Serving Cyclists in the Mid-Atlantic States
IN THIS ISSUE [ TOUR DEM PARKS, HON + BON TON ROULET + SINGLETRACK IS BACK + MORE ]
Serving Cyclists in the Mid-Atlantic States
IN THIS ISSUE [ TOUR DEM PARKS, HON + BON TON ROULET + SINGLETRACK IS BACK + MORE ]
DISCOVER GEORGIA BY BICYCLE
30th annual BRAG RIDE
Join BRAG 2009, June 6-13,
from Hiawassee to Clarks Hill Lake
1600 Riders • Street Dances • Ice Cream Social
End-Of-The-Road Meal • Great fun for Families
60 Miles Average per Day
Hammerhead Options (for additional mileage)
Layover Day • Rest Stops Every 10 – 15 Miles
For more information, visit www.brag.org,
or email email@example.com, or call 770-498-5153.
Other 2009 Rides:
• Spring Tune-Up Ride,
Madison, GA, April 17 -19
• SummerRide, August
• Georgia BikeFest, October
Cycle on gently curving roadways
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Team Kenda of the Mid-Atlantic. Photo Neil Sandler
BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS I’ll mercifully, thankfully
be back on my bicycle again! The only question will
be: do I burn or bury my running shoes? (Truth is
they’re too expensive to chuck, maybe I’ll use them
for mowing the grass.)
A year ago, those who read this column regularly will
recall, I slyly convinced my athletic wife Sonja into
getting out of her comfort zone and try the sport
of triathlon. She surprised me, she loved it, and has
since become a triathlete. So it was her turn to get
me out of my sporting comfort zone. This spring, she
challenged me to run a marathon. To do so, I’ve been
training with her upwards of 40 miles of running a
week. I’d like to report to you how much I’ve fallen in
love with running, but the reality is I really miss riding
my bikes, big time. Half way through my longest
training run, a 20 miler, some cyclists glided by and I
so wanted to be with them.
While no one can dispute that running is a great
workout, after eight or ten miles I completely lose
interest. Which leads me to this question: when did
our aerobic sports become marathon events? The
century bike ride, 26.2 mile marathon, and an hour
or two swim seemed like such great achievements a
few years ago. No longer.
Loping in to our neighborhood after a recent 16 mile
training run, my neighbors Don and Regina happened
by. “Nice day for a run,” they said, still clad in
their running attire. “Yup, I just ran 16 miles. Furthest
I’ve ever run. You guys get out this morning?” I asked,
looking for a chance to gloat. “Yeh, we did a 22 miler
out on the trails,” they responded. I’ll never boast
again. I should have remembered these are folks who
do 100 mile runs once a year. A marathon is just a
warmup for them.
Couple of days later, Sonja and I were in the neighborhood
running shoe store, buying new shoes, when
we met a guy training for a triple Ironman, consisting
of more than seven miles of swimming, followed by
nearly 340 miles of bicycling, and then finishing up
with three marathons worth of running... what’s that
Listening to him describe his training regimen left
us both speechless. How much music does he listen
to during these marathon sessions? None, he told us.
He just zones out. “Zones out?!” I mean we’re talking
about zoning out for days at a time. How can anyone
My cycling buddy Bill regularly does century rides as
warm ups for his long rides, upwards of 350 miles in a
24 hour period!
I’m learning to stop answering folks when they ask
how far I’ve biked, run, or swam. I’m convinced their
question is just a come on... a trick designed for them
to tell you about the 100 mile run or the 750 mile
bike weekend they just completed.
As for me, once I get this marathon thingie behind
me, the whole cycling season opens up. I can truthfully
tell you that a 26.2 mile bike ride will be a thing
Editor & Publisher
Touring • Racing • Off-Road
Recreation • Triathlon • Commuting
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Circulation: 30,000. Copyright© 2008 SPOKES.
All rights reserved. No reprinting without the publisher’s written permission.
Opinions expressed and facts presented are attributed to the respective
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Join The Bike Lane
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and Our Trails on
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THE KENDA GIRLS
by BRENDA RUBY firstname.lastname@example.org
The women of Team Kenda mid-Atlantic aren’t your typical racers. Their unofficial motto?
“We love our wrinkles and we’ll kick your butt anyway. Soon.” reports Tracy Rankin from her
recent Walkersville race report. Composed of more seasoned riders, all but two are nearing
or over 40, these women clearly ride and race with a joy which permeates everything from
their riding to their race reports. These women have figured it out; if you’re not having fun,
then you’re doing something wrong.
Creating different regions of Team Kenda, Forsythe
saw branching out to hubs around the national team
as a way to support the national team while fostering
the development of riders. With this model, the Elite
team would be able to draw talent from the local hubs
for National Race Calendar (NRC) rides around the
country. Forsythe explains, “Logistics become a lot
easier if you have a pool of elite riders spread across
the country, not just in one area.”
But it was serendipity that actually brought Team
Kenda mid-Atlantic to existence in 2007. In the spring
of that year Marni Harker, the future mid-Atlantic
team manager, recounts that she was “looking at yet
another season of racing on my own or joining another
team,” but having been coached by Forsythe previously,
she knew of his desire to expand Team Kenda.
Needing more than one for a team, she turned to
another local racer whom she knew for help. Harker
said, “With the help of Marjan [Huizing, a former
national duathlon champion] we were able to pull
together a small group of able racers who were compatible
and happy to race on a small local race team which
offered connections to a national women’s team.”
Huizing recounts, “A group of us, all with racing
experience, all having important things going on in
life, all wanting to race semi-serious/competitively,
tried to be on the same team.” That opportunity to
be on another local team fell through around the
same time that Harker knew about Forsythe’s desires
to expand Team Kenda. Huizing continues, “We all
got together in March 2007 at Marni’s house and she
called Paul [Forsythe] to tell him our story and ask
if we could join Team Kenda. He thought this was a
great idea and suggested creating the mid-Atlantic
Team Kenda.” A few more phone calls brought
Chris Kelley, who was racing with NCVC at the time,
and her teammate Janelle Hubbard on board. Adds
Huizing, “We called Paul again, and within 2-3 hours,
Team Kenda mid-Atlantic was formed.” Hubbard cites
this moment, “when we all came together as a team,
seven women from four different teams,” as her fondest
FOR THE WOMEN OF TEAM KENDA mid-Atlantic it’s all
about being able to do what they love with people
they like and respect. In person, their energy is infectious
and their camaraderie and eagerness to be
around one another, clearly apparent. Team member
Marjan Huizing simply puts it, “we stimulate each
other.” The closeness is due in large part to an appreciation
to where these women are at in their lives.
