Copperas Cove’s first bicycle road race of the season, the Megan Baab Memorial Classic Road Race hosted by Team Bicycles Inc., will take place Jan. 19.
“January. Too early to be really serious, but early enough to wonder if the winter training is working,” the event page for the TBi website stated.
Last year, around 350 cyclists took part in the race that was renamed to honor Megan Baab, a Euless native who was attending Lees-McRae College in North Carolina when she was hit by a truck while training and died Dec. 15, 2011.
“This is the second year it’s going to be the Megan Baab Memorial,” said Andy Hollinger, TBi spokesman. “We’ve collected over $20,000 for scholarships ... as a way of remembering her. She was a great athlete, a great sportswoman and a great person.”
The race will begin and end at the Copperas Cove Civic Center. It consists of more than 11 miles of out section, a 31.27-mile loop for senior racers, followed by the same 11 miles back to the start/finish line, according to the race’s website.
“It offers some pretty serious climbing,” said David Landmann, volunteer coordinator for the race who was involved with bringing it to Copperas Cove in 2002. “It’s a beautiful route, and the terrain is varied.”
Hollinger said only a couple of hundred people signed up for the race as of Tuesday morning, but more may do so once they have an idea of what the weather will bring on race day.
About 350 people participated last year, said Betty Price, Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Bureau president, which is actively involved in welcoming cyclists to the city and hosting race events.
“We’re looking for around that number again this year, and we’re hoping for great weather,” she said.
Bicycle races are a boost to the local community, Price said, because of the money racers spend on lodging, food and other necessities while they’re in town.
“Some comments I’ve heard is, (cyclists) say they feel so well taken care of when they come,” she said. “We’re looking forward to another great weekend.”
Patience shown by residents was also noted by Hollinger, who said it is well appreciated by race participants.
“We ask the drivers on that day to be kind,” he said. “We may hold them up a little bit ... We don’t want to interrupt their day. There may be some interruption, but if everyone takes it easy, it won’t be a big one.”
Landmann said strong cyclists who were looking to give racing a try can purchase a day license and participate as a Category 5 racer.
“It will give you a chance to see what it’s like,” he said. “See if you have the stamina to do it.”