You’ve no doubt read, or heard about, the big new 24 hour race on the UK calendar. This one’s a bit different though, combining as it does a 12 and 24hr race into one bumper weekend, on the 22/23 July. They’ve even got a purpose built venue at Lodgewood Park, in Shropshire.
Much of the creative direction for the TwentyFour12 event has come from Keith Bontrager. Keith has long been associated with endurance competitions, from stage to long distance racing. Most especially he’s concentrated on 24hr races, his goal of successfully racing 50 events before the age of 50 having been surpassed by some way. Most of you out there will be familiar with his name, but some of the younger guns might not – time for a potted KB bio: Back in 1979 Keith, fed up with injuring himself on motocross bikes, built his first road bike frame and started out with a few local road races. His love for the bicycle began. In 1980 he built a mountain bike using the knowledge picked up through his motocross career, and a love for all things mechanical. He was now firmly addicted to MTBing, and in 1981 launched Bontrager Cycles. The company designed and built everything from custom road bikes, mountain, track and tandem frames, along with a line of accessories.
A physics major at UCSC gave Keith the technical expertise to innovate, introducing the mountain bike world to lighter rims (pioneering the use of cut down and re-rolled road rims) and the composite fork crown. Fast forward to 1995, and the burgeoning Trek Bicycle Corporation acquired Bontrager Cycles, keeping Keith as president. You can’t buy a Bontrager frame any more, but Keith’s knowledge and experience goes into the parts that bear his name as well as lots of things that don’t.
“The last ten years or so I’ve tried to improve bicycles, both for myself and for everyone else, by applying my technical skills and experience to equipment and design,” he says. “I’ve also committed myself to designing durable, efficient bicycles and parts no matter what material or technology I select. If I have my way I’ll be able to contribute in this way for another 20 years.”
We’ve been talking to Keith recently and he’s agreed to be our guru for the next month. Specifically he’ll be here to answer your questions about endurance events, but we’re sure he won’t mind picking up a few about bikes and bits. Just scroll your screen down to the forum below and post your questions…