The 25 Hours in Frog Hollow bills itself as the longest mtb race in America. It takes the standard 24 hour race and adds an hour by taking place on the weekend that we roll our clocks back an hour for the change from daylight savings time to standard time.
The race venue happens to be set in one of the most picturesque areas of the country, a beautiful location near Zion National Park. “Frog Town” begins to take shape on Friday before the race starts on a high plateau with dramatic views of cliffs and rock outcroppings on all sides.
Although there are stories of racing through snow and freezing temps or even torrential rain, typically the weather has lows in the 40s and highs around 70. Absolutely perfect riding weather for an extended race.
As with most 24 hour races, the event begins with a LeMans start, forcing cyclists to awkwardly run through sand and sagebrush in stiff-soled shoes with tubes and multi-tools bouncing in their jersey pockets. The first five miles of the race is mostly doubletrack, with a few nasty little climbs that don’t mean much the first few laps, but will start to wear you down as the day progresses. The fun begins at the top of this climb.
The long, rolling descent of the Jem Trail is a classic. It starts with flowing singletrack that leads to three steep hills of progressively increasing technical difficulty. The last of which consists of two tight switchbacks with a few rocks and steep exposure thrown in for good measure. From there it’s a big-ring fun-fest with dips and turns of all shapes and sizes.
Before completing the 12 mile lap there are several more sections that demand respect. Most of these are rocky step-ups that, again, get harder as the day (and night) progress. Take the wrong line and a flat tire or bent rim can easily sideline you only a mere 5 minutes from the finish line. However, navigate smoothly, and you’ll be rolling back into Frog Town to the welcome cheers of spectators and fellow racers.
As daylight wanes, the real fun begins. Racers are required to have lights right before sundown until sunrise. Ask anyone who has raced in 24 hour events and they’ll tell you the sunset and sunrise laps can be surreal – especially at Frog Hollow where the golden light bounces off clouds and red rock cliffs transforming the course into an otherworldly landscape.
Nightfall is often the most testing time of a 24 hour race and Frog Hollow isn’t an exception. Fatigue starts to set in and the body assumes darkness equates to rest. Yet experienced racers know a 24 hour race is won or lost at night. The course becomes significantly less crowded eliminating traffic jams in the technical sections and bright lights help the rider to ‘zone in’ and become more fluid with the terrain. Top racers often will have their fastest lap times at night. And if you’re lucky enough to navigate the night terrain without incident, some Light & Motion ambassadors may even have their signature ‘Fire Pit Jump’ set up 100 yards before the finish line to help keep the night adrenaline pumping.
We highly recommend attending the 25 Hours of Frog Hollow – no matter if you want to organize a large 10 person team or come as a diehard solo rider – it’s an event to add to the mountain biking bucket list. The spirit and camaraderie that envelops Frog Town is unmatched, you’ll meet new riding friends from all parts of the world and genuinely have a great time in the most picturesque setting imaginable. We can’t wait to see you out there!