Words and Photos by John Gibson
Tinker Juarez flew north this past weekend to Canmore, Alberta, Canada, site of the 2012 World 24 Hour Solo Championships happening this September 14.
Earlier this winter, organizers of the Solo 24 Hour Worlds staged a contest to 'Train with Tinker, Cory Wallace and Leighton Poidevin.' Saturday morning the four contest winners got on their road bikes at the Ascent Performance Lab in Canmore and lined up beside three of the best 24 Hour riders on the planet for a stationary bike time trial.
The man with the most famous dreadlocks in mountain biking pulled away from the group early on, while Canadian 24 Hour veteran Leighton Poidevin cruised in for second place. It was a good opportunity for everyone to see where they stand next to Tinker who is logging 30 hours a week this time of year and routinely does 6-hour road rides back home in Whittier, California to build his fitness.
Afterwards Tinker and Cory Wallace each climbed aboard a dogsled and dueled it out on Main Street as part of the Canmore Winter Carnival festivities. Wallace, the reigning Canadian 24 Hour Solo Champion from Jasper, Alberta took the win with Tinker finishing close behind.
Later on that evening, fans and fellow racers from the 24 Hour racing scene gathered at the Drake Pub for a 'Q & A' session with Tinker, Cory and Leighton. The topics: 29ers versus 26 inch bikes, nutrition, pacing, lighting systems, seeing things in the dark and the domination of Australian rider Jason English who has won the 24 Hour Solo Worlds twice. Everyone sitting in on this discussion caught a rare glimpse into the minds of these three elite endurance riders. And they all left with some insight into each other's strategies for this year's showdown on two wheels.