Huizing explains, “We all raced in our 30's but bike
racing is not priority #1 any more in our life, but we
still love to race. We’re a more low-key team. For us
it’s more about fun and helping each other out.”
Though she’s quick to add that it’s “not about laziness;
we still race at the highest level.”
Helping each other out even includes passing around
what’s become known as “the pregnancy bike.” A little
blue upright bike acquired by team manager Marni
Harker at a garage sale “from this little old lady,”
Harker hadn’t initially realized its destiny until Betsy
Baysinger put it to use. Baysinger was about to opt out
of riding with the team when Harker realized that “little
blue bike” might just be what Baysinger needed. It
was, and it’s been used not just by her, but other racers
in the area as well and now resides with Huizing as
she awaits her first child.
Though Team Kenda (www.teamkenda.com) has only
officially been around for four years, the team’s evolution
started over ten years ago when Paul Forsythe,
team director, recognized the limited outlet for the
talent of the women riders he coached through the
Purdue University Cycling Program. Forsythe notes,
“It was pretty obvious that there was a lot of talent in
the area at the local colleges and universities, but in
the summer what did they do? They joined up with
men’s racing teams. But they were always an afterthought.
At the time there were probably only three
recognized women’s teams in the U.S.”
Forsythe wanted to create a women’s team with a
national presence. The team started in 1998 as Team
Ameritech in the Midwest and raced in Illinois and
Indiana for two years. Their racing success brought
them increasing recognition from new sponsors and
ultimately a sponsorship from Kenda Tire allowed
them to grow nationally in the unique way Forsythe
knew they could.
6 May 2009
From this formation Team Kenda mid-Atlantic has
included Harker as team manager, Huizing, Kelley,
Hubbard, Betsy Basysinger, and Heidi Goldberg, who
already raced for Team Kenda’s elite team. Later in
2007 Jennifer Maxwell came on, last year added Tracy
Rankin, and this year added the team’s youngest
members, Liz Fruedenberger, 24, who raced in Ohio
with Kenda Girls and Colleen Gullick who the only
junior racer on the team.
Harker says of her team, “What stands out is how well
we all fit together. Not all groups do and this one really
does. We’re on similar pages about what role racing
plays in our lives.” She adds, “Team Kenda is about
finding harmony in life and finding people to do that
with.” Huizing adds, “We ‘old farts’ are still competitive
and push each other to do well in races without
having a real ‘plan’ going into a race and we have a
lot of fun doing it.”
Though Huizing claims they have “no real plan,” their
training tells a different story. Harker estimates that
each woman trains 12-20 hours each week noting,
“training for bike racing is extremely time consuming
and a year round activity.” These women, with jobs
ranging from a cytogenetics technologist (Hubbard)
to a flight attendant (Harker), have training schedules
as diverse as their lives, but the common denominator
being they all put in the time. Hubbard notes that,
“the women are on the same page when it comes to
racing. If we’re not ready, we won’t show up to race.”
Of training, Harker notes, “You have to really love the
training aspect and time spent on your bike doing
everything from long rides of four to six hours as well
as short extremely intense interval sessions to have
any staying power or longevity in the sport of bike racing.”
She adds that while hours are spent on the bike,
it’s “not all spent at warp speed,” saying that “people
who are new to bike racing often find that we go slower
than they imagined on our long rides. But on the
flip side, the intense short intervals, used to get race
fit, are much more intense than imagined as well.”
Janelle Hubbard notes that varying schedules and
locales leads them to devise their own training routines.
She, for instance, lives in Centrevlle, VA and
can’t take advantage of local group rides during the
week. Training indoors most mornings before work,
she focuses on performing compact workouts with
intensity. “Around here most of the races I compete
in are criteriums so I tailor my training for that.” Like
most of the women, she’ll train most days each week,
adding weight workouts on her recovery day.
While Hubbard trains indoors, Heidi Goldberg can’t
imagine it saying, “I rarely ride a trainer indoors
because I hate it! I’d rather ride my commuter in the
snow!” Goldberg, an anti-poverty and social-policy
program director at the National League of Cities
and a member of the DC Bicycle Advisory Council,
says biking found her at 33 as a bike commuter. She,
like others living in town, try to use local mid-week
rides for training. She, Harker, and others cite the
in-season Rock Creek Park “pick-up” rides 6-8 p.m.
on Tuesdays and Thursdays from the Bicycle Place
in Silver Spring and their year-round Saturday morning
rides at 10 a.m. as likely training rides. Huizing,
Maxwell, and Goldberg will also often try to do the
daily (Monday – Friday) noon ride at Haines Point.
Jennifer Maxwell, a Spanish instructor at Catholic
University, and a former full-time racer before being
sidelined by and fully recovering from the Epstein
Barr Virus, adds that like the other women, she has
structure to her training. Maxwell runs hill repeats
and sprints at least 2x per week. During cyclocross
season, which is September through December, she’ll
do structured intervals 3x per week and hill repeats
once a week while doing two intense cyclocross races
Non-race weekends offer the women an opportunity
to arrange rides longer in both distance and dura-
tion. Chris Kelly lives out past Frederick and will
often organize long hilly rides which are frequented
by both team members and other women racers in
the area. As Harker says, “It’s a great chance to get to
know our competition a bit better out of the aggressive
fog of a race.”
