Raul Alcala challenge comes to the Island

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — You can pedal with one of the great ones in the cycling world this weekend.

Some may pedal only 5 miles on the Island while others will attempt the “ride to remember” with professional cyclist Raul Alcala for 50 to 100 miles around the Valley.

“The Raul Alcala Challenge — Gran Fondo began as a way to promote the awareness of bikes in the streets, and the respect between pedestrians, riders and drivers,” said Alcala.

Riders taking on the 50-mile or 100-mile challenge will experience stunning views of the water from the top of the bridge.

“Raul Alcala is well known all over the world for participating in the Tour De France,” said Fernando Martinez, event organizer.

The 100 miles consists of pedaling past Bayview to Harlingen and coming all the way back to the Island.

This is the third annual Raul Alcala Challenge/Gran Fondo. Both previous races took place in Brownsville.

“The idea is to connect different cities in the Lower Rio Grande Valley through bicycling,” Martinez said.

Close to 1,000 riders are expected to ride the three distances in nice weather conditions.

He said the riders are excited to take on the course. Winds and hot Gulf sun are the unique challenging elements for all event participants.

The Alcala Challenge on the Island showcases the stunning beauty of the Texas beach on the Gulf of Mexico.

“While the route is flat, distance, heat and wind provide ample challenges for the riders,” Martinez said.

If You Go

WHAT: Raul Alcala Challenge

WHEN: Sunday at 7 a.m.

WHERE: Schlitterbahn Park, SPI

COST: is $60

To sign up, register at the event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Schlitterbahn