Cross-country bike race to make its way through Kansas this week

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Kan. (KWCH) -- A bike race that stretches across the United States is expected to make its way into Kansas today.

Drivers across the state are asked to keep a close eye out for cyclists over the next few days. As of Monday morning, the lead racer is in Colorado. Those racers will then enter Kansas using K-96 and make their way across the state.

In the past two years, two cyclists were killed when they were struck by cars along the route in Kansas.

Last year, a car struck and killed a man from Minnesota while he was riding west of Scott City, and the year before, a car fatally struck a man from California just east of Leoti.

The owner of the Newton Bike Shop says drivers should be on the lookout all week long. And, remind younger drivers of the same.

"Parents please talk to your new drivers in your family the importance of paying attention to the road," said James Barringer. "Not the importance of Snapchatting or fiddling with your music or people in your car. Being in control of a motor vehicle, a 2,000+ pound vehicle is a very important responsibility and should be taken seriously."

Barringer says racers are focused on their competitors and may not always be focused on other surroundings.

"They often push themselves to limits that are not capable for other human beings," Barringer said. "That's why they're able to do the ultra-endurance racing situation. In some cases, the racer can often lose a perspective of safety because he has someone chasing him. He wants to go further and get further and stay ahead and keep his position. In some cases, this can cause impaired bicycle operation."

74 cyclists are participating in the event. The 4,300 mile ride takes them from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia.

It takes an average of about 40 days to finish.

You can follow the race here: Trans Am Bike Race Website