Two summer traditions will collide Saturday in Tuscaloosa: sweltering heat and the Hot Hundred bicycle race.
This will be the 16th year the event has been held, with money raised through registration of hundreds of bicyclists and sponsorships benefiting the Tuscaloosa Mental Health Alliance. The alliance is a network of more than 50 Tuscaloosa-area agencies that provide services for people who face mental health challenges.
Hot Hundred participants can choose how many miles they want to race: 30, 40, 50, 70 or 100. The contest will begin at the University of Alabama Outdoor Pool Complex, 400 Peter Bryce Blvd.
While the race presents a challenge to the bicyclists, a couple of concessions have been made to make things a little easier. The race will start at 7 a.m., when the temperature is likely to be in the more comfortable 70s, instead of midday when the temperature is predicted to be in the mid-90s.
Also, organizers have made one change to the 100-mile route this year: Instead of racing through the rough roads of Greene County, the longest route will head north at mile 32.5 for a more smoother path toward Buhl and Coker.
Organizers are also working with the Tuscaloosa Police Department and the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office to ensure the safety of bicyclists. The event's website, www.bikehothundred.com, has information about safety and how bicyclists can stay hydrated.
Online registration will be available through Thursday for $60 at www.bikehothundred.com. Bicyclists can register on-site on race day for $70. Black Warrior Brewing Co., 2216 University Blvd., will host a Hot Hundred pre-registration and package pickup event from 5-8 p.m. Friday.
Money raised by the Hot Hundred will be used for the Tuscaloosa Mental Health Alliance's grant program. Some of the services the grant progam helps provide include prescription medication and transportation for clients in need, education packets for North Harbor Pavilion patients and a navigational guide for community mental health services.