Stampede Enters First Year On National Calendar

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Local mountain biking guru Dan Basinski will again spearhead the running of the 2007 Payson Stampede 24-Hour Mountain Bike Challenge.

For the event, which will be held May 5 and 6 in and near Payson, Basinski will design the course, serve as course director and be the on-site NORBA official.

In setting up the national course, Basinski has instituted a few changes over the route used the past two years.

"We will probably take out the Top of the World (section)," he said.

That part of the rugged course was encountered after riders pedaled miles of Forest Service roads uphill before descending onto a paved route that led past the Payson Golf Course and to the Payson Event Center.

Payson Mountain Bike of Association state champion Wayne Gorry, who helped host the Payson Stampede, said that rocky part of the course took its toll on some riders.

Last year, the 24-hour event attracted four-person teams from around the state eager to challenge some of the most rugged ATV, Jeep and Forest Service trails in Arizona.

Of the teams entered in the Veteran Division, the Payson Posse rode its way to the championship. The foursome -- Ken Shepherd, Nick Payne, Eric Kush and Gorry -- completed 25 10-mile laps during the endurance event. The victory marked the second successive year the Payson Posse won the Stampede's Veteran Division title.

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

Basinski said he was unsure which of the Payson riders would return to defend their titles or try to improve past showings.

In addition to the 24-hour events, six and 12-hour competitions will be held, following the same course. The 12-hour run finishes at midnight. The six-hour competition wraps up at 6 p.m.

The number of laps completed during the race will determine winners.

National exposure

The event's clout and exposure was turned up a notch Jan. 16, when the race was added to the 2007 USA Cycling Mountain Bike national calendar.

Being including on the prestigious cycling agenda elated Carol McCauley, Main Street/ Green Valley Redevelopment Program manager.

"It puts the Payson Stampede on the national radar," she said.

As a national event, ultra-athletes who enter in the Payson Stampede will be eligible to compete for an overall title at five other calendar events spread over six states, McCauley said.

The USA Mountain Bike National Calendar features over $200,000 in prize money at its sanctioned events.

Basinski is touting the event's newfound national status as a boon to the local racing scene.

"It could up the participation by as much as 30 percent," he said. "We'll now get those (riders) who are chasing (championship) points -- the ones who go only to big events and others who (compete) just because that's what they do. Also, this is the only race on the calendar that will be held in the West."

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