TUCSON, Arizona (VN) — When the sun finally rose over the Arizona desert this past Sunday morning, Nash Dory could barely see anything in front of him, let alone the singletrack trail. Dory, who was leading the solo men’s division at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, had lost much of his vision during the night due to the dry desert air.
Dory, 20, still had six hours remaining until the finish and checked in to the medical tent to see if the medics could figure out what was wrong with his vision.
“They got the medics over to me to check it out and basically, they said I need to stop racing,” said Dory, who rides for the CZ Racing ream. “I was like, ‘I’m not going to stop because I would not win if I did.'”
Dory rinsed his eyes out with salt water and took a short nap. He is not the only rider to suffer from vision problems in this race — the defending champion, Taylor Lideen, had previously had vision problems during his solo attempts at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo.
After his rest, Dory remounted his bicycle and sped back onto the race course.
“I kind of felt good enough to go ride again and just pump out a couple more laps,” Dory said. “One of my buddies went out with me to make sure I didn’t die.”
Dory completed three more laps, bringing his total to 17, which was good enough for the overall victory. Dory held off racer Brandon Nichols to win the overall, his first victory as a 24-hour solo racer.
The victory was a milestone for Dory, who is a rising star in Arizona’s mountain bike community. Dory won the Arizona high school championship in 2015, and now attends Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, the defending collegiate mountain bike champions.
Dory has a growing list of impressive results in traditional cross-country races. He’s also done well at the 24-hour format. He nearly won the solo race at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo in 2016 when he completed 18 laps around the 16-mile circuit. He was just a high school racer at the time when he finished second overall, just 42 minutes behind winner Nate Ginzton.
In 2017, Dory raced on a four-person squad with his high school friends. The team earned national headlines after the four teenagers finished ahead of the team of Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, Dylan Casey, and Christian Vande Velde.
In 2018, Dory and his teammate Colin DiMattio won the two-person category.
The 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo is a special event for Dory, who grew up in Arizona and races it every year. He’s become something of a local celebrity at the event. After word spread of his vision problems, the local community rallied behind his effort. Every time he passed through the start/finish area, which went through a white tent, fellow riders and volunteers cheered him on.
“The community is my favorite part,” he said. “Everybody’s super-close, cheerful,” he said. “The transition tent, when people come through, everyone’s just super-loud, pumped up.”