So it’s taken a year to realize but the BURN 24 Hour Challenge is not happening in 2014. WTF!
Way back circa 2000, Tyler Benedict had the bright idea to promote a 24 hour mountain bike race. The title sponsor was a company of his own called Prolyte. As the company morphed into Source Beverages, the race adopted the name of the BURN 24 to promote BURN Energy Drink. It’s still one of the best energy drinks ever! As Tyler’s business began to grow, the race was handed over to Eddie O’dea with the support of his wife Namrita. The O’dea family continued to grow the event where it became a mainstay of the 24 hour race scene especially in the Southeast. Soon thereafter, the reins were officially handed over to the Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club.
In a way, the BURN built the trails at W Kerr Scott. Dark Mountain was under construction when the grapevine told us Tyler was looking for a new race venue. The BMCC had connections to Tyler through college buddies and the call was made. Tyler’s comment was that we needed more trail. So what did we do? We built more trail. And fast. The south side of Dark Mountain was put in seemingly overnight so we could host the BURN. That was the catalyst that sparked a fire in a small group of dedicated volunteers to bring Wilkesbermo to life.
The BURN means lots of things to lots of people. That’s evident by the emails that we’ve received over the course of the last year. People wanting to know when registration will open, why the race isn’t happening, some just plain mad and others grateful for the experience. As I type this, I’m grateful for all of those emails, the friends I’ve made and even the people I’ve pissed off as race director. I’m thankful for all the race volunteers that have come and gone through the years to help make it happen.
On behalf of the BMCC, thank you all for taking part in the BURN 24 Hour Challenge. Racers, sponsors, volunteers, paid staff, family, everybody. In no small part, you’ve helped create some of the best mountain bike trails in the country.