2010-10-07 / Front Page

Jamestown Classic bicycle racers ride the island on Columbus Day

More than 400 riders will converge on Conanicut Island this weekend for the 35th annual Jamestown Rotary Club Jamestown Classic bike race, which will be held this Monday, Oct. 11.

The recreation center will open at 7 a.m. for number pick-up and waiver signing; registration will close one hour prior to the start of each category. One-day licenses will be available for $10 in the registration area.

“This is one of our biggest fundraisers,” said Mike Schnack, who coordinates the race with Dave Reardon. “It raises about 80% of the funds we distribute to local organizations.”

Last year, Schnack said, the Rotary Club used some of the funds raised to create a vocational scholarship for Jamestown students.

As for the race itself, Schnack said there’s been tremendous interest in the category five race – what he refers to as the “weekend warriors.”

“Those are the novice riders,” he said. “We’ve had so much interest in our 35-plus and 45-plus categories that we were able to add a second race after reaching 50 riders.”

That, Schnack said, may be a reflection of the fact that novice riders 35 years and older are the fastest-growing group among bike riders.

The racecourse circles the island, starting on Conanicus Avenue at the recreation center.

Riders will travel north on Conanicus to East Shore Road, where they will turn south at Summit. From Summit Avenue, they will travel the length of North Main Road through the intersec- tion at Narragansett Avenue onto Southwest Avenue. They will then follow Beavertail Road out to the lighthouse and back. The race then turns right onto Hamilton Avenue, traveling to the end, where the race turns left on Walcott and Conanicus, and finishes at the recreation center for a total of 19.1 miles.

The race is done in two sessions – one starting at 8 a.m. and the other starting at 11 a.m. The morning races consist of two laps; afternoon races are one lap and last a little more than an hour.

Schnack said the organizers are looking for volunteer road marshals to ensure the safety of the riders and residents during the race. Road marshals will be stationed at most intersections along the route.

“We’re still looking for volunteers,” he said. “If you volunteer, you get a t-shirt, a cowbell and great thanks from me.”

Race parking is not allowed on Narragansett Avenue east of the fire station and racers who park there can expect to get a ticket. Parking for racers will be limited to the parking lots at St. Matthew’s Church and St. Mark’s Church, as well as Narragansett Avenue west of the fire station, the Town Hall parking lot and overflow lots at the Melrose and Lawn Avenue schools.

If you have to do business downtown, Schnack said, you should still be able to find a parking space on Narragansett Avenue.

When asked what islanders should know about the race, Schnack asked for patience.

“If you see bike riders on the race course, please yield to them,” he said, adding that it won’t take long for riders to come through.

Official race details and revised race start times can be found at www.jamestownclassic.org.

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