Special to the Reporter

More than 350 bicycle racers and volunteers from around the United States, around the world and around the block will convene on Glen Rose this week for The Texas Time Trials bike race running from Thursday to Saturday.

Last year's race series received such a warm reception from Glen Rose that Tejas Sports Productions decided to hold the event here again this year. Even more riders, volunteers and sponsors have signed up for this year's race.

The Texas Time Trials is a series of five races on a scenic and challenging 26.5 mile looped course starting and finishing at Glen Rose City Park (Rodeo Park next to Sonic). With the dramatic finishes of all five races at 6 p.m. Saturday, this is an event to be seen. The location offers great facilities for racers and spectators alike.

"We are excited to again have the Texas Time Trials in Glen Rose," said Billy Huckaby, Glen Rose Convention & Visitors Bureau executive d.irector "The event is great for the local economy and it is inspiring to see these great athletes working so hard to qualify for the Race Across America.”

The race series showcases the Tejas 500, a 500-mile race beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday. This race is also a qualifier for the prestigious Race Across America (RAAM). In 2009, Austrian racer Patrick Hager set an incredible course record of 28 hours and 16 minutes for 500 miles by a solo male rider. Texas Time Trials also had four solo females complete the 500-mile course, as well as a tandem team and many two- and four-person teams.

In addition, racers also will compete in the “Iron Butt” 24-hour Time Trial, which challenges racers to complete as many loops as possible in the 24-hour time period. Similarly, racers also will complete loops of the course in the “Tin Butt” 12-hour Time Trial, the 6-hour Shoot-Out and the increasingly popular 26.5 Mile Sprint with racers completing one loop as fast as possible.

Race officials stress that bicycle racing and riding is a sport for all skill levels and continue to encourage race entries. To date, several Glen Rose residents have entered. Anyone who wants to ride can register on race day.

Texas Times Trials is a "great way to provide the entry-level racer/rider with a competition of their own, while simultaneously providing a challenging course for the most experienced racers from around the country and around the world," Dan Driscoll, race coordinator, said. "Our desire is to really reach the entry-level bicycle riders with a challenging and enjoyable experience that will entice them to ride more.

"Every racer pushes their physical and mental skills for a sense of pride that only comes from the self accomplishment of achieving a lofty goal," he added.

And the trophy is pretty sweet too, since every racer will receive the same trophy as the 500-mile racers for evidence of their accomplishment for years to come.

This is an extremely eclectic race with world-class racers from France, Germany and more than half the states in America represented.

"On the same course, at the same time, we also have many cyclists riding their first race ever," Driscoll noted. "It is incredible to see so many people from so far away travel to Glen Rose to ride their bikes.”

The Texas Time Trials believes in being a good neighbor and as such continues to support charities, including Glen Rose’s United Methodist Church Youth Group and LDL Educational Resources Foundation. The LDL Foundation strives to provide funding for special educational needs for the district, as well as supporting health and environmental issues.

With the help of Glen Rose and its’ local businesses, including Fossil Rim Wildlife Park, Rhino Ridge Outfitters and Chicken Express, which is feeding all volunteers, Texas Time Trials expects to be able to pledge even more to charities this year.

All races conclude by 6 p.m. Saturday and will be followed by the awards ceremony held underneath the park pavilion. Activities include a buffet dinner followed by awards presentations. Family and friends are encouraged to join racers and volunteers as the celebration commences.

Officials stress you don’t have to be a racer to be involved. Volunteers are needed throughout the three days for all types for activities from checking in racers to cheering them on at street corners and turns. No experience required, just a great attitude.

For information on volunteering or racing, please visit www.tt24tt.com