Pedal, Persist, Prevail: Moat Mountain 24 Hours of Great Glen Tests Riders’ Endurance

[August 9, 2023 – Pinkham Notch, N.H.]
During a record-breaking rainy summer, it seemed inevitable that this year’s endurance mountain bike race at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center on August 5th and 6th would be a soaker.

But to the amazement and enjoyment of all participants, volunteers, and staff, cool temperatures, clear blue skies, and puffy white clouds graced this year’s Moat Mountain 24 Hours of Great Glen presented by Pro Tune, Specialized, Hannaford to Go, and Terrex.

Close to 450 participants hailed from all New England states, and attracted those from around the country, including Texas, New Mexico, Missouri, Michigan, Colorado, and Florida and a pair who traveled from France.

The mountain bike race course is a 9.45 mile loop that winds its way around the carriage roads, doubletrack, bridges, and technical singletrack at the base of Mt. Washington. Features such as the infamous floating bridge over the Glen Pond and the dizzying log, add to the challenge of the course.

Participants join as either a solo rider, or a team of two, four, or five and the race is scored by the highest number of laps ridden in the shortest total time.

Families and supporters gathered at this event themed around Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a novel written by Lewis Carroll in 1865 (just 4 years after the Mt. Washington Auto Road opened to the public!). Great Glen Trails staff represented the full cast: Alice, as well as the bizarre anthropomorphic creatures she encounters like the rabbit, caterpillar, cat, and characters such as the Mad Hatter, Tweedle Dee and Dum, and the dreaded Red Queen. Participants were warned by Event Co-Director Lisa McCoy not to break the rules of the event, otherwise: “Off with their head!”

This is the third year back for this iconic and beloved race, which was held annually starting in 1996, and took a five-year hiatus (plus another year due to COVID) from 2015 to 2020.

Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery became the title sponsor and enabled race organizers to bring this race back to the Glen in 2021. This year, Moat Mountain continued its sponsorship while celebrating 23 years of operation, and issued a special edition unfiltered Pilsner “23 in 23” beer and label commemorating the race.

Local Pro Tune Bike shop out of Glen, Hannaford-to-Go based in Maine, along with national brands Specialized Bikes and Terrex were the presenting sponsors. Pro Tune offered round-the-clock neutral support for bike repairs and service.

Long time volunteers, Great Glen staff, and former staff all pitched in to make it a safe and successful weekend. For instance, former Operations Manager at the Auto Road Regina Ferreira and wife Tami Hartley served as the campground hosts to the delight of many racers who remembered them from Regina’s tenure at the Glen.

Participants camped at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road from Friday night through Sunday night; some camps featured impressive set-ups for their teams and solo riders. Adding to the festivities was the Friday night party featuring live music by local band Chimera, as well as food trucks Kimberly’s Gluten Free Kitchen, My Tin Can Co, and the Spicy Spoke.

Specialized Bikes donated three brand new kids bikes raffled off for the “24 Minutes of Great Glen” for kids on strider bikes to ages 12. All kids participants were treated to themed prizes donated by Zeb’s General Store.

While the many festivities make it fun for spectators and supporters, the main endurance event is truly what makes this event unique, and is an impressive show of force and grit.

Solo rider Benjamin Emery with local roots representing Bikeworks and Elevate fitness in Albuquerque, took the top spot in all the solo divisions with an incredible 24 total laps in 23 hours, 41 minutes and 17 seconds. That’s a total of 213.2 miles and 26,555’ of climbing according to his Strava.

Four person expert team “Riverside x Stedman’s Racing” took the top spot overall, with 33 laps and a total time of 23 hours, 58 minutes, and 42 seconds. Patrick McDonough put up the fastest lap on course with a blistering time of 38 minutes and 20 seconds in his final leg.

The fastest female lap was 49 minutes and 30 seconds put up by Callie Young, who raced with “Pond Lap Champs”, a 5-person team that came in first place in that category with a total of 26 laps in 24 hours, 11 minutes, and 25 seconds.

Those that choose to defy logic ride single speed bikes, truly testing their fortitude and mettle on the course. Top female solo single speed rider Vanessa Tancrede from Candia, NH rode an impressive 8 laps with no gears while Jonathan Sawn from East Hartland, CT took the top spot over local Shawn Waters with 17 laps.

Nathan Coronato, aged 9, was the youngest rider in the main event, and completed back-to-back laps at night on “Team PRKR” representing kids from PRKR mountain bike trails in Jefferson. Their 4 person junior team in the 12-Hour division were bested by two laps by local team “Juvenile Delinquents” with kids from Gorham, all who race at Great Glen Trails in their weekly summer mountain bike series.

The Junior 24 Hour race was also a hot contest—teams “Underhillbillies” and the “Junior Flyer’s” both had 24 laps with the former beating the latter by a mere 30 minutes. The “NEYC Girls” were close behind with 23 laps in 24 hours and 50 minutes. Junior racers, and organizations like the New England Youth Cycling (NEYC) are a testament to the future of mountain bike racing. Certainly these are kids to watch in the coming years!

Local businesses Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery, Settlers Crossing, HEB Engineers, as well as the International Mountain Climbing School, all had teams represented in this locally coveted event. Even Great Glen Trails event staff participated as a team with a cruiser-class non-timed 5 person team.

Event Co-Director and Team Captain of the Great Glen Trails Team Nate Harvey says, “The pre-party tunes, the annual Moat Mountain 23 in 23 can design, and the overall pleasantness of the participants all weekend were my highlights. In the category of making memories, Moat Mountain 24 Hours of Great Glen has once again checked all the boxes.” When asked if the race would be back again Harvey simply exclaimed “LETSGOOOOOOOO!”

Other sponsors who helped to ensure the success of this event were: Mountain Flyer bike journal, New England Youth Cycling (NEYC), Kona Bicycles, Seven IDP, HEB Engineers, Element Machine Tools, Settlers Crossing, North Conway Pepsi, Hilary McCloy Performance Physical Therapy, and Clif Bar.

Great Glen Trails staff and event organizers send a big THANK YOU to all the sponsors, especially Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery, and volunteers for making this premiere event possible.

For full results by Bullitt Timing, visit the race website:

Photos of the weekend can be found on Joe Viger’s website, the official race photographer:

The Moat Mountain 24 Hours of Great Glen starts with a Le Mans race on foot around the Glen Pond. Photo by official race photographer Joe Viger.
The scenery is part of the course at the Moat Mountain 24 Hours of Great Glen. Photo by official race photographer Joe Viger.
Even the littlest riders get to participate in the 24 Minutes of Great Glen. Photo by official race photographer Joe Viger.

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