• Posted Mar 22, 2009
Sioux City, IA By Bret Hayworth [Updates - results here] CLIMBING HILL, Iowa -- Bicycle racers will speed past farmhouses in rural Woodbury County this morning and early afternoon, while experiencing searing leg muscles as they pump up some forbidding hills. In a return of sanctioned bicycle racing to the Sioux City for the first time in more than 15 years, the Twin Bing Road Race will begin at 10 a.m. at Climbing Hill. The Twin Bing Classic had about a four-year run in the summers of the late 1980s/early 1990s, when dozens of racers moved over loop courses near Morningside College, Leif Erickson Pool and out on County Road K22 north of Sioux City. Longtime alternative sport enthusiast Bill Mize was training out on the challenging hills near Climbing Hill last year, when he spoke with bicyclist Jon 'Woody' Nelson on his desire to get a race started up again. He knew western Iowa hasn't done well in maintaining bike races, but was hopeful the race could take hold after "this big lapse" from the prior Twin Bing. Palmer Candy Company, the maker of Twin Bings, quickly came on board again and the race took shape. Mize filed for permits, enlisted helpful traffic control through the county sheriff's office and hoped for a good weather weekend. "We kind of rolled the dice on the weather. It looks like it is going to come off good for us -- it could have just as easily been snowing," Mize said. He noted this is the first bicycle race in Iowa in 2009, and riders will get a hefty challenge to their early-season fitness. The mostly rectangular loop will go by Bronson, where on County Road D38 those who did the 2006 RAGBRAI ride will experience deja vu. The area hills also will be good vantage points for observers. "This is exposed almost on all sides, you are at the full mercy of the wind. It is always, relentlessly, almost all up or down. Even the Moville Blacktop isn't even perfectly flat. There is no place to hide on that course," Mize said with a chuckle. "You're either in shape or you're wishing you were." The biking competitions are divided into two races based on ability, with the road highest categories (Category 1-2-3) making three laps of the 22.2-mile rectangle course for 67 miles, while those in Categories 4 and 5 will do two laps. Assuming they'll approach 20 mph for the race, the bicycle racers will be churning their bikes for three-plus hours. Category-2 racer Mize said he hopes to draw racers from Des Moines and Omaha. He's gotten inquiries from people in Colorado, Minneapolis and the Black Hills, but won't know the participation totals until registration this morning. "I think weather will dictate how many people we get," he said. "We'll be happy with just putting on a good race. I wouldn't put the success or failure of it based on attendance -- it's whether or not it is well-viewed by the people who are there. That's how you grow a race, is by word of mouth. If people have a positive experience the first year, then chances are you'll get a better field the second year... The race could grow to something big." IF YOU GO: What: Twin Bing Road Race When: 10 a.m. today Who: Bicycle racers of varying abilities Where: Start and finish in Climbing Hill, with the race going by Bronson and five miles south of Moville.

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