3/18/2014 9:58:00 AM Local cyclists turn in top 20 finishes at Tucson relay race
Pictured left to right: Brennan Johnstone, John Offner, Mike Cavalerie, Jeff Walker, Brad Richmann, Jay Reitz, Micah Levi, and Ryan Smiley. The eight cyclists raced in the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo race in Tucson Feb. 15. Racing as two separate teams, the riders placed fifth and 13th in the single speed open class. Photo/WAC Photography
WILLIAMS, Ariz. - A local mountain bike team recently finished fifth in their class out of more than 500 teams in the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo race in Tucson Feb. 15.
Two teams of four people from Williams competed in the 24-hour relay-style race. Each rider would complete one lap, which was about 17 miles long, and then hand off the baton to the next rider. The final standings were based on the number of laps each team completed.
Williams residents have been involved with the race for the last five years. The past two years, teams from Williams have made it to the podium.
The first Williams team that competed this year was made up of Ryan Smiley, John Offner, Jay Reitz and Brad Richmann.
This team finished 59th overall out of more than 500 teams. The team also got fifth place in the single speed open class, which means the riders only have one gear.
The second Williams team included Jeff Walker, Brennan Johnstone, Mike Cavalerie and Micah Levi.
Out of more than 500 teams, the second Williams team finished in 339th place overall and 13th in the single speed open class.
The race kicked off with a Lemans style start, in which riders ran 400 yards to get to their bikes. Out of more than 800 competitors, Smiley was the first person to reach his bike in this year's race.
Richmann said the racecourse winds through desert ranch land.
"It's hard. There's hills and there's lots of rocks and there's tons of cactus," he said. "So at night if you can imagine pitch black with a helmet lamp on and a light on your handle bars and just like dodging through chollas at 3:00 in the morning after riding 80 miles that day, it's kind of crazy."
Besides the two Williams teams, local student Story Schmitz also competed in the race on a special elite team. Olympic mountain bike racer Todd Wells assembled the team by asking Arizona students to write an essay about why they wanted to be a part of the team.
The team finished 15th in their class out of the more than 500 teams in the race.
While the 24-hour race is grueling, Richmann said it's a great experience.
"You suffer and you wonder why you're there, and then the week after you're preparing for the next year," he said.
Richmann thanked Single Speed Coffee Roasters, Brian Prager of Farmer's Insurance, Results Fitness, Reitz Restoration and Home Construction and Young Life for sponsoring the teams.