Bicyclists from across the country will participate in this weekend's annual Octoginta 1996.
Rolling hills. Fall foliage. And near-perfect weather.
"It looks like this weekend is going to be gorgeous, so I expect a lot of folks out on their bicycles," said Jim Turner, coordinator of this weekend's Octoginta 1996 bicycle tour.
Turner, president of the Lawrence Bicycle Club, is expecting a turnout of 700 to 800 riders from across the country at the club's two-day event.
The 27th annual event features riding and other events on Saturday, with the main touring event, traditionally roughly 80 miles, on Sunday.
Riders will have their choice of three courses: 54 miles, 75 miles and 95 miles. The courses start at Lawrence's South Park and go north into Jefferson County and back.
Saturday's events begin with registration for the Sunday courses between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Centennial School.
One of Saturday's events will be a 10-kilometer time trial sanctioned by the U.S. Cycling Federation starting at 9 a.m. one mile west of the Zarco station on U.S. Highway 59 south of Lawrence. Registration begins at 8 a.m. for that event and closes 15 minutes before each category race.
Quantrill's Mountain Bike Ride, a challenging ride, features a six-mile single track option on the Lawrence River Trail. The ride leaves at 9 a.m. from Centennial School and lunch will be served at the halfway point. An $8 "sag" service fee will be charged.
Tour De County, which has no fee, begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Centennial School. It takes riders through pastoral Douglas County, then returns them to Lawrence for lunch, which riders will buy themselves, at the Free State Brewing Co., 636 Mass.
Several non-riding events will be held Saturday afternoon and evening at the school.
They are a racing clinic at 1:30 p.m., a swap meet at 4 p.m., an antique bicycle demonstration at 4 p.m., an antique bicycle lecture at 6:30 p.m., coffee and cookies at 7 p.m. and a Biking Across Kansas slide show at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday's event, which costs $20 for the ride and $12 for the T-shirt, begins with late registration and check-in at 7 a.m. at the school.
The police-escorted mass start begins at 8:30 a.m. on Massachusetts Street across from South Park.
"We have more people pre-registered than we have had in the last five or six years," Turner said.
The Lawrence Bicycle Club will serve its traditional soup and sandwich lunch no earlier than 10 a.m. near the halfway point at Slough Creek.
Cycle Works, 1601 W. 23rd, will perform emergency repairs at the lunch stop.
Food and refreshments will be provided by the Lawrence Bicycle Club and Sunflower Bike Shop, 804 Mass., and Terraplane Bicycles, 916 Mass.