MASON COUNTY — Rivers to Ridges Heritage Trail (Rivers to Ridges) is sponsoring a series of four bike race/rides beginning in May. The 126-mile scenic byway stretches from Nitro to Point Pleasant along the lower Kanawha River Valley with an additional “loop” along the Ohio River Bend area of Mason County. While founded on a platform of culture and history, Rivers to Ridges also is involved heavily in the development of recreation, in the lower Kanawha River Valley, which includes biking, hiking and water sports.
The “kickoff” event for this year is a mountain bike race at Ridenour Lake in Nitro. The 5K race is scheduled for Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. and will be a timed race. It will be preceded by a “strider race” designed for the enjoyment of youngsters up to five years old.
Lowell Wilks, Project Coordinator for Rivers to Ridges, said “Sometimes it seems the strider race is the highlight of the day. To see the determined effort put in by these young ones and then the smiles on their faces when they finish the short course, makes it worth being there.”
Following the “kickoff” in Nitro, a second event will be held on June 11. Beginning 10 a.m. in Point Pleasant, road bikers can take on up to a 100K tour along the Kanawha River Valley on WV Route 817, formerly US Route 35, to Winfield and back to Point Pleasant. There will also be markers at the halfway point for those wishing to do a 50K loop.
“We are really hoping this will turn into an annual event,” Wilks said. “We are referring to it as Bridge to Bridge and the ‘flattest 100K in West Virginia.”
Moving on toward the end of summer, there will be two more events. The first is 10 a.m., Saturday, August 6, and it be at Gritt’s Farm near Buffalo. The 5K race is on grass and gravel and takes riders on the farm lanes and fields of the family-friendly farm. While the racers take on the course, families can remain at the starting area and enjoy Gritt’s unique playground, pet animals and enjoy some food from the concession stand. The off-road race will be timed and preceded by a strider race.
On Saturday, September 10 at 10 a.m. off-road bikers can enter the world of the paranormal as the they ride a nine-mile trail beginning and ending at the West Virginia State Farm Museum and travel on grass and gravel through the McClintic Wildlife Management Area, located six miles north of Point Pleasant. The “Mothman Search Team” ride will precede the 2022 Mothman Festival, which is scheduled for September 17-18.
Online registration for the entire series is open and available at www.runsignup.com. To find the race go to their site and type in Rivers to Ridges Race and Ride Series. All four events will be available for registration. While, for planning purposes, Rivers to Ridges prefers early sign up, but same registration will also be offered. The cost per race and/or ride is $25 for adults and teens over 15 years old and $15 for children 15 years old and younger.
While additional sponsors are still being sought, initial sponsors are Rivers to Ridges Heritage Trail, the Putnam County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), the Mason County CVB, the Nitro CVB and Appalachian Timing Group.
For more information follow the events at Rivers to Rivers Heritage Trail on Facebook. Rivers to Ridges website is presently being redone, but will be available soon and have information. Lowell Wilks can also be reached at (304) 542-1410 or [email protected]
Information provided by Lowell Wilks.