The peak of Pennsylvania's highest mountain will be the midpoint for a cycling run in the Confluence area Saturday.
The first Mount Davis Challenge Road Race will feature cyclists from Pennsylvania and various surrounding states — including West Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland — competing in a 42-mile race that will ascend the mountain for $1,300 in cash prizes.
"It's a unique event," Jim Sota, race director, said. "Not a lot of races go to the top of a state and it's very scenic and there's not a lot of traffic on the way up."
The race will start promptly at 11 a.m. and will take around 2 1/2 hours to complete. It will follow a "lollipop trail" that will start in Confluence and stretch through the hilly back roads of Mount Davis before reaching an elevation of 3,213 feet at the top of the mountain. Riders will descend on the eastern side of the mountain and climb back up on Savage Road before returning to Confluence.
The ride includes eight categories for men, women and children of different ages and experience levels.
Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners in certain categories. All other participants will receive prizes donated from bike shop sponsors. The first man and woman to the top of Mount Davis will be awarded an additional $50 and will be crowned king and queen of the mountain.
Between 50 and 100 cyclists are expected to participate in Saturday's race. Despite the rough climbs and descents along the way, the largest category of registrants has been in the men's masters division, in which racers are at least 50 years old.
"Well, this will be the first time we've had the race," Sota said. "And hopefully it's the first of many."
The idea for the race came about a year ago as Sota had a conversation with a friend and fellow cyclist about organizing a race that they thought people in the community would enjoy. Sota then met with the Confluence Tourism Association, of which he is a member, and they agreed to host the event. Planning for the race started in January and since then it has attracted about 15 sponsors.
"Our main goal this year is to organize a well-ran race and make sure everybody has a good time," Sota said. "Everything has been going well so we're just going to build on that."