A ride with a hockey legend, new tracking technology and various cycling events are all part of the upcoming Centurion Ellicottville weekend Aug. 17-19.
The three-day festival will take place Friday through Sunday and will feature a number of events, including a bike movie night at 6 p.m. Friday in downtown Ellicottville, as well as a C25, C50 and C100. This year will be the first of five consecutive years the event will be held in Ellicottville.
Brian McFadden, executive director for the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, said that the Ontario, Canada-based Centurion office contacted him last October about holding the event in Ellicottville.
“They just heard so much about Ellicottville and all the things we’re doing here and it kind of suited their M.O. (mode of operation). They like to run these events in resort towns. And we’re also close to the Canadian border and we have a lot of Canadian tourists here. So it all kind of makes sense to them,” he said.
One of the major highlights of the weekend will be “Pedal with Pat LaFontaine at Centurion Ellicottville,” an 11.5-mile ride with National Hockey League Hall of Famer and former Buffalo Sabres great Pat LaFontaine. Pat’s Ride is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
The goal of the ride, according to Holiday Valley’s website, is to “get more people focused on improving their health by riding their bikes in a festive and safe environment while also raising awareness for LaFontaine’s Companions in Courage Foundation,” which raises funds for hospitals to build interactive playrooms for hospitalized children.
In addition to the ride with Pat LaFontaine, Saturday’s other cycling events will include the Individual Time Trial at 2 p.m. and the Elite Team Time Trial. Holiday Valley’s website states that the first of these events is a short-course timed event that begins with an individual start down a ramp and the second event “will feature the region’s top amateur cyclists on four-person teams in a race against the clock to see who will claim the prize purse.”
Other notable events in the Centurion will be the C25, C50 and C100. The C25, which is a 25-mile ride, will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Washington Street, where it will also end and then be followed by a kids’ ride at 1:30 p.m., which will also start and finish on Washington Street.
Touted as “the crescendo to the weekend,” are the C50 and C100 cycling events, which are 50 miles and 100 miles long, respectively. According to Holiday Valley’s website, the routes for the C50 and C100 both head southwest past HoliMont and up Fish Hill, before “splitting to bring the C50 participants back through the village and then east for a second loop, containing rolling hills and moderate climbing.”
The C100 course, the website continues, goes farther out and “then up Murder Hill and through Little Valley, before coming back through the village and out east for a 75-mile loop that includes challenging climbs up some of the area’s most legendary hills.” The C50 is scheduled for 7 a.m. Sunday and the C100 will have an 8 a.m. start time.
Awards will be presented to the top male and female finishers of the time trial, the C25, the C50 and the C100, as well as three-deep in different age groups for each event.
Technology will play a role in the race with the application of custom-made “cloud-based” mapping services, which will be tested for the first time during the races this weekend. The system uses iPhones, laptops and a custom app to allow the Cattaraugus County Emergency Services team to monitor the location of racers for safety purposes. (See Centurion Goes High Tech in Section B.)
Mike Widger of Mansfield said that he will ride in the C100, along with his friends, Salamanca resident Shawn O’Neil, and Ellicottville Bike Shop Owner Dennis Baldwin. He listed his love for cycling, the opportunity to ride in a local event with his friends and the challenge that the course presents as his reasons for competing in this year’s Centurion.
“It’s a big challenge. I’ve done other centuries in the past and this one has a very challenging, hilly route,” he said.
O’Neil said he is hoping for nice weather and added that he is sure the event will be well-run.
“I’m not sure what kind of levels (of competition) they get there, but I’ve heard from (Endurance Factor head coach) Doug Bush that they get some pretty fast guys so it should be interesting,” he said.