Payson Riders Top 24-Hour Race For Second Year

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What do Goin' Commando, That's It, South Side Walking Beat and the Payson Posse have in common?

They are all four-person teams entered in the Payson Stampede 24-Hour Mountain Bike Challenge held over the weekend, June 17 and 18.

The test of physical and mental endurance brought hundreds of cycling enthusiasts, and their friends, to the Rim Country where they tested their skills against some of the most rugged trails and ATV roads in Arizona.

Among the teams that entered, the Payson Posse rode their way to be champions of the Veteran's Division. The foursome -- comprised of Ken Shepherd, Wayne Gorry, Nick Payne and Eric Kush -- completed 25 10-mile laps during the 24-hour endurance event.

The victory marked the second successive year the Payson Posse has won the Stampede's veteran division title.

In the 24-hour solo male 19-29 years age group, Payson cyclist Eric Molitor finished third. He was 13th overall among the solo cyclists.

In addition to the 24-hour events, six- and 12-hour competitions were held.

All races began at noon June 17, and followed the same course. The 12-hour run finished at midnight. The six-hour competition wrapped up at 6 p.m.

Winners were determined by the number of laps completed during the race.

Classifications for the 24-hour and 12-hour divisions included solo riders, two-person teams, seven classes of four-person teams, four classes of five-person teams and a corporate team class.

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The Payson Stampede, a 24-hour test of physical and mental endurance, brought hundreds of cycling enthusiasts to the Rim Country where they tested their skills against some of the most rugged trails and ATV roads in Arizona.

The 10-mile race course began at the Payson Event Center rodeo grounds and followed a steep and challenging descent of single track about a mile. Known locally as the "Rocky B****," riders say it is one of the toughest riding stretches on the course.

Riders then traveled over several miles of Forest Service road before climbing to the "Top of the World," then descending onto about a mile of pavement that led past Payson Golf Course and to the Payson Event Center.

The course, Gorry said, was an extremely rocky one even though some local cyclists spent hours working to improve it.

Also taking its toll on the riders, was the Rim Country's sizzling 90-plus degree heat.

"I think (organizers) are considering moving it (the race) to a cooler time of year," Gorry said.

As riders did last year, they could take advantage of a feeding and watering station at the Ox Bow Saloon.

The stampede also featured a street fair, held on West Main Street, that drew hundreds of visitors.

Race organizers, including local NORBA official Dan Basinski, were assisted during the 24 hours with medical care from the Payson Fire Department.

-- To reach Max Foster call 4745251 ext. 114 or e-mail mfoster@payson.com.

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