The Kinzua Classic Bike Race has drawn competitors to its challenging course in the Allegheny National Forest since the 1990s.
Until this year.
Major road construction on Route 321 has forced Family Services of Warren County, the race's organizer, to cancel this year's event, which had been scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 10.
"There is major road construction happening along the Route 321 leg of the race and the safety of our participants and our volunteers must come first," said Ian Eastman of Family Services, adding that some sections of the road are at subgrade with loose gravel. "I'm very grateful to staff at PennDOT and the Allegheny National Forest who have kept us updated about the conditions."
Eastman said several options were considered by the bike race organizers.
One was to delay the event, but it will be some time until the road construction will be complete.
The other was to consider an alternate route, but geography of the region Route 59 to Route 321 to Longhouse Drive precludes that.
Eastman said that only left the option of cancelling this year's race.
"The Kinzua Classic has been around since the 1990s so we have been very fortunate that this has never happened before along our 28.7-mile course," said Eastman. "There are bound to be some disappointed cyclists, but we hope they understand that we chose the best option for their health and safety."
He added that Family Services is processing refunds for pre-registered riders.
Eastman said Family Services, which uses proceeds from the Kinzua Classic for its counseling and substance abuse programs, will be announcing another event of "an outdoor nature" soon as a one-year replacement for the bike race.
"So far, all of the (bike race) sponsors I have talked to about it have chosen to support our charitable work through that this year," Eastman said.