The race that started 24-hour mountain bike racing has been cancelled this year. West Virginia’s 24 Hours of Big Bear, which started as 24 Hours of Canaan in 1992, has been idled in 2010 by race founder and promoter Laird Knight. A sign of the tough economic times, Knight stated in a press release that the decision to put the race on hold was due to financial strain. Knight’s Granny Gear has also put the brakes on their Wisconsin-based race 24 Hours of 9-Mile. Their popular 24 Hours of Moab in Utah will be the only race they produce this year.

“Last year we were robbing Peter to pay Paul all year long and at the end of the year I had to borrow money to pay remaining Moab expenses,” Knight said in a release about producing his three races in 2009. “I simply can’t afford to do that again.”

He went on to say that all three races will be back in 2011.

He also went on to say he’d be willing to sell his entire company if the right buyer were interested. If you’re looking for a career change, read more here.

Click here to read a recent BRO interview with Knight about how the pioneer created 24-hour racing and his thoughts on the future of the sport.

Also, in these tough times are you participating in fewer biking and running races?