by Jason Anderson
Saguache County’s homegrown mountain bike race, the “Twelve hours of Penitence,” is alive and well and racing into its second year in Penitente Canyon on October 8. The race, which is run on a seventeen mile course of loose rock, big-drops and nasty climbing, has gained popularity throughout the state and a large turnout of racers, support folks and spectators is expected.
The Penitente Canyon recreation area, located in the southern edge of Saguache County near Del Norte and La Garita, has been a popular area for hiking, camping and rock climbing. It has been only in the last ten years that the discovery of world-class technical mountain biking has come to the area. Now it is not uncommon to see the entire campground full of bikes on a fall weekend.
The race organizers are still looking for volunteers to help run the race as well as vendors and emergency personnel for the inevitable wrecks that come on such a difficult course at high speeds.
For more information go to 12hoursofpenitence.com. Penitente Canyon was named for the Penitent monks that lived in the area who were said to inflict self-punishment to atone for their sins. On the 8th of October that tradition of pain and suffering will continue . . . only there will be a party at the end. Come cheer the racers on Oct. 8.