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Riders to race on prison grounds

New Cyclebration venue garners interest
By: Nick Pecoraro, Telegraph Correspondent
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The third annual Cyclebration event returns to Folsom this weekend with a few new and exciting twists from the previous two years. The festival begins on Friday and wraps up on Sunday with the first ever “Race from Folsom Prison.” Registered racers will be able to grasp an opportunity to be part of the inaugural set of cyclists to bike along the historic grounds. This marks the first time in the 130-year history of Folsom State Prison that an event like this will take place on its property. “The prison mountain bike course idea came about out of frustration,” explained Folsom City Park and Recreation Director Robert Goss. Goss said in the first two years of Cyclebration, originally held along bike trails in Granite Bay and Folsom, there was but a meager increase of participants in the mountain bike events as most avid cyclists had blazed the Granite Bay trails dozens of times. The Folsom Park and Recreation team wanted to give riders a different venue that no one had ever ridden before. “We had a few other ideas, but we wanted to have the festival at City Park and having as many events as possible begin/end from there would be advantageous. With the large expanse of open space right next door to City Park, we asked prison officials if this idea was possible,” Goss said. “What’s the worst they could say — No? Amazingly, they said yes.” Goss said a lot of racers have already committed to the event. “This race is very unique and this year’s registration numbers reflect that,” he said. Unlike all other events taking place at Cyclebration, the race through Represa will not be available for public viewing. It is a prison, after all, organizers said. Only registered participants will be allowed to trek across the specially designed trail. Prison security standards will restrict riders to the outside southern grounds of the property. “Folsom State Prison has been a member of the community for 130 years and it is important that it supports the community to the extent possible in such events,” said Lt. Anthony Gentile, prison spokesman. “We are pleased to be able to partner with the City of Folsom Parks and Recreation Department and other stakeholders to carry out this event.” For Bicycles Plus, Cyclebration helps bring people through their doors. Andy Gomez, sales consultant at Bicycles Plus, said many people see how fit the racers are and decide they’d like to start exercising as well. “As a benefit to the city, it adds a nice level of general excitement and curiosity,” he said. “Most folks have ridden a bicycle but have never been to a bike race. … Business does pick up.”