Cyclists doing long rides for fun or a big race, love the scenic views they experience on the roads in the White Mountains of Arizona.
One popular event bringing people to the area is Bike the Bluff.
“Our first race started out as a fun bike ride and I think we had about 100 people sign up,” said Bike the Bluff co-founder Christy Church.
Todd Fernau brought the idea of Bike the Bluff to Church and Lisa West back in 2007.
“We started it back then as a fundraiser for [Mountain Christian School] in Show Low where all of our kids were attending,” Church said.
Now in its 9th year, the Show Low Ford Bike the Bluff State Championship Road Race not only continues to raise funds for the school, but it has grown in size with more than 400 professional and amateur cyclists expected to show up for the June 18 race.
“It took the three of us and a lot of help around us to be able to bring it this far,” Church said.
The USA Cycling sanctioned road race event has three course options of 81 miles, 58 miles and 22 miles to choose from as well as a Citizens Race.
“We set up shop in the Empire parking lot and all of the races start at the intersection of 16th Street and E. Thornton,” Church said. “All categories start between 6:45-8 a.m. and cyclists take off in 5 minute intervals.”
The kids even get a chance to join in on the fun. They have a special 1.4-mile and 2.8-mile course for ages 6- to 12-years-old.
“It’s exciting that we can turn this little fundraiser that is so beneficial to the school into something that benefits cycling in the state of Arizona and the community in the White Mountains,” Church said. “[When] cyclists come for the race, they also get a chance to explore and it gives them a reason to come back again.”
Church said a pancake breakfast is available for racers and spectators the morning of the event.