The 24 Hours of Summer Solstice began in 1998 at Ganaraska Forest Centre with Norco Bicycles, and Outdoor Gear Canada our first sponsors. That year over 400 brave participants supported this brand new event including Matt Douglas who later helped work with Chico Racing.
Tom Ruppel, Sean Ruppel, Steve Coulighan and myself (Adam Ruppel) haven't missed a Solstice event yet! Most years have had perfect weather and lots of smiles, however it's the hard years that make this event most memorable. In 2000 we had stop the event at 3am due to torrential downpours. So epic was the day that I thought it would be our last 24 hour event.
I am gathering data on people who've done our event for the past 5 years solid (quite a few), 10 years (a few), 15 and maybe even all 20 years. This will go out in my next Chico Racing email list with a way to register. We have always had a great time organizing this event, but 2017 is really special, and we're working to make it extra spicy!
What makes the 24 Hours of Summer Solstice so special? Could it be the trails, venue, camping, sponsors or the event atmosphere - yes those are all part of it. Yet most events that last this long are much greater than the sum of their parts. The Solstice is great because it's a tradition for so many mountain bikers of all ability levels. It's a reason to keep mountain biking, to get together with friends, to camp, bring your kids to race and to meet new like-minded people. It's also a way for mountain bikers to get others pumped for this amazing sport! The Solstice is way more festival, than race, and it's where the slowest and fastest riders are equals.
Thanks to all the riders, volunteers, sponsors, venue, OCA and supporters who have continued to make this event so successful. Here's to 20 more years as long as riders keep coming, we'll keep making it happen.