July 2526

For pinners who would rather ride than sleep, the 24 Hours of 9 Mile in Wausau, Wisconsin, is an opportunity to forego wasted time snoozing and race through the night. The event features plenty of rocky Midwest singletrack and offers team classes or a solo category for those who don't want to be held back by a teammate; 24-9.com

>JULY 27-31

Adding to the small list multi-day endurance races that are making sweet singletrack their main priority, the five-day Intermontane Challenge promises to showcase some of the most rippin' trails in Kamloops, B.C., so leave your cyclocross tires at home. The course will feature a "cloverleaf" design, with riders starting and finishing in the same spot, which is just a few painful stumbles from a beer garden; intermontanechallenge.com

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SEVEN UP Armstrong (7) has seven Tour de France victories. Wiens (1) is gunning for seven wins in Leadville.

where they rendezvous with a much-needed oxygen mask. It's good family fun.

And this might be the best year ever to take in the action. Reigning champ Dave Wiens (a.k.a. the "Vanilla Gorilla"] is aiming for a seventh consecutive win, but it won't be easy for the 44-year-old who "retired" from racing five years ago. Former Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is reportedly gunning for him this time around. So too is defrocked TDF winner Floyd Landis.

Wiens smashed the course record in 2007, when he beat Landis by two minutes, and again in 2008, when he outraced Armstrong by the same margin. The current time to beat? Six hours, 45 minutes and 45 seconds.

Armstrong isn't exactly famous for taking a beating lying down, and this year he's warming up for Leadville with a few small races in Italy and France-the Giro d'ltalia and Tour de France. In fact, finishing second to Wiens last year provided Armstrong with the motivation to return to racing.

All the action will unfold in Leadville on August 15. Game on. —Vernon Felton o bikemag.com

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