Hundreds expected at Monroe race

Several hundred bicycle riders, most from the Puget Sound area, will gather at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe on Sunday for a full day of cyclocross racing.

Tyler Farrar, a top international rider from Wenatchee who won the third stage of the 2011 Tour de France, is expected to attend.

Cyclocross is a cross country race on a bicycle, complete with occasional obstacles that require competitors to dismount, carry their bicycle past the obstacle, and begin riding again.

“It’s chaos on a bicycle,” said Don Heirman of Snohomish, who is entered in Sunday’s race. It is, he added, “torture, an all-out event.”

The Monroe race will bring together “mountain bikers, road racers and track racers” on a course that includes asphalt, sand, dirt and grass, Heirman said. Mud is just part of the fun, and given the area’s recent rainy weather, “this one should be the muddiest one of all,” he said.

Riders will compete in several age groups and ability levels. Racing begins at 9:30 a.m. and continues until around 4 p.m. The elite men, including Farrar — if he makes an appearance — will begin at 12:15 p.m.

The track is on the backside of the fairgrounds, behind the horse barns. The public is welcome to attend and there is no admission charge.

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