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Bike race a first for High Bridge

Close to 60 youth and adult cyclists breezed along High Bridge Trail State Park on Sunday, setting their best times during the first USA Cycling-officiated time trial Roubaix race at the park.

Time trial racers work more to beat the clock than beating other racers. Winners are the ones who finish the course in the least amount of time.

Roubaix races are competitions that take place on road or terrain.

The cycling event was brought about through a partnership between USA Cycling, High Bridge Trail State Park and the Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Race Director Jordan Whiley, of Farmville, has participated in cycling races for 20 years. Whiley, who is an administrator for Bear Creek Academy and a USA Cycling-licensed coach, said he has always wanted to bring cycling events to the Farmville area.

He’s also a member of the Bike Works Cycling Team, based in Fredericksburg.

Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joy Stump recommended Whiley get in touch with High Bridge Trail State Park, and Whiley, the chamber, High Bridge Trail, USA Cycling and Bike Works arranged to have the race take place on the trail.

“I appreciate all of the work other people have done in preparing for the race,” Whiley said.

Bear Creek Academy Cycling Team, Friends of High Bridge Trail State Park, Centra Southside Community Hospital, Uptown Coffee Cafe, Mainly Clay, Bike Works of Fredericksburg and Virginia Credit Union were among the event’s sponsors.

Approximately 59 youth and adult cyclists alike from across Virginia convened at the trail to sign up for the race. Of the 59 who signed up, 58 took part in the race, according to Farmville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joy Stump and results from USA Cycling.

Youth raced six miles through the High Bridge trail, which started near the Camp Paradise parking lot.

After three miles, the young bicyclists would turn around and race back to the starting point.

Adult cyclists raced 16 miles, traveling eight miles along the trail and turning around to head back to the starting point.

Among 21 total categories for youth and adult cyclers, the best time for junior cyclists between the ages of 6-17 was by Zachary Cummings, who finished the six- mile trail at 23 minutes and 13.70 seconds.

The best time for women cyclists between categories 5-1 and ages 35 and over 55 was Sylvia Gleason in category four who completed the trail in exactly 49 minutes.

Best time for men cyclists between categories 5-1 and ages 35 and over 65 was Dan Netzer, of Norfolk, who completed the trail in 41 and a half minutes.

Daniel Jordan, the trail’s park manager, said the park was excited to bring the cyclists to the trail.

“We’re excited about the addition (of the event),” Jordan said. “We hope this is the first of many to come.”

Cyclists cited challenges related to riding the trail, saying the gravel surface of the trail is different from what cyclists had experienced in past races, which often take place on pavement or terrain.

One participant, Scott Wisseman, completed the race in 42 minutes and 24.40 seconds. Wisseman, a 2016 graduate of Longwood University who currently lives in Oakton, said Whiley was his cycling coach in school, and he, Whiley and others worked to form a cycling race in Farmville.

While efforts for the race did not materialize, Wisseman said he was excited to see the time trial event come to Farmville.

“I’m really glad (Whiley) organized this,” Wisseman said.

This article was corrected from its original version.