Michigan’s 2017 cycling season kicks off in Hastings on Saturday, March 25 with the Founders Barry Roubaix Killer Gravel Road Race, the largest gravel road race in the world.
Hastings will host up to 3,500 bike racers, and their friends and families, for the fifth Barry Roubaix Killer Gravel Road Race held in the city. The riders this year will be met by several “ambassadors” from the Hastings Police Department to provide information on parking, places to shop and dine as well as general questions from visitors.
The race waves start at 10 a.m. and go off every three minutes from the starting line on Green Street in front of the United Methodist Church and finish on Church Street. All routes are well marked by signs.
It will be bicycles every where you look, with group after group pushing off from the starting line, one every three minutes, with the longest route riders leading the way. The public is encouraged to take part in the excitement with bells, whistles or other noise makers along the curb to cheer on the racers at the start and return to Hastings. An after party and awards ceremonies, with free admission and open to the public, will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Church and Center streets. //
The races are staged by the mile on courses to challenge all level of competitors: the 22-mile “Chiller,” 36-mile “Thriller” or the 62-mile “Killer.” The race tests riders against a route of 80 percent rolling gravel roads, pavement, one mile of rough two track, rocks, sand, mud, and possibly snow and ice, as they travel the scenic roads of Barry County. Registration ends March 23.//
Statistics from the 2016 Roubaix:
* Over 3,200 Racers from 32 states, Canada and the United Kingdom
* 1,900 spectators
* More than $32,000 in awards cash and prizes
* Over $30,000 paid to organizations and individuals for race day volunteering
* Over $1,500 donated to Michigan League of Cyclists
* Combined racers biked over 100,000 miles on race day or four times around the earth
* 38 kegs of Founders enjoyed at the after-party
* Youngest racer, 11 and oldest, 77
* $5.4 million dollars worth of bikes at the event
* Economic impact of the Roubaix to the area in 2016: $565.250.
* Thirty area organizations provided 300 volunteers for the event.
Photo: One of the waves of cyclists turn onto Cook Road in last year's Roubaix.