Tracy Rankin, an NIH program director and one of
mothers on the team, admits that “finding ways to
incorporate training into my everyday life has been a
constant challenge.” Getting hooked on riding after
a running injury, Rankin started riding while a Ph.D.
candidate but did take a several-year hiatus from racing
after her son was born. Back in racing since 2004
she advises that “you prioritize and become pretty
flexible. You also lower your expectations a bit. While
I can certainly be competitive regionally, there will
always be somebody faster who has the full-time hours
to devote to training. And that is OK.” She adds, “The
one advantage of being of ‘advanced racing age’ is
that I know it is simply a bike race—the sun will rise
the next day and life goes on. Not to mention, there’s
always next weekend!”
Harker points out that their desire to “keep it fun” is
important because, “You’re not successful all the time;
we don’t all have great legs all the time. Some days
are good, some are bad, but overall, it’s good. If I get
dropped, do I feel bad? Sure, but I’m going to get the
most out of it. We want to feel good about all the days
we get to race together.”
This relaxed attitude towards racing is also perhaps
another key to their team success. “They all have good
attitudes,” says Forsythe. He continues, “On race day
there’s enough stress and drama going on and you
don’t need any added drama with a bad attitude.”
Heidi Goldberg explains the shared team belief that
“Negative mental energy sucks your soul and when
you don’t have that, there’s room to do well. You have
to have a burning desire to win, but having a negative
energy will suck that out.” This might explain why, as
Tracy Rankin says, “The strongest rider doesn’t always
win.” There are distinct benefits to having, as Forsythe
explains, “a maturity level.”
Aside from the fitness and stress relief that Hubbard
and Rankin cite as benefits of racing, Huizing says
that riding with Team Kenda, “has given me, and my
teammates as well, I think, a new boost in cycling
and racing.” Hubbard says racing with the team, “has
personally given me the confidence in my racing and
my ability to race along side other women who have
a huge range of talent. At any given time, any one of
KENDA continued on p.10
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KENDA continued from p.9
these women on the team can win a race and knowing
and having that kind of capability is huge to me.”
Benefits aren’t limited to just the bike, either. Huizing
believes racing helps her to work at a higher level and
more intensely, while Goldberg tries to take her race
skill of being able to make snap decisions, into life.
It’s not about just training your legs, but your mind as
well. Of this far reaching effect, Betsy Baysinger adds,
“You learn how much is mental and you can bring
that into other parts of your life.”
Forsythe says his goal for Team Kenda is for women
“to have the opportunity to go from beginner to pro
if that’s what they aspire to.” Some women aspire to
national recognition while others are looking for a
comfort zone. Forsythe says, “If your comfort zone
is Cat 3 or 4, that’s perfectly fine.” Adding, “As long
as you race, there’s a spot for you on the team.” He
points out that Team Kenda is not a club team, meaning
all members must race, but “we pretty much have
an open door policy. As long as you’re willing to compete
on a regular basis, there’s a place for you in the
club. Not everyone can be a Cat 1 or 2 racer. There
are some women who many never move up from Cat
4, but they like to race and there’s a place for them.”
Allowing the women just to race, without the pressure
of having to win breeds all around success. Since
forming, Team Kenda mid-Atlantic has consistently
placed in the top five of regional races and in the top
25 of national races.
Knowing each other and being a team definitely has
its own benefits. Harker adds that, “We know each
other. We understand that we’re all juggling things in
our lives so everyone understands when you drop a
ball. This is something that augments our daily living.
There’s no pressure. The goal is to not make anyone
As Team Director, Forsythe speaks to why this mid-
Atlantic team is so important saying “They are a really
good example of what a team is. Some racers don’t
understand why you would stick with a team if you’re
getting better offers, but they understand what it
means to be a team.” While most of the women are a
powerhouse of Cat 1 and 2 racers, should there come
a day when performance slips, Forsythe sees continued
involvement as important saying, “Some people
think that if you’re not able to win races, there’s nothing
left for them to do. Well, yeah there is. You can
inspire and bring up other people.”
Still in top form, Team Kenda mid-Atlantic already
sees that as their mission. Forsythe notes, as example,
“Marjan [Huizing] is an amazing athlete. She’s an
example of someone who wasn’t looking to take
anything from the team, but wanted to help mentor
younger riders.” She says that, to her, Team Kenda is
about promoting women’s cycling. It’s about “giving
all women an opportunity to get the best out of them;
an opportunity to race intensely nationwide, or locally,
or sporadically.” Goldberg agrees saying, “We see
our role as mentors to some younger women in the
sport.” And Hubbard adds, “We try to represent Team
Kenda in a positive way to encourage more women to
get involved in cycling.”
Forsythe believes Team Kenda does play an important
role in women’s racing today through its development
program. “We have mentors in place. We try to connect
promising riders with their regional team, but it’s
not forced. The regions are allowed to decide what’s
best for the team.” He adds that, “The fact that we
maintain a national team while having a development
program makes us unique.” But, “a developmental
team is important to the future of women’s racing”
and Forsythe wishes that more teams would take on
the same responsibility saying, “You need to use some
of that money to invest in developing up-and-coming
talent to have a viable team for years to come.”
As Hubbard says, “Team Kenda is about the development
of women’s cycling; about getting in young, raw,
talented cyclists and helping to mold and shape that
talent into something special so they can, at some
point, compete at the national level.” But Forsythe
doesn’t want a woman’s experience with Team Kenda
to be just “a stepping stone” in their race careers,
should they aspire to that. He sees a future where
Team Kenda becomes “a power team.”
For the mid-Atlantic area, Forsythe sees the state of
women’s racing as very strong. “Major races continue
year after year where there have generally been losses
of events across the rest of the country. I have had
more inquiries concerning team membership from
that area than from any other. That must mean that
Marni [Harker] and her riders are putting on a pretty
good show. When someone wants to be a part of what
you have, they surely perceive that what you have is
The women of Team Kenda mid-Atlantic have their
own thoughts on why women’s racing is growing.
