DART-nuun Athlete Jen Ratay Wins Cool 24-Hour Mountain Bike Race
DART-nuun adventure racer Jennifer Ratay won the second annual Coolest 24 Race Against Cancer, a 24-hour non-stop mountain bike race in Cool, CA that raised money for cancer research. Over the 24 hours of mountain biking, Jennifer pedaled 200 miles and climbed more than 26,000 feet in elevation on an 11-mile scenic trail loop in Auburn State Park to secure the victory. She finished a full lap ahead of her nearest competitor.
Jennifer chose to race in the Coolest 24 Race Against Cancer, the only nonprofit 24-hour mountain bike race in America, because the event raises money for the UC Davis Cancer Research Center. Two close friends of Jennifer’s have battled the disease, including Jennifer’s ace race support crew member, David Belden, who is a cancer survivor.
Jennifer was not the only rider who felt deeply about the cancer research cause. Race Director Jim Northey lined the toughest part of the course with pictures submitted by racers of their friends and family who have fought cancer.
“Seeing these pictures reminded me every lap how fortunate all of us were to be out there in nature riding our bikes with virtually perfect weather and trail conditions. This perspective helped turn burning legs and lungs into a celebration of being alive,” said Jennifer.
Over 400 racers, most on relay teams, tested themselves on the course, more than doubling the number of participants from last year’s inaugural race. The race raised an estimated $45,000 for cancer research, money that will go towards developing a cure for cancer and extending the lives of those who are affected by it.
The combination of top-quality riding, excellent event support, a friendly atmosphere and the cancer cause proved a memorable mix. Next year’s race promises to be even larger, as both top and recreational riders alike put this race on their ‘must do’ list.
The 2007 Coolest 24 Race Against Cancer was Jennifer’s second 24-hour bike race. Race Director Northey awarded her a custom build Grognard bike for the victory. In Jennifer’s debut race, she won the 2006 24 Hours of Adrenalin solo mountain bike championship at the Laguna Seca Raceway.
Jennifer, who lives in Palo Alto, CA, attributes her success in large part to the endless support and encouragement of her husband, an adventure racer, too.
She is additionally grateful for nuun hydration, whose electrolytes kept her cramp free and strong while riding through the heat; Light & Motion, whose powerful bike lights outfit the best riders in the world; and VeloTech Cycles’ Tom Jelmyer, a master bike mechanic who keeps Jennifer’s bike in working order–a significant feat given the abuse she puts it through.
The win qualifies Jennifer to race in September against the best riders in world at the World Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin Championships. Before that, she and her DART-nuun adventure racing teammate, Matt Hart, are planning to race in the BC Bike Race, a seven day mountain bike race from Victoria to Whistler, British Columbia.