Celebrating its 24th year, the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo (24HOP) isn’t just any mountain biking event—it’s one of the largest 24-hour events in the world, and our team considers it to be one of the Best Mountain Bike Events in the Southwest. Located north of Tucson, AZ in the mesmerizing Sonoran Desert, this race offers an unparalleled experience, not only to the participants but also to the volunteers and sponsors. Produced by Epic Rides and coined the “Sonoran Singletrack Sensation,” the event coincides with the President’s Day holiday weekend, making it a festive occasion. With daytime temperatures often touching 70 degrees and backed by the peaceful vibes of the Sonoran Desert, the ambiance is further amplified by a vibrant industry bike and gear expo, and 24 hours of music.
Beers, costumes, good food, crazy people on bikes, and late nights; there are not many things in the Mountain Bike calendar, or sports calendar for that matter, that can compare to the experience of a 24-hour mountain bike race – they always seem to attract the best of the best and the word of the weird in the sports community, and we’re all here for it! If you’ve been a part of the mountain biking community, you’ve surely heard of the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo (24HOP) and the buzz it’s been generating for years.
Event & Course Info
The 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo (24HOP) course is a captivating 16-mile-long lap. Tailored for a 24-hour relay race, the route consists mainly of sinuous singletrack, punctuated occasionally by rugged dirt roads. As bikers meander through, they’ll be greeted by the natural beauty of the high-elevation, densely vegetated Sonoran landscape—a host to cacti like cholla, prickly pear, and other indigenous flora.
With 2,000 participants, collectively, they’ll cover an astonishing 88,500+ miles and approximately 5,500 laps within 24 hours. This herculean effort transforms the venue into “24 Hour Town”, a temporary mountain biking haven, alive only for the duration of the event. The relay and solo rider race kicks off at 12:00 PM on Saturday with a LeMans-style start and culminates the following day at 12:00 PM.
Participants can choose between two distinct route options each with about 1,100 ft. of elevation gain. The first, known as the gasline bypass, offers riders a break from the notorious gasline segment, replacing it with an enjoyable, flowing singletrack. The second, labeled the ‘go around’, provides an alternative to the challenging rock drop near the lap’s conclusion, substituting it with a safer and more manageable singletrack. A pre-ride is recommended to guarantee safety and enjoyment during the event. However, those pre-riding the course must procure an Arizona State Land Department recreational use permit.
To ensure that bikers are well-supported throughout the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo (24HOP), the official bike shop, Bicycle Ranch Tucson, and various industry vendors will be present on-site, catering to all biking needs. The top 5 teams in each category qualify for podium awards, and each member of the victorious team gets to select a product from the event sponsors as their prize.
Given the desert locale, riders are advised to prepare for a range of conditions. On good days, temperatures might soar to 76 degrees, necessitating sunscreen. Conversely, on less favorable days, temperatures might plummet to 31 degrees, making rain gear, jackets, and comfortable gloves essential.
Area Accommodations & Things to Do
It’s no secret that part of the allure of the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo (24HOP) is to stay and participate at the first come first served camping available at the venue, lovingly known as 24 Hour Town – it boasts direct access to over 20 miles of single track and endless amounts of double track and jeep trails. Those residing in 24 Hour Town will enjoy uninterrupted vistas of the Tortolita, Catalina, and Galiuro Mountain Ranges.
If camping is not your thing, Adobe Rose Inn, the Downtown Clifton, and the Graduate Tuscon are all great options in Tuscon. There are also plenty of vacation rentals if you prefer a more home-like experience with options ranging from luxury residences to earthen homes.
Tucson, AZ boasts a rich culinary scene deeply rooted in its Native American, Mexican, and Spanish heritage, earning it the designation as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, the first in the United States, for its centuries-old food traditions and vibrant local food culture. From timeless street tacos to innovative Southwestern cuisine, Tucson offers a diverse and flavorful journey for every palate. In addition to some of the local venues that will be participating on site at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo (24HOP) like Dragoon Brewing, Single Speed Coffee Roasters, and Blue Banjo BBQ, be sure to check out Eater’s list of must visit restaurants for a delicious meal before or after the event.
Tucson, Arizona, with its mild winters and expansive landscapes, is a beacon for outdoor enthusiasts. The city, nestled within the Sonoran Desert and surrounded by five mountain ranges, is a playground for athletes seeking adventure in February. Nestled in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Sabino Canyon is a testament to Tucson’s breathtaking beauty. The moderate temperatures in February make it an ideal time for hiking. One of the most popular trails is the Seven Falls Trail, which, as the name suggests, takes hikers to a series of cascading waterfalls. This trail offers a mix of terrains, transitioning from classic desert landscapes to riparian zones, with the opportunity to spot local wildlife and marvel at a rich variety of desert flora.
Also, located to the southeast of Tucson, Cochise Stronghold offers some of the best rock climbing opportunities in the Southwest. A part of the Dragoon Mountains, the Stronghold is rich in both natural beauty and history—it’s named after the Apache Chief Cochise who used the rugged terrain as a refuge. With a variety of routes suitable for both beginners and advanced climbers, this granite wonderland provides challenges and rewards in equal measure. February’s cooler climes ensure a comfortable grip on the rock and make the climbs more enjoyable.
Epic Rides is a group dedicated to promoting the joy of biking outdoors, emphasizing its benefits for the soul and hosting events that celebrate the vibrant mountain biking community, from world champions to enthusiastic newcomers. Their events are more than just rides; they’re a celebration of the bicycle, the outdoors, and the unique community that surrounds it. In addition to 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo (24HOP), other events in that they produce that Strambecco profiles are Tour of the White Mountains in October and The Whiskey Off Road in April, both taking place in Arizona.
For the multi-sport athletes out there, check out some of our best rated Road Cycling, Gravel Cycling, and Trail Running events that are held in Arizona and the broader Southwest. Some of them include the El Tour Series road cycling events – El Tour de Zona, Mesa, Tucson, and the infamous gravel race Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) Scottsdale from Monuments of Cycling which is part of its Quadrupel Crown of Gravel Series. The Xterra Black Canyon Trail Run, part of the Xterra Trail Run World Series, and the Old Pueblo Endurance Runs are recommended in-state trail running events to add to your calendar.