Citing everything from growing fields which make it
easier for women to break into racing and find their
comfort zone, to more college programs promoting
women’s involvement in cycling, to even an increased
interest gained through triathlons and spinning, the
women encourage anyone interested to “just go for
it,” as Huizing says. Having come into the sport from
being a bike commuter, Heidi Goldberg notes that,
“it’s an accessible sport even to people without an athletic
For those thinking about jumping into the competitive
world of bike racing, they suggest joining
group rides through local bikes shops. Adds Janelle
Hubbard, “It does not matter how old you are, but
that you enjoy riding your bike. Just get out there and
have fun and don’t be afraid to ask questions because
we love to answer them.” Huizing concurs saying,
“Our mid-Atlantic team is very friendly and welcoming
to new racers.” Though they may have their “race
face” on during a race, team manager Marni Harker
sums it up in what seems to be the Team Kenda mid-
Atlantic’s goal: “The emphasis is on making it fun.”
8 May 2009
8 May 2009
Performance Without Kompromise
Come and see us at The Air Force
Cycling Classic on May 30th and
31st and if you mention this ad, we
will throw you an extremely cool
Kenda Water Bottle.
*While Supplies Last
A RAMBLE THROUGH
BALTIMORE by GREG HINCHLIFFE
In the spring of 2003, the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee of Baltimore had a problem:
the brand new Gwynns Falls Trail was not being used to its potential. The city, the Trust for
Public Land, and many others had put a great deal of time, money, and effort into building
the trail, but the cyclists weren’t there, either because they were unaware that the trail existed,
or they were reluctant to use it, wary of urban cycling in general.
Gwynns Falls Trail, and one section of a road we have
closed for the event. This is the ideal ride for families
with younger children because, except for some street
crossings, the route is entirely separated from traffic.
This is an important distinction from the other
lengths we offer.
The Tour dem Parks does not close roads or reserve
lanes for its riders. We want to show city riding as it
exists every other day of the year. If you like something
you see on the ride, you can come back any
weekend and ride it again.
The next length offered is the Medium Ride, this year
at just under 25 miles. Starting from Carroll Park (as
do all the rides) you’ll see the Jones Falls Trail, Druid
Hill Park, Lake Montebello, the Herring Run Trail,
Patterson Park, and part of the Gwynns Falls Trail.
You’ll also see some interesting neighborhoods and
The Long Ride is just under 40 miles. You’ll see just
about everything on the Medium Ride, plus more
of the Gwynns Falls Trail and a scenic loop out into
Baltimore County. For the second year we are offering
a Metric Century. Last year’s metric was a trip out to
Ellicott City, using the #9 Trolley Trail and Patapsco
State Park’s Grist Mill Trail. It was quite scenic, but
a little on the hilly side, including a killer mile-long
climb at the 55-mile point. I sure heard about that.
This year’s Metric Century is basically the Long Ride
plus a loop out to BWI Airport using sections of the
Gwynns Falls Trail and the BWI Trail. Maybe it’s not
quite as pretty, but it’s a lot flatter.
Many riders are Tour dem Parks veterans, having ridden
the event several times. A few happy repeat customers
have been with us since the beginning. Same
old ride, right? Wrong! This year the TdemP committee,
a group of dedicated volunteers led by co-chairs
Anne Colgan and Dwight Pinkney put a lot of thought
into making the ride more interesting for those who
are back, maybe riding for the seventh time. Not such
an easy task. After all, while the city has added miles
of new trail in the last few years, the parks haven’t
moved, and aren’t about to. Hmmmm. How to make
the route fresh while staying within the limits of touring,
well . . . dem parks. Finally, the inspiration: we’ll
TO PENNY TROUTNER, owner of Light Street Cycles
and then chair of the committee, the answer was
obvious: host an organized ride through the city, passing
by or through most of its major parks and trails,
thereby not only showcasing the parks themselves, but
reassuring local riders that it could be safe and pleasant
to cycle within the city limits. This was no small
order. Back in the days before the city’s Bicycle Master
Plan, before we had a full-time bike-ped planner, in a
city that hadn’t installed a bike lane or much of any
kind of bike accommodation in the previous 20 years,
Baltimore did not exactly have a reputation as a Bike-
Nonetheless, those of us who lived and cycled in the
city knew that there was some good riding and wanted
to show it off with a ride. Any money raised by the
event would go right back to the parks, through donations
to citizen support groups. Thus the Tour dem
Parks was born. Or Tour du Parks, as it was known for
its first few years, to the considerable chagrin of the
more linguistically talented members of the committee,
who insisted it should either be Tour du Park or
Tour des Parks. After years of haggling, we decided
to embrace our inner Baltimoron and go with Tour
dem Parks, as in “How ‘bout dem Oreos?” (You know,
the baseball team?) It seemed only natural to throw
in “Hon” at the end. So . . . Tour dem Parks, Hon!
John Waters (legendary Baltimore filmmaker of “Pink
Flamingos” fame) would be proud.
The Tour is now in its seventh year, co-sponsored by
the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and the city’s
Department of Recreation and Parks. Every year it has
drawn more riders, and every year it has raised more
money for the parks. Over the years the ride has provided
thousands and thousands of dollars to various
“Friends of ...” and other park support organizations.
And just as important to the city cyclists who started
the event, thousands of cyclists have been exposed to
riding in Baltimore, seeing parks, trails, and neighborhoods
they never knew existed. This, along with the
bike accommodations the city has been making under
Mayor Sheila Dixon, has led to a steady increase in
the number of bicyclists seen on the streets of the city.
So what is the Tour dem Parks (or TdemP) like? What
should you expect if you come out to Carroll Park on
Sunday, June 14th to ride in the Seventh Annual Tour
Dem Parks, Hon? Well, take your pick. Once again,
we are offering four different lengths of riding. The
shortest is the Family Ride of about a dozen miles.
This ride is entirely on the off-road sections of the
10 May 2009
do the tour backwards. No, no stunt-riding required,
but this year’s rides will circle the city clockwise,
instead of the counter-clockwise loops of the past.
You’d be surprised how different some of the same
places look from a different direction.
