The Great Egyptian Omnium bike race

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The 2nd Annual Great Egyptian Omnium bike race is July 23-24.

And more than a hundred riders from across the United States strapped on their helmets and headed out for a leisurely 20-mile ride across the hills of Southern Illinois on Saturday.

But, this years race added a new level of competition to the race, dealing with the extreme heat in the region.

" A lot of it's just training and staying hydrated," said Eric Finks of Clinton, Missouri.

"We train in the heat during the week after we get off from work. Hydration though is the key to this race."

The race is a 2 day, 3 stage race "with a challenging 20 mile loop road race and 7.5 mile time trial," according to race officials.

"Road race in general is al about position, you don't want to get caught in the back when there's an attack going on in the front. So it's kind of circumstantial awareness," said David Rose of Madisonville, Kentucky.

"In the heat you've got to make sure you stay hydrated, at least a bottle an hour. I've had four bottles of water this morning."

The 2011 GEO started in Creal Springs on Saturday. On Sunday, the cycling takes place on a new, wide open criterium coarse on the campus of John A. Logan College.

Officials say points will be awarded to the top 15 riders in each leg of the race.

The race is presented by the Williamson County Tourism Bureau.

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