by Jeff Cole
Hundreds of cyclists from different regions will soon ride and rumble along the Allegany State Park trails in this year’s Raccoon Rally.
The rally will be held Saturday and Sunday at Allegany State Park in Salamanca and will include four different cycling events: the Road Race (9:30 a.m. Saturday at Camp Allegany), the Bike Trials (10 a.m. Saturday at Thunder Rocks), the Cross-Country Race (10 a.m. Sunday at Camp Allegany) and the Kids’ Race, which will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Camp Allegany infield. The cost to participate in the first three events is $30, while the Kids Race is free.
Mark Lawrence, who runs www.heartrateup.com, which hosts Raccoon Rally among numerous other outdoor athletic events throughout the year in Western New York, is keeping his fingers crossed for a favorable forecast for this year’s rally.
“We hope for terrifically comfortable weather, rain-free conditions and we always look forward to entertaining cyclists from throughout the country because it’s a beautiful destination,” he said.
The Road Race, according to Lawrence, takes place along a scenic 25-mile triangular path, while the Cross-Country Race occurs along wide rolling trails of varying lengths depending on the registered level of the rider. Levels include beginner, sport, expert and pro among others.
Courses and distances for the Kids’ Race depend on the weather conditions.
While the races focus primarily on speed and distance, the Bike Trials emphasize balance and control, as participating bikers will hop or balance on stationary objects such as rocks.
Cash prizes and medals will be awarded to top finishers. Awards will depend on the race and the category the cyclist rides under.
Besides the events, other aspects of the rally will include raffles, a bike toss, food sales, bicycle demos and vendors.
Pre-registration has closed, so just come down and register the day of the rally. More event details at www.heartrateup.com.