We have also dealt with some of the challenging interpark
segments of the ride. Although the parks are
indeed lovely, some of them are separated by hightraffic
roads and distressed, treeless neighborhoods
which are no fun to ride. We have massaged this
year’s riding to make the stretches between the parks
as pleasant as possible. We think you’ll notice and like
So come join us on Sunday June 14th. Grab a cuesheet
and head out on one of our fully-marked routes.
Refresh at one of the rest stops and enjoy the after-ride
cook-out and music. Best of all, see parts of the city you
may never have seen before, cycle areas you had never
considered riding. You will have a good time, you will
help support Baltimore’s parks and green space, and
you may learn something about bicycling in the city. If
you’re a city resident, maybe you will start cycling more
around home, for recreation or transport. Maybe you’ll
start cycle-commuting. If you live in one of the surrounding
counties, maybe you’ll consider cycling into
the city for a meal, a ball game, or a week-end. The
Gwynns Falls Trail passes right by Camden Yards and
M&T Bank Stadium on its way to the Inner Harbor.
Canton, Fells Point, Fort McHenry, and other attractions
are an easy bike ride away. The city’s ever-expanding
bike route network makes it easy, and you’ll see a
lot of it on the Tour dem Parks, Hon! Check out the
event website: www.tourdemparks.org for details and to
sign up. We’ll see you on June 14th, Hon.
Author Greg Hinchliffe is chair of Baltimore’s Mayor’s
Bicycle Advisory Committee, and has been writing and
marking the routes for the Tour dem Parks ride since 2003.
He lives and cycles in Baltimore City.
BON TON ROULET...
PARTY TIME EVERY DAY!
by ANN ABELES
“Your mother always said you wouldn’t amount to anything. Now look at us, sleeping alongside
the road, sipping wine from a brown paper bag!”
WELL, ACTUALLY WE’RE SLEEPING by the roadside
because we are on the Bon Ton Roulet, the East Coast’s
economy version of the Napa Valley Wine Tours.
We are camped in a school playground and the wine
was bought at one of the several wineries we passed
as we cycled through the Finger Lakes Region of New
York. This region of New York State is well known for
its beautiful scenery, multiple wineries – and hills.
Previously my husband Fred and I had cycled a little
in the area and often thought that a bicycle tour
would be fun. In the past we have looked at and
rejected the Bon Ton Roulet, a bicycle ride around
the Finger Lakes, because we thought the daily distances
(60 – 100 miles) were too great for us to manage
considering the hilly terrain. However in 2007
the organizers introduced the “short route options”
with rides of about 50 miles each day. That was all the
inducement we needed, in 2008 Fred and I signed up
for the Bon Ton Roulet, July 19 – 26.
The ride is non-competitive and suitable for riders
of a wide range of abilities (and ages). The tour is a
ARE YOU READY FOR
tent camping adventure with baggage and SAG support.
There is also a motel option, but in our opinion,
the appeal of group rides is the socializing that takes
place in the campgrounds.
Sipping your booze from a paper bag and sharing
the tenting and showering experience with a few
hundred or so other riders quickly leads to making
new friends. Soon you discover that you are at a party
The basic fee for the Bon Ton Roulet, a fund raiser
for the Auburn, NY YMCA, was $485 per person
(www.bontonroulet.com). The fee covered baggage
transport, camping and showers at public schools,
breakfasts and dinners (usually in the schools), two
daily refreshment stops, SAG support and cue sheets.
The support and cue sheets were good and we had no
trouble finding our way each day.
The routes selected were scenic with low levels of
motor vehicle traffic on most of the roads and the NY
roads, for the most part, have shoulders. We used our
comfortable, rolling lounge chairs (recumbents) and
were able to bike (slowly) up all the hills.
Among this year’s 478 riders, the most participants in
the 11 years of Bon Ton Tours, there were an almost
equal number of males and females and most riders
were of average athletic ability. There were a few
youngsters on the tour with some on tag-a-longs or in
trailers. Most folks with young children only participated
for a few days or had their own support vehicle
which some family member drove each day.
Although we had some rain nearly every day, including
one bucketing thunderstorm, the riders stayed
in good spirits and had a great time. Easily half of
the riders were repeaters, suggesting that folks have
a “Bon Ton,” good time, in spite of occasional rainy
days and basic accommodations.
Sign in registration began Saturday afternoon at the
Auburn High School in Auburn, NY. Participants were
invited to camp on the school grounds overnight so
they would be ready to ride Sunday morning. We
had driven up to Ithaca, the week before to spend
some time with our younger daughter and her family.
Saturday was very hot and humid when we put the
last of our gear in the car, kissed the kids and drove
to Auburn. We passed through several thunderstorms
as we drove and hurried into the school to register.
BON TON continued on p.14
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Stop in and check out our great selecton of parts,
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Saturday 10am-6pm & Closed Sunday
Author Ann Abeles and husband Fred
12 May 2009
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BON TON continued from p.12
While we were picking up our cue sheets, name tags,
baggage tags etc., it started to pour again. We waited
for a break, then dashed outside to set up our tent
and put our gear inside before the next band of showers
arrived. When all was secure, we decided to drive
to one of the suggested restaurants for dinner rather
than risk getting wet.
We got back, had our showers and were snug in our
tent when the rain started again. Later, we realized we
had set up our tent right in the beam of one of the
powerful security lights around the school. We certainly
didn’t need our flashlights that night. In fact, I
dug through our gear for our eye shades so we could
block out the light.
Sunday morning, we were up about 5 a.m. to dress
and pack up our gear. It was drizzling lightly
as we put away the wet tent and loaded
our gear onto the luggage truck. Then we
biked off to breakfast at the Springside Inn,
about three-quarters of a mile away.
Breakfast was delicious with lots of fresh
fruit and yogurt. After breakfast, most riders
biked back to the high school for the
opening ceremony. Of course, it was raining
harder by then so the riders waited in
or near the school till 7:45. The welcoming
speeches were short and we were on our
way in light rain by 8.
After a few hills we shed our jackets as
the weather was warm and the rain had
stopped. We biked through the historic
town of Skaneateles, admiring the gracious
homes and beautifully restored Victorian
mansions. This must be a very exclusive
town! We continued on through the lovely countryside
over to the east side of Otisco Lake.
