Kim Bauer, executive director of the Portsmouth–Scioto County Visitors Bureau, describes Portsmouth’s winning the event as “a pretty big deal.”
“This will bring a lot of cyclists to the Portsmouth community,” says Wendi Waugh, speaking for Portsmouth Connex, a community group that promotes healthy activities in the community.
Waugh announced last week that on June 23, Portsmouth will play host to three major cycling races, all qualifiers for the state Senior Olympic Games. Bauer estimates the event will attract somewhere upwards of 300 to 400 visitors to Portsmouth. At one point, she notes the city beat out much larger spots such as Columbus for the honor of hosting the event.
Waugh says the event will include 5K, 10K and 20K races, attracting some 80 to 100 participants, according to Bauer. Other visitors will consist of officials, family and friends of the participants and those simply wishing to view the races.
The qualifying races will be held in Portsmouth in addition to the annual Southern Ohio Senior Games, scheduled throughout September, an event which draws as many as 1,000 people to Portsmouth, Bauer says. As they have in the past, those games will feature everything from walking races to bowling to swimming to pickle ball, all for persons age 50 and over.
For the June bike races, participants will not be competing directly against each other, but will be trying for the best time in whatever race they are entered. It’s not like a big race where everybody takes off at the sound of a starting gun, Bauer explains. Winners will go on to the state competition, most likely to be held in Columbus, and could qualify for national races to be held in New Mexico.
Apparently, the visitor’s bureau and Portsmouth Connex joined forces to try and win the right to host the bike races. Bauer says Senior Olympic officials visited the city and obviously liked what they saw. She specifically said they liked the small town, hometown feel of Portsmouth, adding the flatness of downtown Portsmouth is apparently a perfect place to hold bike races.
Bauer promises that each participant in the June races will receive, prior to the race day, a packet of information on where to stay and what to do in Portsmouth. She further notes the September games are open to anyone age 50 or older, and will take place at roughly 11 different venues in Portsmouth and Chillicothe. Go to southernohioseniorgames.org for more information.
Reach Tom Corrigan at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931