Although the annual Firecracker 100 Bike Ride and Race blasts off in less than a week and a half, it’s not too late to sign up for one of the four routes.
That is, if you think you’ve got what it takes to master the hills — and the scorching heat — that give the race its reputation.
“You can register right up until race time,” Kiwanis Club President David Swearingen said. Available routes are 10 miles, 26 miles, 43 miles and 100 kilometers (about 62 miles).
Races begin at 7:50 a.m. Saturday, June 30, from the parking lot at Tarleton State’s Wisdom Gym. Same-day registration begins at 6 a.m., but riders may register online now at the ride’s web site, www.firecracker100.com.
Riders may also pay online via PayPal, but can choose to pay in person Saturday. Early entries appear to be coming in heavier than last year, Swearingen said, due to online registration.
About 500 riders took part in the race last year, Swearingen said, but organizers are hoping for a bigger turnout this time around.
“Our goal is to get to 600 (riders) and beyond,” Swearingen said. “If we get 550, I’m going to be proud.”
The race is the Kiwanis Club’s No. 1 fundraiser, he said, and helps fund the group’s charitable giving to organizations like the Rainbow Room, Court-Appointed Special Advocates, scouting and the Stephenville Parks and Recreation Department.
This is the third year the group has hosted the race, and positive feedback has encouraged them to stay the course.
“We’re trying to do everything pretty much the same,” Swearingen said. “Some things we have nailed down better.”
Club member Al Morin will once again be coordinating the race.
“He’s our fearless leader on this,” Swearingen said.
Route maps are available on the event’s web site. The 26-mile route winds its way through Selden, while the 43-mile route goes through Three Way and Duffau. The 100-kilometer path extends past the 43-mile route, through Clairette, Alexander, Dublin and Harbin.
He said the Texas Department of Transportation may mow the eight rest stops featured along the race’s various routes, noting it would be a “major burden off of us” if they did.
Swearingen also thanked the Rotary Club for their help with registration, and Chuck Markham and the StreamLine Motorcycle Club for riding along the routes for the safety of the participating cyclists.
Swearingen said race organizers have also “enlarged our number” of law enforcement officials to increase rider safety.
The race is preceded by Friday night’s spaghetti supper, free for riders and volunteers and provided by local scouts. Dinner, and registration, begin at 6 p.m. in the foyer of Wisdom Gym.
The scouts will also be serving a hot dog lunch Saturday, following the race. As usual, Tarleton’s locker rooms, showers and swimming pool will be available to riders after the race.