Gravel road race attracts bikers
It's a race that celebrates the messiest time of year in Vermont.
"Everybody's marketing Winter and Summer in Vermont, so let's go against the grain and market what we feel is the best season and that's mud season," co-organizer Heidi Myers said.
1,300 riders from around North America are in Burke Saturday for the 5th annual Rasputitsa Spring Classic.
The race was started by two Vermonters, Heidi Myers and Anthony Moccia. Rasputitsa is Russian for mud season.
The gravel road race covers 40 miles of the Kingdom. It's been mentioned in Sport Illustrated. This year, six professional riders will be among the competitors. That includes Middlebury College grad, Ted King.
Friday afternoon, the riders held a question and answer session with the pros at the Village Sports Shop, Trailside location, in Lyndonville.
Everyone was gearing up for what should be some cold conditions.
"No one goes out with 100% confidence in what the terrain is like, what their bike's going to perform, so you got to expect the worst and hope for the best. It's absolutely a little of everything," racing cyclist Ted King said.
"We've had Rasputitsas where it's 70 degrees. We've had snow. We've had mud, so part of it is mental. What are you going to wear? What are you going to ride?" Myers said. "Tire size, tire choice, so that's part of the beauty of the race, the unknown."
The race started at 9 a.m. on Saturday. The proceeds benefit the Little Bellas. It's the mountain biking organization for young girls, created by Olympian Lea Davison and her sister Sabra.