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A mountainous challenge

Depending on how much you love mountain biking, there's likely an activity for you Saturday, Dec. 15, at the 12 Hours of Markham.

Riders can compete in races lasting six to 12 hours. Spectators can hang out by the Markham Park lake in Sunrise and watch the competitors go round and round. And everyone can show up in the evening to watch a mountain-biking movie on an outdoor, 25-foot screen.

While endurance-race events are held routinely across the country, this is the first 12 Hours of Markham at the park (16001 W. State Road 84). The race will begin 9 a.m. Saturday and feature several categories, including 12-hour and six-hour divisions for men and women. There also are team categories, all the way down to four-person novice for those worried about getting overly sore in the saddle.

At 7 p.m., visitors can watch "Where the Trail Ends," a film produced by Red Bull that follows the world's top free-ride mountain bikers as they search for unridden terrain around the globe. The screening is free, but the park charges $1.50 admission on weekends.

Dave Williams, who helped organize the event, says entry fees and other proceeds will go toward maintaining Markham's mountain-bike trails. For example, the previous fundraiser helped purchase 500 tons of crushed-rock aggregate, which helps to prevent the trail from eroding.

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