Texas NICA and 24hrs in the Canyon

24hrs in the Canyon is one of the biggest bike races in Texas and raises funds for the Harrington Cancer and Health Foundation.

Many of the league’s students, coaches and families take their end-of-season fitness and put it to work in the Canyon. We collected a few of our favorites here!

Jeramy Carney – Amarillo Yellowjackets Coach

Jeramy Carney is one of the league’s long-time coaches. He’s often given Kudos for taking the time to session and review riding skills with even his highest level athletes.

Reposted with permission from Jeramy

Been waiting almost 10 years for this day! In 2014 my sons began to express interest in riding mountain bikes and join me in my love of cycling. At the time, I had a big audacious thought that evolved into a dream and then became a goal of mine and my sons. After racing in 24 Hours in the Canyon I had the thought – how cool would it be to be able to race a 24 hour 4-man team with my 3 sons? Through the years as their love of cycling and racing grew, the thought turned into a dream – how cool would it be to be able to not only race a 24 hour 4-man team with my boys, but be able to truly compete and not just participate? A couple years ago, it became a goal for me and my sons to not only race/participate in the 24 Hours in the Canyon as a Father-Sons team, but to also compete at a high level and earn a podiums spot among some of the fastest racers in the area!

My sons first mountain bike rides after receiving bikes for Christmas in 2014.

This year would be our perfect first shot at it. My youngest son Jonathan was old enough at 14 and he is fast enough to handle a race at this level after winning the conf/state championship in Texas for 8th grade. My middle son Aaron who is turning 16 in two days was finally faster than his ole’ man to be a great anchor as I learn to let go as I get older – Oh and he finished 6th in Varsity as a sophomore for Texas State Championships. My oldest son Matthew Carney just graduated from High School as Valedictorian and from AC with Associates Degree while maintaining a rigorous training schedule and having his best year yet on the bike as he goes off to Tech in Fall. And, lastly you have me, getting older every day of course but still have enough youth and fitness in me to contribute and help our team to compete for a podium spot. Yes, I am bragging a bit, but needless to say this was our best shot at the podium as a Father-Sons team.

Staging area before the start of the 24 Hours in the Canyon.

The race was more exciting than can be imagined and it will be one my favorite memories of all time. My sons rose from boys to men as they battled the rigors of racing, eating, and staying awake for 24 hours all the while staying focused mentally through it all. I remember after my first lap telling them what I felt God say to me – Your best is good enough and to enjoy this time together. In the middle of the night as we were about 30 min behind 2nd place but had a good lap lead on 4th – I encouraged them to be consistent on the bike and with our baton chip handoffs and help one another as we struggle to keep it together mentally – but – ultimately have fun as a family!

To wrap things up, the race became a showdown between us and one of the Hill’s Sport Shop teams for second place! As we were coming to the end, seconds separated the two teams. The timing was so close on laps we didn’t know which lap was going to be the last lap. As the minutes counted down there was just enough time for one more lap. As I passed the chip baton off to Aaron for the last time hoping he could get one more lap in I thanked God I was able to keep the lead for 2nd place for my lap knowing all Aaron had to do was either keep our place or get another lap in before the buzzer. In in end, in an amazing spectator finish, Aaron missed adding another lap to our team by less than one-tenth of a second! The good news of course is that we were still able to keep 2nd place in the end since I had officially came in on last lap in 2nd place with about a 10 second lead!

In the end, we accomplished what was only a dream to me years ago that would be incredibly hard to see happen. But, you know God is good and He cares about the little things even a big audacious dreams like this one.

My sons – I am truly proud of you. Not for what you do but for who you are – men of God. At this race you showed character and fortitude that most men do not have. Your work ethic and training is an inspiration to me. I am honored and blessed beyond measured to be your Father and to be called Dad. Father’s Day came early for me this year!

Thank you God for making this happen for me and my sons. Also, can’t forget to thank my amazing wife Tara Nemanic Carney for supporting us and keeping us straight throughout the race and for the umbrella shade as we waited in the chip baton transfer area!

Congrats and hats-off to Hill’s Sport Shop 1st and 3rd place teams and 24 Hours in the Canyon

Lynnette Wood – League Coach Supporter

You’ve probably met Lynnette if you’ve done any of our OTB 101, 201 or MOB training! She has a genuine passion for sharing the love of mountain bikes and teaching skills to others.

Lynnette’s story reposted with permission

I teamed up with 2 friends and the 3 of us were technically a 4-person mixed team. We did 19 laps total (not sure what place that got us, maybe 5th?) We were “Dirty Unicorns”. This was my 11th year, counting the 2 years it was cancelled and I did my own DIY 24 hour riding events.

I actually got started 24 Hour racing many more years ago when I was still in New England – probably over 20 years ago! I had begun mountain bike riding with some guys from the office at lunchtime. They had decided to do a 24 hour race and wanted a 5-person team, and for that race, to have 5 people, it was required to be co-ed, so they asked me to join their team. I had no idea what I was getting into but said, Sure!

After that first race, I was hooked. The 5 of us competed together in a few different 24 hour races for several years, but eventually interest dwindled and I was doing them by myself. After moving to Texas, I raced the Rocky Hill Ranch 24 hour race a few times, until it was no longer held. I can’t remember how or when I heard of the 24 Hours in the Canyon, but as soon as I learned of it, I signed up!

For that first race, it was pretty much just another race to me… until I got there. There is nothing quite like the vibe. To pedal out parade-style past so many cancer survivors cheering us on – it brings tears to your eyes.

I also love that the event has so many race formats. I’ve raced slicks and knobbies (100 miles on the road, then the remainder of the 24 hours on the mtb), trail solo, trail teams, and I even signed up for a road team last year which ended up being cancelled and we did 24 hours in the neighborhood, with tents pitched on a front lawn and friends joining us throughout the weekend.

The second year I did 24 Hours in the Canyon, a good friend had recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and I did a side fundraiser to help raise money for his operation and expenses. Another friend was going through chemo, the mother of some schoolmates had just passed away, as had the sweet sister of a long-time friend. It was a heartfelt year for me, but really began the journey of this annual event for me.

It was several years after that very first venture into 24 hour racing that I learned that the co-worker who had invited me to join the team had been diagnosed with cancer. He was out on his road bike and his fork broke and he went down hard, gashing his face from forehead to chin and was out cold. Fortunately a car stopped to help him, and when in the hospital, they did a full body scan for injuries and discovered the cancer. He’d had no symptoms, no illness at all and was physically fit. The bike crash saved his life, and he’s now cancer-free.

I feel like there isn’t much I can do to help those with cancer. But what I can do is ride my bike for hours and hours. And if riding my bike can help others, I’m all in. It is difficult to describe the vibe of the 24 Hours in the Canyon event, but I try to encourage others to join me in some manner – sometimes on their own team, teaming up with me, or serpa-ing and I think everyone who has ever attended with me leaves feeling inspired. For many riders, it is just another race, and there’s nothing wrong with that. For me, it has become a way to honor cancer fighters whose paths have crossed mine and remember the strength of those who have passed.