FORT HOOD — The Fort Hood Challenge two-day championship cycling race kicks off Saturday with an expected 750 bikers riding on a closed-course range road.
“The road runs right by the range, so a lot of the racers are in for a treat,” said Betty Price, Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce president. “(Riders) actually enjoy seeing the tanks, helicopters and soldiers as they ride down through the ranges.”
The chamber is one of many event sponsors. Copperas Cove also serves as the event’s host city since participants only have access to the course through the city on North Farm-to-Market 116.
Professional-level racers will circle the 33-mile loop three times for a nearly 100-mile competition, but there are many categories and lengths for participants, who range in age from 10 to 70. The event also features a free active-duty military competition Saturday.
“It is a unique place to race,” said Andy Hollinger, the race promoter. “When all that comes together, it makes an interesting ride.”
The course features some challenging climbs and descents for riders, he said.
“You have to be physically and mentally prepared,” Price said.