Imagine the Tour Du Pont. A 1,000-mile international bike race that travels through four states in 11 days.
Now picture it on a much smaller scale and what you have is the first annual Howard County Stage Race sponsored by Club Mud, an Ellicott City-based organization for both road and off-road cyclists.
The three-day, three-event road race will begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the B&O; Railroad Museum and will continue throughout Howard County.
"We thought it would be neat to have a local race in the area like the Tour Du Pont," said Club Mud member Kenyon Lewis. "It has taken us a year to get it all together.
"We've attracted a lot of local riders, but we've also got a lot of out-of-state riders joining us," Mr. Lewis said. "It's going very smoothly so far."
The race offers different categories to suit beginning riders as well as experts. The total number of miles differs in each category, Mr. Lewis said. Experts will cover about 120 miles, and beginners will cover about 60 miles over the three-day period.
Friday's race will be a point-to-point timed event through historic Ellicott City, and Saturday's is a circuit race on a closed loop course in the Columbia Gateway business park. The race will conclude Sunday in the Triadelphia Road area, he said.
Over 225 cyclists have registered so far, but there is still room for 75 more, Mr. Lewis said. People who are interested in joining the race should sign up at 8 a.m. Friday at the B&O; Railroad Museum in Ellicott City or call Ramon Benitez at (410) 750-7968. Registration costs $40.
Overall winners of the three events will split $5,000 in prize money to be awarded Sunday.