A bicycle race that has the enthusiastic support of the City of Whitesburg will start and end in the city on later this month.
The race will wind through a 44- mile loop from Whitesburg across Sandlick Mountain, through Little Colley, Little Cowan, to the top of Pine Mountain, and will end in Whitesburg. It is part of the threeevent
Pine Mountain Summit Challenge Bicycle Rally and Recreational Ride that will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 27.
The event is being organized by the Letcher County Cycling Club, whose members addressed the Whitesburg City Council at its recent August meeting. Club spokesman Winston Lee said the rally has events that should appeal “to riders of all skill levels.” In addition to 44-mile endurance race, there will be a 17- mile ride and a “fun ride” for both adults and kids through downtown Whitesburg.
Lee said he expects to attract a large group of participants for the event, with racers from several states participating. He said that the participants would probably eat and stay in the city and would spend their money there as well. He added that he hopes this will be the beginning of a big event for the city and Letcher County.
“These things are a big draw,” said Lee. “This is a solid foundation to build on and it will be very helpful to the city.”
Lee said he hopes the race will be the start of a series of events, and added that he and the other club members love Whitesburg and want to do all they can to promote the town as a tourist destination. He said that this kind of activity not only helps the local economy, but also promotes a healthy lifestyle and can centralize the city as a location for tourism in the eastern Kentucky region. Proceeds will go back into county tourism efforts.
Lee said fliers will be put up in and around town and that the club wants to make a high quality website to promote events such as the race and other tourism efforts in the city and county. He said the club also wants to create better signage to highlight tourism opportunities in the county and to remind travelers of the county’s attractions for future visits as well.
Lee asked the council’s blessing and said it would be a big help if the riders could have a police escort to Sandlick, where they will be met by Letcher County Sheriff ’s deputies for the rest of the ride.
Mayor James W. Craft was enthusiastic in his support. He told Lee and the other club members the council appreciates their efforts and asked council members to OK the request.
Lee told Craft that members of the club are passionate about living in Letcher County and said he hopes the race and other events can help to improve the economy.
The council voted unanimously to approve the event. Council Member Robin Bowen Watco made the motion to approve, adding the caveat that the police escort be at the front of the riders as well as to bring up the rear for safety purposes.
“The Letcher County Cycling Club looks to build this one-of-a-kind event into a premier rally for cyclists from all over the region and a huge attraction for our area,” Lee said. “The long route of 44 miles will take riders over some of the highest and most majestic peaks found in Kentucky, through Sandlick, Premium, Kingscreek, Cowan, and Pine Mountain, totaling a riding elevation of nearly 3,500 feet. The 17-mile route will lead riders across Whitco and Little Cowan straight to the top of Pine Mountain. The rally will also feature a fun ride for adults and kids, casually touring downtown Whitesburg.”
The awards ceremony for the riders will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 27, on the steps of the Community Trust Bank on Main Street. For preregistration and additional information, visit the Facebook Pine Mountain Summit Challenge page or The Letcher County Cycling Club page. Lee can be reached at 606- 634-1600.