Hundreds compete in the Wausau 24 endurance mountain bike raceSubmitted: 07/30/2017
Mark Spillane
Mark Spillane
Sports Reporter/Anchor

Hundreds compete in the Wausau 24 endurance mountain bike race
WAUSAU - Most races decide a winner by a simple metric: whoever finishes an exact distance in the fastest time wins. But it's a little bit different for the Wausau 24. Instead of completing a distance, racers complete as many laps as possible during a specific amount of time.

"You're dog tired, but you just keep going," said racer Jahn Martin.

That's a familiar feeling for endurance mountain bike racers, and hundreds gathered in Wausau on Saturday to find that feeling.

"We have people of all ranges from really competitive teams all the way down to people doing it for fun," said race organizer Adam Schmidt.

The Wausau 24 is one of the best endurance mountain bike races in the Midwest. The event is broken up into three race lengths: six, twelve, or 24 hours. You can ride with a team, or you can ride by yourself, but the goal is simple �" keep going until the time runs out.

"They reach that point where your muscles are kind of worn out and you have to push through with your brain and they somehow reach down and do that," said Schmidt.

The challenges of the races are obvious, but for some riders, the event has grown beyond just the track.
"It's also just kind of the sense of comradery and family and connecting with riders from the area you haven't seen in a while," Martin.

Sunny skies and warm temps make it easy to enjoy time with old riding friends. But such nice weather doesn't always make for a nice course.

"We love the weather we'll take it," said Martin. "But the course is really dry and hard packed. It's fast but there are some loose corners so you kind of have to watch your speed a little bit."

While riders push through hours of racing on the fast course, event organizers already have an eye on next year's event.

"I'm making notes this weekend already for next year, so things people liked, things people were maybe challenged by, and get it improved for next year," said Schmidt.

More than 500 riders participated in this year's event. Nearly half of them were part of the 24 hour race.

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