Two-day Greenfield event
Top athletes due at Hampshire 100 bike race
GREENFIELD — More than 500 elite athletes from across the U.S. and Canada as well as local and regional competitors are expected to participate in the 7th annual Hampshire 100. Participants will be tested by a premier ultra-endurance 100-mile mountain bike race, a100-kilometer mountain bike race and 100-kilometer trail run starting at Oak Park in Greenfield this Saturday and Sunday.
"The Hampshire 100 is perceived by these riders as one of the best courses,"said Michael Redmond, senior vice president and chief operations officer at Crocheted Mountain Foundation.
The foundation's accessible recreation and sports program for the disabled is just one of the beneficiaries of the Hampshire 100 and it has been from the start, he said.
Last year the race raised $7,000 for the program, which costs about $90,000 and funds activities and equipment for the disabled such as specially-made cycles and kayaks.
The program provides skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, cycling and horseback riding and supports the foundation's mission of helping the disabled pursue fulfilling lives as members of their communities, and enjoying the outdoors is certainly part of that, Redmond said.
On Saturday, the event's first-ever 100 kilometer endurance trail run is planned, and is to utilize part of Crotched Mountain's disability accessible trail system, the longest and most extensive mountain trail that is accessible to the disabled, Redmond said. "So everybody can go hiking."
"We're happy to host that part of the race," he said.
More than 50 runners have signed up for the race.
The Cyclocross and Short Track races on Saturday evening are also expected to also attract 50 or more cyclists.
The runs are new this year, but the mountain bike race remains central to the event organized by the event director with the Eastern Fat Tire Association.
"The mountain bike race is a real favorite among our riders because it tests their skills and stamina, making it a true endurance event," said Randi Whitney, Hampshire 100 event director with the Eastern Fat Tire Association, which holds the event each year. "Riders come back year after year for its well-groomed and marked trails, its challenging route, and the sheer fun of the ride that winds through the beautiful and varied terrain of southern New Hampshire. Cyclists — from pros to first timers — ride to their maximum ability and share experiences and cultures from across the country. It's a great event."
Participants this year include Jeremiah Bishop, a 14-time member of the USA Cycling National Team and a gold medalist in the 2003 Pan American Games. He is known as the country's leading endurance mountain bike racer and is the 2012 reigning National Ultra Endurance series champion.
According to organizers, the race course gives participants a good mix of mountain bike terrain with about 7,000 feet of climbing. The first miles are open and fast, allowing lung and leg warm-up, and a stretching out of the field.