NEW: Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition Kicks Off Season

Posted: April 14, 2014

Daily News-Record

Members of the Eastern Mennonite University Cycling Club relax against a tractor on a farm on Grist Mill Road Sunday afternoon following the Harris-Roubaix bike race. (Photo by Caleb Soptelean)

SINGERS GLEN — The Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition kicked off its season Sunday on a summerlike 85-degree day with the 17th annual Harris-Roubaix race.

Although it’s a race, many riders are not necessarily competing, said Kyle Lawrence, 29, a Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition board member.

“It’s not just a race,” he said. “It’s kind of a fun event. Some race and some don’t.”

He called it “a celebration of our beautiful dirt roads on Rockingham County” and noted the race is held at a different location each year.

The race is the coalition’s spring kickoff event and is held at the same time as the Paris-Roubaix race, a 100-mile race in France that Lawrence said is the biggest race of the spring in professional cycling.

The event began at Court Square and went seven miles north to a farm on Grist Mill Road in the Singers Glen area. From there, riders traversed a 15-mile loop for the actual race. Some rode one loop, while others did two or three, Lawrence said.

“It’s the perfect way to welcome spring,” said Jacob Mack-Boll, 22, of Lancaster, Pa., a member of Eastern Mennonite University’s Cycling Club.

Zach Sease, 26, of Ottobine, said he enjoyed taking in the limestone rocks that were visible along the roadway.

Matt Donahue, 37, of Harrisonburg, and his wife, Katie, 37, and their son, Sean, 3, made it a family affair. Matt rode his bicycle from Court Square while Katie drove herself and Sean to the farm, where a community potluck picnic was held.

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