Pua Sawicki and the 24 Hours of Moab

Ron Niebrugge Moab, Photos, Travel, Utah 21 Comments

Pua Sawicki at the 2009 24 Hours of Moab.

Pua Sawicki at the 2009 24 Hours of Moab.

When we left Pua Sawicki well after dark on Saturday night, she was well on her way to another National Championship, and more importantly, a world record for distance traveled by a women on a mountain bike in 24 hours.  She once rode 281 miles in a race, but it wasn’t sanctioned by the Guinness Book of World Records – this race would be.

We got up early Sunday morning and immediately checked the on-line results, and were shocked to see her current lap taking much longer then normal.  We kept an eye on the computer and finally saw she rolled in about an hour later then normal.  We hoped she just had a mechanical problem, and would start knocking off fast laps again, so we jumped in the truck and hurried over to the race so we could be on site before sunrise.  Our worst concerns were realized when we arrived only to see her support tent empty of workers and gear, we knew then her race must be over.  Her husband Ron later confirmed that she had gotten very sick during the night, and finally had to drop out.  Bummer!  Pua and her husband are super nice people – we hope they have lots of future success, I’m sure they will.

Since we were already at the race, we went ahead and photographed other riders.  The steep hillside pictured below was the scene of many dramatic wrecks.  I felt a bit guilty standing there and photographing such mayhem, at least at first.  But it became easier, when,  every rider had the same response – they would turn to me and ask if I got it!  Thanks to the soft sand, we didn’t see anyone get hurt.

A rider goes head over wheels during the 24 Hours of Moab, in Moab, Utah.

Kakkan Creager of team Quadruple Gnar goes head over wheels during the 24 Hours of Moab, in Moab, Utah. Team Quadruple Gnar won the men's 18 and under championship.

Comments 21

  1. To bad you weren’t taking pictures at that spot around 3am when I did the exact same thing and then got passed by Sarah Kaufmann while laying in the sand, fun times!

  2. Love the riders asking if you’d gotten a photo of them! Looks like someone dug a hole under the front wheel of the rider flipping over.

  3. Post

    Thanks Bret – that is the reason I went with this image over some of the other crash scenes.

    Ryan – wow, that would have been no fun at 3 a.m.! We rode out there today, that is a tough trial, don’t know how you do it at night. Great job just to be competing in this event!

    Joni, Carl – it does look like someone dug a whole there. I didn’t, but seeing so many rider being surprised by it made me wonder.


  4. We were suprised by it because during our earlier lap the hole wasn’t there. The day before quite a few of us bailed on it, but during the early laps of the race that line was perfect. I tried the same line during my 3am lap and was very surprised when my front tire went down into that thing…the guy behind me did the same thing 🙂

  5. Hey Ron,

    I think Ryan’s post above kinda reaffirms my earlier post, and thoughts .. tell me again why you called asking to borrow a shovel for your trip to Moab this year?




  6. Post

    Hi Ryan,

    That makes sense – I heard a lot of people say something like “what happened here?”

    The conveyor belts that lined that sandy wash were definitely moved. Some of the riders asked if we would move the back, but they were too heavy for two people to move – so I don’t think that happened because of the bikers – somebody went to a lot of work to slide those off to the side. I don’t get why someone would do something like that.

  7. Super pictures! I’ll be checking in here often.

    It’s too bad you weren’t there to photograph Eszter 😉


  8. Post

    Thanks a lot Ed!

    I wasn’t there to photograph Eszter, but did see her pass by on what ended up being her final lap, so I did grab some shots of her then.

  9. I was being a bit facetious with my comment. Eszter is a friend and my fiance was there supporting her. Pua, Sarah and Eszter all did great, they deserve credit for tremendous efforts and it was fun watching the race unfold.

    Not only are the pictures on this blog wonderful but the shared information is really appreciated – thanks very much!!


  10. Post

    Ed, I figured you had a vested interest in her – she did awesome, winning the solo women division of the 24 hours. I agree with you – anyone who competes in this deserves a lot of credit for such an amazing accomplishment!

    I don’t know Laurent – I’m thinking the falls from climbing might hurt more! Hopefully you’ll never find out!

  11. Post
  12. Post
  13. Post

    Hi Eszter,

    Great to hear from you and congratulations!

    I do have a few photos – we are traveling the next few days, I will try to send a couple to you after that.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.