Hundreds of Cyclists Race Through Albemarle County

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Hundreds of bicyclists hit the roads in Albemarle County Sunday for one of the biggest races in the mid-Atlantic region.

Cyclists in the annual Jefferson Cup Bike Race pedaled forward despite the freezing wind chill and wintry weather. This event attracts athletes from states around the region, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Carolina.

“I guess it's like putting on a party for 500 of my closest friends who happen to be bike racers,” said organizer Ruth Stornetta. “This is the 24th time I've put on this race. It's the longest continuously running race in the mid-Atlantic region.”

Cyclists of all ages checked in Sunday morning at Walton Middle School in Albemarle County set to brave the cold and windy conditions clouding the course.

“I'm looking forward to surviving - just finishing - just making it alive,” said racer John Dillon.

“It's going to be 30 miles of wet fun,” said Sophie Mittelstadt who competed in the women’s Category 4 race.

Races were separated into different categories and staggered throughout the day. Competitors covered a scenic ten-mile loop, some up to seven times.

“This morning's race was definitely one of the toughest I've ever done because it's super cold and super windy and pretty wet and so because of that you got soaked early, and then it was just survival of the fittest,” said racer Mary Breed.

The top finishers of each race got to pose on the podium. Winners took home a silver Jefferson Cup.

Racers say taking on the challenge with friendly competitors keeps them coming back.

“This race is wonderful because it really attracts the best racers in the area,” Breed said.

Albemarle police helped direct traffic and close roads as racers sped by. Organizers tried holding the event in several different locations before settling on the current course.

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