Fans of Sunday morning brunch in downtown Laramie will want to be on the lookout this weekend. There will be a few hundred racers zooming around on bikes as part of the second stage of the 2012 Dead Dog Classic Memorial Stage Race.

Registration closed on Wednesday night for the 2-day, 3-stage amateur/professional road race and Mike Harokopis reports that 315 racers are registered. That’s up from 236 last year. It is a USA Cycling sanctioned race and attracts many because of the climbing involved and the high elevation racing.

The first stage is a Road Race that goes over the Snowy Range on Saturday from Albany to Ryan Park and back. The second stage is the Criterium in downtown Laramie on Sunday morning, then on Sunday afternoon the Time Trial goes ten miles on an Interstate 80 side road near the summit between Laramie and Cheyenne.

Harokopis was on Sportsline Live at the beginning of the week to talk more in depth about the race. You can listen to the full interview below.

Every stage of the race is fun to watch, but the downtown Criterium is always a favorite. It will start at 7 a.m. on Sunday, June 24 and go into the early afternoon. If you want to do more than just watch you can also volunteer to help out at the event.

For those curious about how the Dead Dog got its name, well it is in fact named after a dead dog. Here’s the story from the race’s website:

Back in the early 1980s the local club – the Laramie Wheelfolk – used to host a weekly time trial that always started at the historical marker at the five-and-a-half mile mark on Highway 230. The spot was perfect for a weekly test of fitness, bike technology and forum for bragging rights, given that it’s flat and gave us the chance to try out five- or ten-mile distances.

One day, as a group was riding out to the course from town, a happy, sort of goofy, Golden Retriever started chasing, but instead of biting or attacking, he just fell in step and cruised along side all the way to the marker.  Though one of the riders tied the dog up to a van in hopes of taking it back to town later, the dog broke loose from its restraints and ran into the road and was killed.  The dog stayed out there for quite some time, and eventually someone grabbed the skull and it became something of a morbid trophy for the holder of the course record.

Meanwhile, up in Lander, the local club there hosted a nice little two-day, three-stage race called the Red Dog Classic. We started referring to our time trial course as the “Dead Dog.”

In 1984, it was decided to put on a stage race and it was just natural to call it the “Dead Dog.” In the first few years of the race, the historical marker was – out of convenience and appropriate respect to our dearly departed canine – the starting point for not only the time trial (usually 10 miles), but also the road race.