The gears are in motion for this Saturday’s second annual Greenwood Gravel Grind, and those involved are ready for a great ride.

The event, which is hosted by the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce, “pairs the gravel roads of the neighboring Carroll County hills with the flat alluvial plains of the Delta,” according to the Gravel Grind’s website.

Originally scheduled for April, the ride was delayed until September because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have had a fortunate break in the weather,” said Richard Beattie, co-founder and event adviser. “We are expecting drier and cooler weather.”

Beth Stevens, the chamber’s executive director, laughed when talking about the forecast, saying the “rain is gone, and that’s good.”

Beattie said that in preparation for the big ride, he would be taking his bike out on the course to make sure conditions are good for those participating.

“I’ll be taking pictures for the riders to see the course and making sure everything is set,” he said.

Stevens said even if there is a little leftover water on the trek, that helps make the off-road event unique.

“There may be a little mud, but I think that is kind of part of the fun,” she said.

Stevens said about 120 people were signed up — up from about 100 riders last year —  and “around 90% of them are out-of-towners.”

“This kind of event really brings out a crowd from out of Greenwood,” she said. “It is a similar crowd to what we get for Bikes, Blues & Bayous.”

Jim Smith, an avid rider who moved to Greenwood from Columbus, Ohio, has opted to volunteer at the event rather than participate. He said he hopes it grows to be just as big and popular as the community’s other bike ride.

“The last couple of years have been popular for gravel riding, and I hope that trend continues,” he said.

Smith said he wants to make the event as great as possible: “I have always been a big advocate for biking events, and I think this will be another good one.”

Each participant will receive a custom long-sleeve pullover with an embroidered G3 logo, a 16-ounce custom tumbler with a G3 logo and an invitation to the post-ride party at the Downtown Greenwood Farmers Market, which is held at the Rail Spike Park Pavilion.

Riders can choose from two routes, a 50K or a 100K, that will take them through the gravel roads of Leflore and Carroll counties.

The riders will start at 8 a.m. at the pavilion and wind up there, beginning around 10:30 a.m.

Those looking to register for the event or wanting more information can visit greenwoodgravelgrind.com. Updates on route conditions can be found at facebook.com/GreenwoodGravelGrind.

Contact Adam Bakst at 581-7233 or abakst@gwcommonwealth.com. Twitter: @AdamBakst_GWCW

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