As we headed south towards Cortland we passed an
eye-catching art gallery/gift shop with fantastic animal
sculptures made of scrap metal. We just had to stop
and admire the skill of the artist.
When we arrived in Cortland we headed over to the
SUNY campus, our campground for the night. As the
clouds were threatening again, we hurried to get our
tent up. We had our gear in a nearby gazebo and had
just put the rain fly up when the heavens opened.
Fred held the umbrella while I finished putting in the
stakes. Then we dodged showers while getting our
gear in the tent, finding our clean clothes and taking
turns heading to the gym for showers.
It was still raining when we boarded the buses that
shuttled everyone to a fish restaurant for a big dinner.
The restaurant also sold beer, greatly appreciated
after a busy and rather damp first day.
Monday’s dorm breakfast was great – even oatmeal
and lots of fruit. Many of the bikers picked up an
extra apple or banana to enjoy later on the ride. The
weather had cleared up and we had a beautiful ride
northeast towards Owasco Lake.
Our first rest stop was at Fillmore Glen State Park.
While we were there we met another recumbent rider
on a red Tour Easy like ours but with a faring.
After the break we had four long, tiring climbs and
really appreciated the rest stop at Frontenac Park on
the east side of Lake Cayuga.
With only two miles left before Seneca Falls, a severe
thunderstorm was over us. I knocked on the front
door of a house with a large front porch and asked
if we (and our bikes) could shelter there. The grandmother/baby
sitter said of course and we stood there
to wait out the quickly moving storm.
In about 15 minutes we were able to continue on to
Seneca Falls. Now the sun was shining even though
we were still in the rain. Again we were just able to
get our tent up and gear stowed at the Mynderse
Academy before the next shower.
After we had showered, we took the shuttle to the
Seneca Falls Visitor Center where we enjoyed several
New York wines and cheeses.
When we headed back to the tents, the sun was shining
and we could hang stuff out to air and dry. Dinner
was in the school and afterwards a nice folk singer
performed in a tent near the school.
We also met up with some biking friends from Illinois
that we met last year on the Illinois Great Rivers Ride.
The two ladies are fun and really enjoy these group
rides. They were happy to hear that we would see
them again in September at this year’s Great Rivers
Ride. With over 400 people on this Bon Ton ride, it
took a while before we had prowled the campgrounds
enough to meet most of the riders, especially considering
the weather so far.
It did not rain any more during the night but the
humidity must have stayed near 100%. Tuesday morning
we packed up a sopping tent and damp belongings,
had breakfast and were on our way about 7:30.
We skipped the first rest stop as we weren’t hungry yet.
We passed several wineries in the next 10 miles, Belhurst,
White Springs, Fox and Red Tail Ridge, but they were
not open yet and the weather looked threatening.
Shortly before noon it got very dark and started to
drizzle. We hurried on the next few miles to Gorham
where our next rest stop was scheduled at the school.
It was thundering and starting to rain so everyone
quickly helped to bring the food into the school.
Then the heavens opened and it poured and poured.
More drowned riders staggered into the school to
warm up and have something to eat. After about 90
minutes it looked like the storm was letting up so
some of us ventured out. We hadn’t biked a half mile
when the rain came down so heavily we could not
see. We turned tail and went back into the school for
another half hour.
Finally the storm seemed to be over and we all headed
out for the last 15 miles into Canandaigua. As we
went along, the skies cleared and it was beautiful as
we rolled into the Finger Lakes Community College
in Canandaigua. We got our gear, set up the tent and
spread things out to dry.
It wasn’t long before I could put things away and we
biked back into town to the IGA where we bought
some chips and two large 24 ounce cans of beer.
We brought these back to the school and sat on our
chairs in the sun in front of the tent relaxing and visiting
with other campers as they dried out.
Wednesday dawned cloudy and humid
again. However, we seem to have gotten
more efficient at packing up and were on
our way by 7:15. Today we had four steep
hills to climb and were pretty tired by about
30 miles into the ride. We stopped at a little
wayside and ate some of the trail mix and
dried fruit I carry for emergencies then
soldiered on another eight miles to the
rest stop at the Dundee School, a beautiful
stone building built as a WPA project during
The Rotary was selling hot dogs and the
Bon Ton volunteers had lots of delicious
home made snacks. We really enjoyed the
meal after the hills.
Now our route was past several wineries
and down hill to Watkins Glen. This was
the day to pick out some tasty vintages from Glenora,
Fulkerson, Arcadian Estates, Lakewood or Casoata
Wineries and have the SAG wagon bring them on to
We camped that night and the next at the Watkins Glen
High School at the south end of town. Lots of eager
bikers were waiting to pick up their treats from the SAG
trucks even though they had to be discreet about consuming
their prizes. Brown bags were popular.
Even though it was still cloudy, there was a nice
breeze blowing which dried our tent and belongings
while we showered. We enjoyed some quiet time, sitting
by our tent, reading. The sun even appeared
briefly. A real plus for us this summer is that we have
one of the electronic readers from Amazon called the
“Kindle.” It is wonderful device for wirelessly downloading
a newspaper or magazine issue so we have
been able to have the New York Times delivered to
our tent every day. Fred, a newspaper junkie loves it.
Dinner that night was sponsored by their ARC and
after dinner we walked over to an ice cream shop a
couple of blocks from the school. Two other bikers
that had flown out from California were there and
we joined them, sharing experiences about different
bike tours. Then the four of us crossed over to the
library to check our email before returning to the
campground for a performance by a local folk singer.
14 May 2009
About 9 it started to rain again and we crawled into
Friday was a free day as we would be in Watkins Glen
again that night. Fred and I decided to make our
own route instead of doing either the 100 miler to
Hammondsport and back or the shorter 42 mile
loop. There is a short (7 mile) beautiful rail/trail,
the Catherine Valley Trail, just south of Watkins Glen
that we have ridden with our daughter, son-in-law and
granddaughter. We had heard that a new piece had
been added to it so I mapped out our own loop taking
us a few miles up, out of Watkins Glen on 414 and
then along a quiet country road over to the top of
the trail near Millport before taking the trail back to
The sun was out while we climbed the “mountain”
out of Watkins Glen and we enjoyed the gradual ride
down Johnson’s Hollow to the Catherine Valley Trail.
