Until Saturday, the local three-man team of Jason Dyer, Steve Lummer and Pat Fraher had never competed together in the "12 Hours at Night" Mountain Bike Ride. But if they were nervous, it wasn't
Before the fifth annual race that featured several mostly amateur cyclists on the Brownlow Trail near Pioneer Park, thunderstorms threatened overhead, even though all was calm at the outset.
The 9.1-mile course that is fairly level goes as low as 5,000-plus feet in elevation to a high of about 5,500 feet. On this evening, the dirt track was rather moist, however, once a monsoon storm pelted the north side of town earlier in the late afternoon.
This mountain bike relay challenges men's and women's solo racers and teams of two or three to complete as many 9-mile laps as possible in a 12-hour period, from 8 p.m. on Saturday to 8 a.m. today. Riding primarily in the dark, cyclists mounted headlights on their helmets and feverishly pounded the dirt trails.
"We do night rides all the time in Prescott - start at 7 o'clock, go up in the basin for two hours," Lummer said about an hour prior to Saturday's race. "But as far as a race is concerned, if your lights go out, then you're out, you did not finish. Sleep is not an issue for me. The adrenaline of being in this environment, with these people (is spectacular)."
Lummer, a 10-year Prescott resident, serves as pastor of the new nature-focused Discovery Church that meets every Sunday at Prescott College.
He gives his churchgoers waterproof bibles so that they can spend time reading them while up on Thumb Butte or in the Granite Dells, among other places. Although he'll be tired today, Lummer made it clear he won't be late for church.
" he said. "We think that change of place plus change of pace equals a change of perspective for people. One of our core values is to get out there."
Lummer, 55, has done his share of getting out there. For example, he's ridden in the Whiskey Off-Road mountain bike race eight times and he's into long-distance canoeing.
"I started out real easy, and then decided to try the Whiskey (Off-Road) one year," he said. "And once I got into riding the single track and enjoying the trails around Prescott, it piqued my interest in more events and stuff like that, too."
The 26-year-old Dyer, originally from St. Louis, relocated to Prescott near the end of 2012 and is the worship leader at Discovery Church.
"As soon as he got over here, I'm like, 'Bro, you need to get a mountain bike. You need to come out with us,' " Lummer said of Dyer. "And he did."
The competitive Dyer, who used to play basketball, baseball and football and was into martial arts, has been mountain biking only since last Thanksgiving, but he's catching on fast.
On Saturday, Dyer started the race, Lummer went second and Fraher was third. They repeated that cycle throughout the night and into the early morning hours.
It took about an hour for each of the men to complete one lap. The three of them were hoping to finish five laps for a grand total of 15.
Like the other competitors on Saturday, Dyer began the event at 8 p.m. sharp by running the first 500 yards to the starting line, where he hopped on his bike and took off on Brownlow Trail.
"It's a challenge, and it's something that's different for me," Dyer said. Fraher, a Prescott native, has ridden on the 12 Hours at Night course hundreds of times through the years.
He hit it off quickly with Lummer and Dyer. He grew up playing slow- and fast-pitch softball and Little League baseball at the parks and rec fields in Prescott. Nevertheless, Fraher's into mountain biking more than he was ever into hitting and fielding on a diamond. Click on their website hmhid for more information.