Saratoga County

Weekend of cycling planned in and around Saratoga Springs

If you’re driving around town or in Greenfield this weekend, you might feel outnumbered among all th
PHOTOGRAPHER:

If you’re driving around town or in Greenfield this weekend, you might feel outnumbered among all the bicyclists.

That’s because the Mohawk-Hudson Cycling Club’s annual Century Weekend takes place today and Sunday at Saratoga Spa State Park, with 400 people expected to take part each day.

The weather is predicted to be improving through Saturday and pleasant Sunday.

The weekend features rides of 25, 50, 62 and 100 miles starting from the state park and looping around through Greenfield and back.

Riders meet at the Carlsbad Pavilion with check-in starting at 7 a.m. each day and rides starting throughout the morning. A water and food stop is set up in Greenfield Town Park, and riders get to enjoy a pasta buffet between noon and 4 p.m. at the state park pavilion.

Online registration has closed, but people can still register the day of the road ride by paying $30 for members or $35 for nonmembers. Free parking is available in the Saratoga Performing Arts Center lot on Route 50, or people may pay the $6 fee to enter the park and go to the pavilion.

The weekend is a chance for cyclists to complete 100 miles in one day, winning them bragging rights and a sense of accomplishment, said Skip Holmes, president of the Mohawk-Hudson Cycling Club.

“It’s kind of the primo thing in cycling,” Holmes said of the 100-mile ride, or “century.” “It’s a personal challenge for everybody.”

The weekend is also a social event. Bicyclists feel safer riding in groups said Janet Reilly, whose husband Jim Bethell organizes the event.

“There’s a safety in numbers when there are a lot of people out there,” she said.

Drivers and cyclists need to watch out for each other any time they’re both on the road.

“There needs to be mutual respect,” Reilly said.

Motorists rightfully get frustrated when bicyclists ride several abreast, don’t stop for lights and stop signs or pull out in front of them. But drivers commit their share of violations as well, making some would-be cyclists shy from the sport out of fear, she said.

“I have a life-threatening interaction with a car every time I’m out there,” she said. “I’ve lost friends to bike accidents.”

Many drivers don’t realize that serious bicyclists ride with their feet clipped into their pedals and can speed along at 20 mph or more, making it impossible to stop quickly.

“People don’t realize it’s not like when you were a kid. You can’t just put your feet down and stop,” Reilly said.

Saratoga Spa State Park is expected to be a busy spot this weekend.

Besides the bicycle rides, the Saratoga Wine & Food and Fall Ferrari Festival Grand Tasting takes place at noon today with a live auction at 3:30 p.m.

On Sunday, the third annual Trooper Joseph Longobardo 5K Run/Walk starts at 10 a.m. at the Orenda Pavilion.

Longobardo, a trooper for eight years and member of the National Guard, was killed in the line of duty on Sept. 3, 2006.

Registration for that run today is $30.

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