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Local bike race not for amateurs, organizers say

September 9, 2018

Expert bicyclists will be flocking to Confluence at the end of the month to take a grueling trek through Somerset County.

Organizers are holding the first The Quick and the Dead Mt. Davis Gravel Grinder, starting in Confluence. It’s a 68-mile race that goes through two boroughs and six townships. The race takes place at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 29, rain or shine.

Creator Dan Manges said the event originally started out as a ride last year.

“I ended up with 14 or 15 of us, some coming from Pittsburgh, to do it,” he said. “I got a lot of positive feedback about it, and I thought you know what, I’m going to go for it and make it into a race.”

Manges has been working with the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies to put the event together. Organizers are planning to donate funds to local fire departments. Manges said he plans to donate funds to Confluence, Addison, Salisbury, Garrett, Meyersdale, Rockwood and New Centerville fire departments. They will be helping with traffic control for the event.

More than 50 people were registered for the event as of Tuesday, with organizers expecting up to another 75 racers before the race starts at the end of the month. Riders from as far as Boston and Washington, D.C., are planning to attend.

Manges said this course is designed for expert bicyclists, with 50 miles of the course located on gravel roads. There’s also 7,500 vertical feet for bicyclists to climb.

“You needed to be training all year for this,” he said.

The Wild West-themed ride is aptly represented by the podium Manges made for the event, a Wild West casket that people will stand on. The motto is: “Are you going to be on it, or are you going to be in it?”

“It’s a lot of climbing and a lot of fast downhills,” Manges said. “You’re either going to be fast or you’re going to be (figuratively) dying on it.”

Organizers are asking residents along the course to make sure their animals don’t interfere with the race. Manges said loose animals can cause major accidents.

“It’s more causing you to wreck than biting you,” he said.

Officials are still accepting applicants online until Sept. 23. For more information, visit mtdavisgravelgrinder.com.

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