However, about a mile after we started down the trail,
it started to drizzle so we put on our jackets. By the
time we reached the Montour Falls trail head it was
pouring and the lightning was crashing around us so
we sheltered under the trail head kiosk for a while.
When the rain eased, we biked on into Montour Falls
and hurried into the first restaurant we found, a pizza
place. We shared a calzone but they didn’t have tea or
coffee to warm us up so we next headed up the street
to a little coffee shop. They had scrumptious chocolate
cake that we shared along with coffee to warm us
and our hands. Finally, the rain stopped and we were
warmed up enough to continue on the trail that follows
the canal into Lake Seneca. The trail ended right
at the school’s ball fields, perfect. We showered and
rested till it was time to find dinner.
Thursday night everyone was on their own. We biked
downtown to the Seneca Harbor Station Restaurant
on the southern tip of Seneca Lake. We had a table
on the deck with a beautiful view up the lake. As we
ate we could watch the thunderstorms moving across
the lake but fortunately they stayed to the north.
It was sunny and cool when we got up Friday. We were
on our way climbing up out of the gorge by 7:30. It
didn’t take long to get warmed up and we stopped to
take pictures at Hector Falls and remove our jackets.
The ride along Seneca Lake on 414 was beautiful with
views of the lake and many vineyards along the way.
Our first rest stop was at the Wagner Winery with lots
of good snacks, a beautiful view and some early morning
Our route took us north to Ovid and then over and
down to the Sheldrake Winery on the shores of Lake
Cayuga. This was a chance to fuel up before continuing
along the lake to Taughannock Falls State Park.
Then there was a hard climb back up the hill to
Trumansburg High School, our last camp ground. We
arrived early enough to have lunch in Trumansburg
before checking in and setting up our tent.
It was such a pleasure to have a sunny day we just
wanted to enjoy it. After our showers, we changed
into our “tuxedo” jerseys for the final dinner and
party. Lots of people took our picture saying they
didn’t realize that the festivities were “formal.” Dinner
that night was a big chicken barbecue at the school.
After dinner we were all shuttled out to the American
Legion building for our final party. The beer was
free and we were entertained by “acts” organized by
different groups of riders. The acts ranged from two
men and a boy (uncle, dad and son) putting rubber
gloves over their heads and inflating them by blowing
through their noses till the gloves finally burst, to two
sisters who sang their original song about the Bon Ton
– pedaling, pedaling, pedaling uphill – in the rain.
There were prizes for short, six word summaries of
the ride. One of the winning entries was “Crotch on
fire; not my desire.”
Saturday morning we were treated to a dry tent when
we had to pack up and put our gear on the luggage
truck. Finally we were treated to a beautiful day with
low humidity. We donned our tuxes again and biked
out to the American Legion for breakfast.
After breakfast the ride headed north on Rt. 96 and
then dropped down to Rt. 89 along Lake Cayuga.
The weather was perfect and with the slight downhill,
we were flying along. We passed up the first rest stop
at 12 miles and headed on to the second at Cayuga
Lake State park, 27 miles into the ride. There we
enjoyed the ends of lots of delicious snacks and more
picture taking. The route continued up Lake Cayuga,
across the Montezuma Flats on Rt. 20 and back to the
Auburn High School. We arrived about noon and said
good bye to many new friends. We loaded our gear
into our car and headed back to our children’s house
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TriRats President Makes Her Comeback
Thirty-year-old Katie Davison started swimming in
Cleveland, where she grew up, on the neighborhood
pool team when she was five-years-old.
Katie Davison (left)
“I was a pool rat as a little kid,” she says. “I ended up
coaching my summer swim team when I got older.”
She swam through high school and her first year at
Ohio University, “until I burned out,” she says. The
transition from an hour a day of practice in high
school to sometimes six hours a day of training in college
A petite 5-3 and 100 pounds, Davison took up running
to stay in shape. Later, after moving to Reston,
Va., a little more interested again in swimming, she
joined the Master’s program there. Master’s swimming
had introduced her to local triathletes, who introduced
her to cycling, and eventually the former “pool
rat” in 2004 became a TriRat - the nickname for the
Reston-Area Triathlon Club.
In March, she was named club president. Not that it’s
been a smooth five years in her new sport-of-choice.
“Everybody you meet in the D.C. area who swims
seems to do triathlons,” Davison says. “I was hooked
David Glover, who founded TriRats, she says, was a big
influence on her. They’ve became good friends and
were even roommates for a while. However, Davison
ran into an unexpected obstacle not long after her
first tri - the Spud Short Triathlon (now General
Smallwood) in June of 2004.
Amazingly, she won her age group in the Reston
Olympic Distance Triathlon that fall, but then got the
bad news the following spring: She was diagnosed with
a stress fracture between her femur and pelvis. Davison
would not be able to run for the next three years.
“I felt like I was just starting out,” she says. Davison was
at first, also diagnosed with osteoporosis. Which seemed
incredible given that she was only in her mid-20s.
She kept waiting for the stress fracture to heel, but
it simply wasn’t. She could swim and bike because
they were non-impact sports, but running was out.
Committed to pursuing triathlon, working out regularly
- and the TriRats - Davison joined triathlon relay
teams, did “aqua-bike” events, or just did the first two
legs of triathlons and then pulled out. She also did
some very long swims, including an eight-mile swim
from Vermont to New York State on Lake Champlain
and the 4.4 mile Great Chesapeake Bay Swim. She
found ways to compete.
About a year and half after her initial diagnosis
Davison met Mary and Al Delaney, who run Rehab to
Racing, and they eventually got her to a new orthopedic
doctor. In February 2007, she finally got a full
diagnosis - Davison had Celiac disease. It’s a disease
TRISPOKES continued on p.18
16 May 2009
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TRISPOKES continued from p.16
that destroys the small intestine and prevents the
body from absorbing nutrients, such as calcium, as a
result of a gluten-intolerance.
