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Battle On The Byway Bicycle Races

On June 8-10, bicycle riders of all skill levels can enjoy the beauty and splendor of the Red River Gorge and its National Scenic Byway for the 2007 Battle on the Byway Races and Cycle the Gorge Bicycle Rally and Family Fun Ride.

The Battle on the Byway Kentucky State Championship Bicycle Event, a sanctioned bicycle race for competitive riders with prize money, is a 50- and 80-mile, single- loop road race through five counties and the Nada Tunnel, Red River Gorge, and up Furnace Mountain to the finish line in Stanton. The road race is rated as one of the top five in the nation.

Championship racers can also participate in two other stages of the race. On Saturday and Sunday afternoon, the Wild and Insane Criterium races will be held in Stanton on a short, technical 6/10th-mile course with nine turns. High speeds of about a lap a minute make this a great spectator event from the park-like viewing area. Blazing Saddles Time Trials, a 16-mile race against the clock, will be held Sunday morning.

Many riders will be noncompetitive cyclists of all ages participating in the Cycle the Gorge Rally and Family Fun Ride. There are 12-, 35-, 55-, and 84-mile options. One option takes you to Natural Bridge State Park where you can have lunch, swim, ride the sky lift, or just relax before you bike back to Stanton. Or there’s a ride to Pine Ridge, lunch, and a ride through the Gorge along Red River and through the Nada Tunnel. And for those who only do “century” rides, there’s also a 100K (62-mile) or a 100-mile option that takes you through Beattyville and on the same course as the championship bike race.

There will also be three separate Pedals and Blooms Bicycle Festivals in Stanton, Beattyville, and Frenchburg offering food, music, games, and booths selling arts, crafts, and antiques.

Registration fees vary depending upon whether you are entering the competitive races (basic fee $30-$90) or riding noncompetitively (basic fee $20), with lots of other options for items such as overnight camping and gear shuttle, T-shirts, etc.

Events fill up quickly, so go online to www.cyclethegorge.com for registration and more information, or call (606) 668-3345.

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