The Dirt: Charlie Cunningham benefit auction; Cape Epic live; Epic Rides date change

Help support Charlie Cunningham's recovery from 2016 bike crash. Watch Cape Epic online. Carson City Off-Road date change, and more.

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Welcome to The Dirt, the weekly news round-up on what is happening in the worlds of gravel, mountain biking, and all things rough and dirty.

March 23 event at MTB Hall of Fame to benefit Cunningham’s recovery

Mountain biking pioneer Charlie Cunningham has been in treatment for nearly three years, suffering complications related to a bicycle crash in 2016. Next week, you can do something to help support this legend of the sport.

The Marin Museum of Bicycling, home to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, is holding a benefit to support Cunningham on March 23 5-7 p.m. The evening includes a silent auction featuring items such as Yeti founder John Parker’s welding helmet and a klunker frame painted by Gary Fisher.

Tickets are $20 ($10 for students and Marin Museum of Bicycling members). Tickets can be purchased in advance at the museum (Thursdays-Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.), at the museum’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show booth, or on the museum’s website.

If you can’t make the event in Marin, there is also an eBay auction for a Cunningham Homage Bike that begins March 16 at 6:30 p.m. and ends on the 23rd.

Visit the Hall of Fame website for more information on the event or to read about Cunningham’s contributions to mountain biking.

Watch Absa Cape Epic live

The eight-stage Absa Cape Epic gets underway with the Cape Town prologue on Sunday, and all next week, mountain bike fans can watch live action from the race on the Cape Epic YouTube channel. Granted, this will be one for the night owls or those living in Europe as the broadcasts for most stages begin at 7 or 7:30 a.m. GMT.

If you don’t want to lose sleep over the 624-kilometer race, there will be highlight videos posted on the Cape Epic YouTube page as well.

Carson City Off-Road moves to late June due to snowpack

Carson City Off Road Day 2
Carson City Off-Road features the highest altitude of any Epic Rides Off-Road Series race course. Photo: Brian Leddy Photography

If you’re a skier, by now you probably know that snow conditions in the Lake Tahoe region have been all-time. That is great for making turns, but not ideal for a high-alpine mountain bike race, like the Carson City Off-Road. So, to ensure that the race will be able to include the famous Marlette Flume Trail and Tahoe Rim Trail on Marlette Peak, the race has been rescheduled to June 28-30. Those who registered already and cannot make that date will be given a full refund provided they request it before April 24. In the meantime, let’s hope that eight feet of snowpack at Marlette Lake starts melting soon.

Land Run 100 will ride to Perkins, Oklahoma

This Saturday’s Land Run 100 gravel race will feature a brand-new course which will take riders to Perkins, Oklahoma. This will also be the first time the race has visited Perkins as a turnaround point. The 50-mile route will also have a new course, riding to Ripley, Oklahoma, as it did in 2014.

The Stillwater, Oklahoma-based gravel race is known for its disgustingly sticky clay mud, but it all depends on the weather conditions. At this point, the forecast is clear for the weekend, which might mean another fast race this year, like it was in 2018 when Mat Stephens won the men’s race in a blazing fast time of 5:21:03. Amanda Nauman won the women’s race that year in 5:57:49, and I’m not ashamed to say I held onto her wheel by my fingernails for the final 20 miles, just hoping to make it home alive.

See you in Stillwater!

Got some news you’d like to share in The Dirt? I’d love to hear from you. Please email me your news and updates on all things gravel and mountain biking.

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