Sonya Looney, the two-time 24 Hour USA National Champion in the 4-person format and National Champion in the coed duo format, claimed the 24 Hour World Championship in just her first attempt in the solo category. For the first time in history, the prestigous WEMBO 24 Hour race was hosted in the United States in Weaverville, California with "one of the most challenging 24 hour courses on record."
The course consisted of roughly 13 mile laps with 1600' feet of elevation gain per lap, with Sonya completing 18 laps for a total of 234 miles and 29,000' of elevation gain over the course of the race.
Sonya credited her ability to stay focused and consistent throughout the race as key to her success.
"I didn't know what was going to happen. On the first lap, one of the ladies rode away from me on the first climb and I had to be strict with myself and just let her go. I caught her on the downhill and we went back and forth that way for 2 laps. At dusk, both 2nd and 3rd place were a mere 7-9 minutes behind me. I knew that I needed to ride an unwaveringly hard pace through the night with no mistakes. I managed to open up a gap of 32 minutes by dawn. Persistency was key; some laps I gained 2 minutes while others I picked up 5 minutes. I actually had the most fun at night! There's something to riding at your limit following a short tunnel of light. I didn't even need that much caffeine!"