Grand Canyon Railway photo by Cory Bergquist.
Race pits cyclists against Grand Canyon Railway
It’s an epic race that last took place 25 years ago, and now it has returned to take on a new group of challengers. Man (or woman) vs. Machine. Steam vs. Muscle. On Saturday, September 26, 2015 the Grand Canyon Railway, in partnership with Grand Canyon Racing, will fire up its venerable steam engine #4960 – a 310-ton behemoth built in 1923 – to take on hundreds of intrepid bicyclists on a 54-mile course that will climb 2,023 feet starting at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to iconic Williams, Ariz.
Last held in October 1991, the race has become the stuff of legend.
The race will begin on Highway 64 in Tusayan, Ariz., departing the Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon at 1 p.m. PDT. From there the course will travel 50 miles south on Highway 64, before merging onto historic Route 66 for the last four miles. The finish line will be at the intersection of Second Street and Route 66 in Williams.
Hosted by Grand Canyon Racing, and sponsored by the Grand Canyon Railway, the event is fully permitted by the Arizona Department of Transportation, and traffic control and law enforcement will be on site for the entirety of the event.
Adding to the excitement and festivities, spectators will be given the opportunity to purchase tickets to ride the train the day of the race and as it competes against its two-legged and wheeled competition. Round-trip tickets are available for the train, which will depart the Williams Depot on September 26 at 8:00 a.m. PDT, arriving at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon at about 11:30 a.m. The train will depart the Grand Canyon at 12:30 p.m., and the race will officially begin at 1 p.m. The train will be composed of Pullman Coach Class cars, a café car, and a Luxury Parlor car. A photo run-by will be featured on the North Bound trip for rail enthusiasts. Rates will be $75 for adults and $45 for children 16 and under.
Registration is now open for the race, and participants may register for the race at www.GrandCanyonRacing.com. Race fees are $60 until July 14, and $80 from July 15 through September 24. Registration will close on September 24 at 10 a.m. PDT. Race registration will include a link for discounted lodging at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel.