LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Terri Cawley strapped on her helmet, gathered her family, and brought her bike to ride across East Texas in the 20th Annual Pineywoods Purgatory.
Cawley is a triathelete, but this is her first bike ride across the Pineywoods.
"I'm just excited, just you know, looking for a good time. For me, it's about seeing how fast I can finish. For most people, it's not, but it's part of the training for triathlon," said Cawley.
Cawley and her friend, Ginny Love, are taking it easy. They picked to ride for 25 miles, the shortest of four routes. Love says she enjoys the comradery.
"Just getting out, getting some exercise, getting to enjoy the landscape," said Love.
The Lions Club hosts this event annually, one of their largest fundraisers, with more than 600 riders registered for the trip.
"I think it's exciting, I mean, the fact that we've got a cool snap to start this thing off. I just pray that everybody is safe and finishes the race," said Lufkin Lions Club president, Roger Sanders.
Mayor Jack Gordon fired the gunshot to send cyclists on their way.
"Doing the starter gun, I guess, is the most exciting," said Gordon. "But, right in there with that is looking out over that sea of faces, colorful uniforms on their bicycles, hundreds of people fixing to take off and peddle out through East Texas."
All proceeds from the event benefit the Stumblefield Learning Center. They help those who didn't graduate high school obtain a GED.
"It's just become an event that the community's proud of," said Gordon. "Not only does it raise funds for a very worthwhile cause, but it just, you know, kind of puts us on the map."
The longest route travels 102 miles, through Altoy and back.