- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—A new event in the Mossyrock Blueberry Festival will give festivalgoers an opportunity to burn off all that pie.

Now, for the first time, people will have the opportunity to ride their bicycles across Mossyrock Dam as part of three scenic cycling routes around Mossyrock.

“I think we have perfect roads for it in the Mossyrock area. They’re very rural with very little traffic. The roads are in good shape. I think that makes for a nice ride,” said Peggy Schwartz, a Mossyrock resident and avid cyclist who spearheaded the bike event.

On Sunday morning, participants will have the opportunity to ride on a 10-, 30- or 70-mile route past Riffe Lake, Mayfield Lake and Swofford Pond. Cyclists will also be checked on by support vehicles and have the chance to take a break at rest stops along the way.

Schwartz said some people were curious as to why there wasn’t a 100-mile ride as part of the offering. Her reasoning is the hilly nature of the Mossyrock area more than compensates for the lack of mileage.

“There’s quite a bit of elevation gain on the 70, over 4,000 feet. I feel that compensated for the short distance. You can’t cycle at Mossyrock without the hills,” she said.

Cyclists will start in the parking lot at Mossyrock Dam just off of U.S. Highway 12.

She said the roads will offer nice rides because they’re so rural and have minimal traffic. Even her friends from the neighboring big cities can’t believe how nice the routes are, she added. Schwartz said around 50 people signed up in advance to be in the race, but she anticipates more will come on the day of. She attributes the low early turnout to it being the first year of the ride, and competition from other regional riding events that have been announced much earlier.

“Cyclists like to schedule ahead,” she said.

The ride is free for children under 18. Preteens tend to be signing up for the 10-mile ride and teens are mostly participating in the 30-mile route. The more competitive or experienced riders are doing the 70-mile route.

One of the Blueberry Festival’s coordinators, Philip McDaniel, said the bike rides were added to the stable of events as a way to attract more attention to the festival from people in other communities. Currently the festival attracts around 6,000 people, but he hopes that events like the bike ride raise the events profile and attract more people to Mossyrock.

“The festival can’t just be supported by the locals, we have to bring in the outsiders,” he said. “We’ve got big plans, we just gotta get it all worked out.”

Also starting at the dam, but on Saturday morning, there will be a 5K and also an 8K trail race. The cross country style race includes elevation changes, street and trail running.

The bike ride and races are just three of a number events happening during the Blueberry Festival, which runs from July 31-Aug. 2. The three-day event will also feature live music, a family dog show, a pie-eating contest, a car show and crafts. For more information on the ride, to view a schedule of events or find out any other information visit www.mossyrockfestivals.org.

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(c)2015 The Chronicle (Centralia, Wash.)

Visit The Chronicle (Centralia, Wash.) at www.chronline.com

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