Velvet Ditch Grand Fondo next Saturday

Published 10:48 am Saturday, May 13, 2023

The annual Velvet Ditch Grand Fondo and Ride of Silence is a week away, and event officials are urging local residents to register for one of the routes and take part in the cycling event. More than 100 bikers have pre-registered and organizers believe this will be one of the largest fields for the fundraiser.

Visit Oxford and the Yoknapatawpha Arts Councils back the event that is designed to include all levels of cyclist. There will be three routes – rides of 20, 45 and 70 miles. The morning will begin with a short Ride of Silence to honor the Oxford cyclists who have died riding bikes.

Proceeds of this ride will support the North Mississippi Gnarmadillos Composite MTB Team. This team is made up of middle and high school mountain bikers from the Oxford and North Mississippi area. A check will also be donated toward the on-going maintenance of the Tanglefoot Trail during the Tour de Bodock Bicycle Rides.

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Online registration is available at Online registration closes May 19 at 5 p.m. In-person registration will be available Saturday, May 20, from 5:30-6:30 a.m. at the Old Armory Pavilion. Registration includes an event T-shirt, a pair of socks, and some goodies from sponsors.

The races begin at Oxford Middle School on Bramlett Blvd. at 7 a.m.

The 20-mile route is 22.4 miles and extends out to Smith’s Chapel, just outside the Holly Springs National Forest. This route involves approximately 1,150 feet of elevation gain.

The 45-mile route measures around 46.75 miles and 2,300 feet of elevation gain. This route will continue beyond Smith’s Chapel, traverse up to Abbeville, over to Hurricane Landing, and then taking College Hill Road back into town.

The 75-mile route covers 3,425 feet of elevation adding turn-around extensions to Coon Town Landing and Clear Creek Landing.

Race packets may be picked up at the Old Army Pavilion on Friday, May 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. and Saturday before 6:30 a.m.