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24 Hours of 9 Mile
Wausau Wisconsin, August 19, 2002
Tinker Wins 24 Hours of 9 Mile
by Kevin Eccles (event director)
Tinker Juarez of the Volvo/Cannondale Mountain Bike Racing Team won the 4th annual 24 Hours of 9 Mile this weekend as he prepares to take on the 24 Hour World Championship in two weeks time in Canada. Juarez finished the Gary Fisher and Red Bull sponsored event with 18 laps or 265 miles; ahead of Jeff Kerkove (Waterloo, IA), and Jim Smith (Mukwonago, WI), who had 17 and 15 laps respectively.
Named after the 9 Mile County forest, in Marathon County , Wisconsin and not the distance of the course, the 24 Hours of 9 Mile, or 24-9, featured a 14.7 mile loop on some of the best singletrack in the Midwest. "This is the best 24 Hour course I have ever ridden," commented Juarez. "The long laps let you enjoy the variety in the terrain, and the singletrack helped me maintain my focus."
Over 500 people competed in the 24-9 making it the biggest event of its kind in the Midwest. "We're really happy with the participation," said race Director Kevin Eccles. "We've grown about 30% per year over the past four years. We really hope to make it one of the top 24 Hour race country in the next five years."
To do that, he said, they will continue to use rider friendly courses that offer beginner riders a chance to try the event, while top riders can still enjoy the course. "The hills still had their effect, but they don't kill you every lap," continued Eccles. The course featured about 300 feet of climbing per lap, relatively flat for most 24 hour courses. Most expert teams completed laps in about 1 hour. "There is something out there for everyone. Most of the singletrack is rideable by beginners, but still challenging for experts at higher speeds."
Another feature of the event that will keep the riders coming back is the 24 Hours of Swag, where the organizers pull participant names at random to give away prizes throughout the event. At least two names were listed for every hour of the race to receive prizes from Gary Fisher, Bontrager, Clif Bar, Rudy Rack, Timex and others. Fisher also gave away two frames at random to participants. At the end of the race each member of the top three teams in each of the 18 categories went into the swag room to pick a prize of their choosing.
The fastest lap went to Joe Stephens, Waterford, Wisconsin, with a time of 57 minutes 21 seconds. Stephens was a part of the "4 J's from Hayes" Team that won the Older Than the Hills Division (35+). The Pro/Expert win went to the "Mars" Team of Bryan Bos, John Gatto, Garren Injijian, and John Rowley. Kate Haberman, of Thiensville, WI won the Women's solo division with 9 laps ahead of her sister Melissa Haberman. The siblings completed nearly every lap side by side. Third place went to Renee Noffke, Menasha, WI, with 7 laps. The top Womens team was the "Kenwood Ladies" of Beckie Alexander, Kate Carpenter, Jodie Karjala, Kristi Olson, and Miriam Taylor. They completed 17 laps, on par with the dread-locked star of the race!
Men 1 Tinker Juarez (Volvo/Cannondale) 2 Jeff Kerkove 3 Jim Smith Women 1 Kate Haberman 2 Melissa Haberman 3 Renee Noffke Men's Elite Teams 1 Bryan Bos/John Gatto/Garren Injijian/John Rowley (4 J's from Hayes) Womens Teams 1 Beckie Alexander/Kate Carpenter/Jodie Karjala/Kristi Olson/Miriam Taylor (Kenwood Ladies) Fastest lap 1 Joe Stephens 57.21.