COPPERAS COVE — Cyclist Troy Howe said he was riding for two people during the Cove House Classic Bike Tour event Saturday.

He was riding for himself and Cesar Ortiz, who was there “in spirit,” Howe said.

Howe was one of 115 cyclists who participated in the 17th annual Cove House Classic Bike Tour event Saturday to benefit the homeless shelter and free clinic. The event was expected to raise nearly $6,000 for Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter, Executive Director Brian Hawkins said Thursday.

Howe was competing in the event for the 16th time.

“I am taking a T-shirt to Cesar (Ortiz) because I know he was here in spirit,” Howe said. “Two years ago, Cesar participated in the 50-mile event. He is 80 years old.”

Participants had an option of cycling 26, 42, 50 or 63 miles over the hilly terrain that took riders toward Lampasas and Gatesville in the hills north of the city.

Howe said he used to ride in the 100-mile Hotter’N Hell event near Wichita Falls in late August.

“This course is tougher than Hotter’N Hell because there are so many hills,” Howe said. “I have been out of racing for two years, and I am a little out of shape.

Howe finished the 26-mile event in under 90 minutes.

Killeen resident Leonard Crichton is only a month into his bike-riding career. He recently retired from the Army and was looking for something to help keep him in shape.

“When you turn 40 years old, you are looking for something to relieve the pressure in your joints,” Crichton said before the race. “The trick is you want to stay young.”

Cove House hosted the event starting at 7:30 a.m. in the First Baptist Church parking lot in Copperas Cove. The organization provides shelter for local people and helps up to 25 residents per week at the free clinic.

“We keep people of Copperas Cove off the street,” Hawkins said at a recent City Council meeting.

The Cove House is at 108 Halstead Ave., in Copperas Cove. | 254-501-7464

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