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Tour de Rand Hill bike race getting bigger, better

PLATTSBURGH Over the past three years, the Tour de Rand Hill bike race has nearly quadrupled in the number of participants, and this year even more are expected. On Saturday, July 19 many local bike riders and some out-of-towners will compete in the 14-mile uphill bike race beginning at the Plattsburgh YMCA and ending at Camp Jericho in Altona. Its a tough race, because it is uphill, said competitor Jay Ruff of Plattsburgh, who has competed since the race began in 2005. But its fun. Theres some competitiveness. Theres not too many bike races that are in the Plattsburgh area, he added. This is one thats kind of been consistent every year. So, I keep coming back to it. Every year, the race has grown and some changes have been made, said YMCA activities director Patti Warner, who puts together the race every year. [The] first year, we had 10 riders, said Warner. All men. Although the turn out wasnt quite what Warner had expected, changes were made, and last year, 38 people competed, including five women. That year was very impressive, said Warner. Last year, a new division was added to the race the fun division. Those who just wanted to ride with a friend and talk and finish it, Warner explained. Riders this year can choose from the race division or the fun division. It is also broken down by age and sex. Helmets are mandatory and riders are asked to bring their own water. At the end of the race, refreshments are distributed and awards are given out for best times. Then, riders turn around and bike back to the start. Coming back is so much easier, said Warner, who has raced the past two years, although is unable to compete this year. We do offer transportation for those who do need a ride back, if theyre in a time crunch of just dont want to come downhill. You dont have to be a hardcore biker, Warner added. You can just get out there and enjoy the ride for fun. I think thats a unique aspect of it. The competition will begin at the corner by the YMCA on Brinkerhoff Street at 9 a.m. Parking, registration and prize giveaways will be held at Catherine Gardens/Senior Center. Registration fees for the race are $20 for YMCA members and $25 for non-members. After Wednesday, July 16, those wishing to still sign up for the bike race will be considered a late entry and will be charged an extra $5 to compete. A portion of the registration fees benefit the centers childrens program, which offers children who may not have the finances to be a member of the YMCA a chance to join at a reduced fee. If interested in competing, contact Warner at the YMCA at 561-4290.

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