Twenty-four hours of sight
TEMECULA, Calif. – Last weekend, Vail’s Nat Ross discovered that night vision helps a lot in 24-hour racing. Ross put another victory on his tally card after winning the 24 Hours of Temecula mountain bike race in Temecula, Calif. While he was at it he also managed to break the course record.
Although Ross has been legally blind for a number of years, it didn’t stop him from racing and winning many of the 28 24-hour races he’s done in his lifetime. But earlier this year, Ross had LASIK surgery on his left eye (the right is scheduled for October), and found that in his first race with 24-hour vision, the bumps and curves came a bit easier.”Everything’s a lot easier,” Ross said, after riding a record number of 20 laps and gaining 30,000 feet of elevation from Saturday to Sunday.”In terms of comfort, it gave me the same skill level I had during the day, which is massive to your confidence. And in an hour lap, it’s about two minutes faster. Yeah, seeing helps a lot.”Ross said the California course was highly reminiscent of the trails downvalley.
“It’s exactly like riding in Eagle,” he said. “That’s what I like is climbing. It was a lot of doubletrack and singletrack and most of it was motorcycle trails. It flows well for mountain bikers.”Although a continuous rain set in at about 10 p.m. Saturday night, Ross’s race was relatively free of complications and he finished his 20th lap late Sunday morning, beating the 19-lap solo record set last year by Tinker Juarez.Next month, Ross will compete in the 24 Hours of Conyers in Conyers, Georgia, then lay off the six-event Granny Gear Production series until the 24 Hours of Moab in October. He’ll do other races in the meantime, including the Race Across America this summer with team Beaver Creek.
“I finally got it figured out,” Ross said. “I trained all winter and now I’m done. Now it’s race season.”Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext.14632, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado