The Pro’s Closet mountain bike crew went down to Cortez, Colorado last weekend to participate in the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde. The race held on the ripper trail system known as Phil’s World. The team included TPC founder and former cross country pro Nick Martin, pro Enduro rider and TPC employee Peter Hartwig, TPC Shipping team leader and trail wizard Steve Gardner, and TPC bicycle auction manager “Father” Phil Pitt who first came up with the idea to sign up. We were joined by 42 other teams along with hundreds of individuals ready to test themselves in a long day under the desert sun.
After driving 8 hours across colorful Colorado, we settled in to the camping area and began to prepare for the following day’s event. Mostly this included starting a campfire and cracking a few cold ones. As the evening wound down, we observed that most other racers had gone to bed. After some more liquid carbs we each crawled into our tents and listened as a light rain moved into the area.
We were greeted by a chilly dawn with scattered showers on race day. We shivered in the wind and wondered where that Southwest desert sun was hiding. We might have lamented the beers from the night before, but there wasn’t enough time to talk about it. Our lead rider Peter was busy squeezing into a vintage skinsuit to match the theme of the race: Back to the 80’s. Racers gathered at the starting line and buzzing anticipation could be felt in the air. The course had all the elements: a quarter mile Le Mans running start followed by 16.3 miles of super flowy singletrack dotted with berms, rollers, techy moves, and rock drops. Nothing can beat ya down quite like spending 8 hours in a van followed by some off-the-couch racing!
Peter started off strong WINNING the foot race only to be passed by several of the cross country rippers who exploded away once mounting their bikes. The fast course definitely favored the XC crowd over Enduro style riders. The next 12 hours was showered with flat tires, a hail storm, some broken components here and there, and a gassed team by the last-lap cutoff at 6 p.m. TPC founder Nick went out for the final lap and finished strong by overcoming a broken chain midway through his lap.
In the end we finished the day in 12th position for our category. Not too shabby considering the mechanicals and the amount of fun that was had on the previous evening! Of course there was even more fun to be had after the race, and we noticed that the other campers were a little more lively now that the hard work had been done. We sipped some cold brews, shared stories from the day, and watched our campfire throw sparks into the starry sky.
The 12 Hours of Mesa Verde race at Phil’s World had gone off without a hitch for its 10th year and we couldn’t be happier. The following day we packed up our gear and began the long trek back to TPC headquarters in Boulder. Though we were stinky and exhausted we all agreed: we couldn’t wait to get back to Phil’s World next year!