Mark Bassett
Nevada Northern Railway race crews are ready for this weekend’s Race the Rails.

The Ely Times

The smell of smoke, the whistling of pedals spinning and dust flying, equates to the return of Race the Rails.

Bikers will load up their bikes onto the train for a very unique start to the race. Once off the train and in racing position, at the sound of the train whistle, mountain bikers and road bikers race onto their individual courses to see who can get back to the depot before the train.

While the train is powering down the rails, bikers will test their speed and agility on a challenging 10 mile course through the beautiful mountains surrounding Ely, while road bikers prove their speed and endurance on a 25-mile course along roads and highways in the area.

This is not a race against time or your fellow riders, it’s a race against one of histories most powerful inventions.

Last years event drew more than 50 entries that varied from road bikers to mountain bikers. This year it is expected to draw 75-80 participants.

Friday, Sept. 8, participants can pick up their registration packets from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Bristlecone Convetion Center at 150 Sixth St.. Saturday is race day, and registration will still be available between 7:30-8:30 a.m. at the Nevada Northern Railway at 1100 Avenue A.

Do you want to ride the train and take in all the action? You can purchase tickets at the railroad in the guest shop.

A barbecue will also be taking place, and tickets for that are still available as well.

Mark Bassett, executive director of the Nevada Northern Railway, said, “The race crews for the Nevada Northern Railways are ready for this weekend’s race the rails. Crews are testing both locomotives, to see which one will give the bicyclists a run for their money.”

The steam locomotive and the bicycle were both invented about 10 years apart. Both methods of transportation changed the way people traveled. Which one will prevail on Sept. 9 at the Race The Rails? You will have to be check it out at the Nevada Northern Railroad to find out.

“The railroad is ready for all contingencies, the steam wrecking crane is ready, in case of a derailment, and if we should get snow, the rotary snow plow is ready too,” Bassett said.