Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Going Round In Circles

Formerly known as Mr. 24, aka Banned From World's, aka Jeff Kerkove
It was 2006, and I had not been blogging very long, when I last pontificated on 24 hour racing's "World's", as they were known. Back in those days I worked with a fella by the name of Jeff Kerkove, who went by the Moniker "Mr. 24", because he lived and breathed the 24 hour racing scene.  Through Jeff I got interested in the 24hr, endurance junkie racing thing, and of course, hooked on the train that would become Trans Iowa. Jeff was profoundly influential on my views of endurance racing, not only from a training point of view, but really from an organizational and philosophical viewpoint as well. I know I am not alone in that respect.

24 hour racing was a "big deal" back then. Gravel road racing was about as well known as Jimmy Hoffa's grave site, and "ultra-endurance" stuff like the Great Divide Race was almost unfathomable by most folks. XC mountain bike racing was still around, but not what it used to be. That was the scene back then.

Well, something happened to Jeff back in 2005, a year before I last spoke of the "World's" here on this blog. That event, I think in retrospect, was a watershed moment for the both of us. It wouldn't be long before neither one of us had much to do with 24hr races, and the subject went off my radar, (and off a lot of folks radar screens), until just yesterday when I saw the a link to this posting on Facebook.

So, what do I think of that? Karma? Justice served? No......nothing like that at all. I was shocked, and actually, a bit sad for those who were busting their butts to do this event. I know what it meant to Jeff back in the day, and I saw first hand how hard he worked to get there and have a good result, if possible. I saw him handle the situation with grace and aplomb when the carpet got jerked out from underneath him. He moved on to better things.......

No, I think it might serve as a signpost that the 24hr racing genre, which is not dead by any stretch , has maybe waned like XC racing did. Maybe the grassroots racing scene, like the gravel racing events, has taken a bite out of the base of participants for 24hr racing. I don't know for sure, but it seems that way to me.

1 comment:

MG said...

I concur. That format of racing peaked in 1998, sadly and has been on a steady but predictable decline ever since former participants either 1) moved onto bigger, better challenges, or 2) started doing triathlons (no offense).

If you're going to take the time to go somewhere, even in races, sometimes it's fun to actually go somewhere. Races like TransIowa, the CTR and others prove you can do more than go in circles with your time.

That said, I've participated in, and enjoyed, a number of 24 hour events in my earlier years. Just not so many lately... More gravel for the really long stuff.

... And so it goes.