditions, the full house of 1,850 participants plus their friends and family had a swell time in 24 Hour Town.”
Correction: A previous version of this story said Nine Inch Males set the course record. The team Kona Bikes was the first to set the record of 24 laps in 24 hours in 2007.