A long, long time ago we had the first 24-hour race here in Minnesota. I'm sure I could dig around and find the year, but I'll just take a stab at it and say it was 1994 or 1995. Something like that.
The first year's race featured an epic battle between teams representing The Alt and Penn Cycle. There were good riders on both sides but tactics won the day for the team from Alternative Bike and Board.
That first Minnesota 24-hour race took place at Buck Hill in Burnsville. There was at least one more 24-hour race there, possibly two, before the race venue switched over to Afton Alps, another ski area close to the metro.
The 24-Hours of Afton, as the race was called, was always a tough affair. The course at Afton offers lots of up and down, and precious little flat terrain. The valley floor gets cool and dewy at night, and some of the climbs on the open ski runs bake you like a cake during the heat of the day. It all amounts to being a very challenging 24-hour race venue.
A handful of years back, the race was handed over to MORC (Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists), Minnesota's main MTB advocacy group, to promote as a major fundraiser event. Salsa signed on as the headliner sponsor last year and the name of the event was changed to the Salsa Two-Four.
We're back as the sponsor again for 2009 and have just updated the website. Check it out at Salsa Two-Four . Big props to our web dudes CoFlo and Josh for the sick splash page. You may find yourself watching it again and again.
We sponsor the event by making a large donation to MORC and by providing branding, graphic design, and website support for the event. A few of us Salsa folks also come out and try to inject a little fun into the event (there's already enough suffering to go around!). The fine members of MORC organize, volunteer, and put on the event.
This year we'll be back with the 3rd Annual Homemade Salsa Competition, and a host of other entertaining games for racers and spectators alike. We're also hoping to drum up (pun intended) a few bands that want to share their music in a nice outdoor venue.
So, if you're looking to have some fun, or to challenge yourself in an epic way, take a look at the Salsa Two-Four. You'll be helping support Minnesota mountain biking by taking part.
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I love being outside. I prefer to ride on dirt. Or snow. If I was born a hundred years earlier I might have been a polar explorer. There's a great natural world out there to see, smell, taste, listen to, and experience. Life slows down out there and the distractions we've created will disappear if you let them. Give me a backpack and let me go.