Hundreds of athletes hit the trails at Nine Mile Forest to compete in the third Wausau24 mountain bike race.
Organizers say more than 500 bikers are competing, many of them in the grueling 24-hour competition.
"It's really fast, really flowy. There's a lot of technical stuff out there that you kind of have to pay attention to," racer Matt Leizinger of Minnetonka, Minnesota said.
He said racing is an adrenaline rush. "I get in the zone."
Leizinger is part of a four-person team competing in the 24-hour race. Organizers said the Wausau24 is in its third year and it keeps growing.
"This year we've got a record number: 575," Race Organizer Adam Schmidt said.
Those more than 500 athletes are competing at Nine Mile Forest and many are pushing it to the limit. Some 45 of those racers are all-in, trying to complete the 24-hour race alone.
Many of the athletes said Wausau is a great host for the event.
"I wish we had a course like this close to the Minneapolis area," Leizinger said.
But the 24-hour race to the finish can be grueling. Bikers must complete as many laps as possible on a 10.5 mile course.
"Night laps are always pretty hard. It's nice because there's not a lot of people out there, the weather is a little bit cooler, but it's a little spooky," Leizinger said.
Organizers said to win, you have to push through the pain.
"We had a winner last year do 21 laps so if you do the math they're well over 200 miles in 24 hours," Schmidt said.
An intense test that many racers said only fuels their love for the sport.
"I started biking as a kid and I just never stopped," Leizinger said.
The 24-hour race ends at 10'clock a.m. Sunday. A six hour race and a twelve hour race were also held on Saturday.
Snow on the way at times next week.
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