Today, with a new diet, Davison is back running and
says she has more energy than ever. Which means a lot.
She came back to her first complete triathlon last
May, taking fifth overall in Little Pepper Sprint, “a
good confidence builder,” she says, and has been
slowly increasing her workload and triathlon distances
ever since. She took 10th overall last August at
the IronGirl Triathlon in Columbia, and completed
her second half-Ironman triathlon of the season at
Savageman in late September.
Of the three disciplines, Davison began cycling last,
not that long ago really, and rather than focus on the
time lost running and her mis-diagnosis, she believes
concentrating on cycling while re-habing has made
her a more well-rounded triathlete.
“I put a lot of time in one the bike, and I learned to
love hills, which helped me develop power,” she says.
“I only do rides that have hills when I go out and now
sometimes my bike times are as high as my swim times.”
Ironically, she adds, running might prove her strongest
suit over the long haul.
“Even though I’ve always been a swimmer, I don’t
have a swimmer’s build,” she says. "When I do run, it’s
usually pretty good.”
Her goal this year includes a good showing at the
Rhode Island Ironman 70.3 in July, and then she
wants to crack the top 10 again at IronGirl Columbia.
“I love the IronGirl race,” she says. “So many inspiring
As TriRats president, she says, the thing she likes best
about the club “is that it is very relaxed.”
WHY RIDE A TANDEM?
It’s sharing the fun and experience with
a partner, a child, a parent, or a friend.
Sharing exercise, sharing adventure,
sharing the joy of accomplishment, and
creating a shared memory.
We sell and rent tandems because we’ve
shared these things and found that bicycling
can be even more fun when it is shared.
We’re fighting “oil addiction” with
human powered transportation.
Join the fight – park your car and
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18 May 2009
The president’s job isn’t a voted position, it’s simply
been handed down over the years from David
Glover, to Steve Smith, to Keith Bohnenberger, to her.
Previously, Davison served as the club’s social director,
and added that club members Kevin Kunkel and Nate
Miller have been especially helpful in the early going,
organizing regular meetings, and working on plans to
get more people involved with the club.
Davison said she hopes to make the club more interactive,
adding more social events, and more training
events in the process. She said she’d working on putting
together a survey to get feedback from members
on the best ways to develop more participation.
“I want to keep it still a relaxed environment, where
people of all ability can come to connect to people,”
Currently, she says, TriRats has over 1,000 people
registered on it’s Yahoo-list serve, and about a 100
dues-paying members who receive the full benefits of
belonging to the club.
She noted the annual Tour de Skyline event is early this
month (May 1-2), the Reston Century, and Reston Bike
Club, the Reston Master’s swim team, and the Sept.
13 Reston Triathlon - all remain favorite activities and
training groups for TriRats. Club members are spread
out, however, from D.C. through Northern Virginia.
The late-season Savageman race traditionally serves as
a club fundraiser with TriRats entering as relay teams.
Davison also added that Kevin Kunkel is organizing a
bicycle tour/training trip to Spain this year for club
And, of course, monthly Friday Happy Hours remain a
popular activity with usually 30 or so folks turning out.
“TriRat’s has a nice balance,” Davison says. “It draws a
lot of good athletes, but it’s not only for elite athletes,
it’s supposed to be social, and for people starting
triathlon to people who have been doing it awhile. I
guess, I am optimistic, I see a lot of good things for
the club in the future. For more information, visit
Navy Wins Co-Ed Collegiate Nationals
Lubbock, Texas attracted more than 1,000 top collegiate
athletes April 18 for the annual USA Triathlon
Collegiate National Championships, battling chilly
early conditions and a challenging bike course at
Buffalo Springs Lake.
Both of last year’s winning teams repeated in 2009,
where athletes again competed on an Olympic distance
course (1.5 K swim, 40 K bike and 10 K run).
University of California--Berkeley, led by male overall
champion John Dahlz, edged the Naval Academy
by one point to win the men’s team race. U.C. San
Diego dominated on the women’s wide well ahead
of runner-up Colorado and the third-place female
squad from the Naval Academy. However, the Naval
Academy, competing against squads representing 103
Navy's tri team
college and universities from across the country, won
the combined Collegiate National Championship
ahead of Cal-Berkeley, Colorado-Boulder, and the
U.S. Military Academy at West Point, which, of course,
thrilled the squad from Annapolis.
“It was an awesome day,” says Navy co-captain Spencer
Waters. “We had seven guys doing the sprint, seven
guys doing the Olympic distance, and seven women
did the Olympic distance on a really cold, cold day. We
were so happy to beat Army, nobody gave us a chance
this year, especially our women’s team, which had a lot
of younglings. But they really came through.”
Navy’s other co-captain, Derek Oskutis, finished second
overall, 20 seconds behind Dahlz. Kyle Hooker,
Scott Terry, and Wes Bochner took 6th, 13th, and
24th on the men’s side.
In the Olympic distance race on the women’s side,
Lexa Gass, Tracey Bruce, Sarah Simmler, and Caroline
Barlow, took 7th, 21st, 22nd, and 26th, respectively.
Jake Johnson of the Naval Academy won the sprint,
with teammates Kyle Mayo and Waters taking third
and fourth, respectively.
“Derek Oskutis is our well-groomed horse,” Waters
said. “He’s strong all-around in everything, he’s got it
all. He’s the reason we’re a strong team, it’s his leadership.
Rather than taking a Spring Break trip, he led
the team on a training trip to Florida. That was the
turning point. That’s when we came together.”
Waters also credited team coach Billy Edwards, a professional
athlete - and Naval Academy grad class of
2000 - for motivation and guidance.
“He’s an inspiring guy,” Waters said. “He was in the first
wave that went into Iraq. He’s tough and he’ll make
you work. He’s spends a ton of time on the phone with
us and going over our training logs online.”
Waters said a typical training day for the Middies starts
with a 90-minute workout in the pool after morning
classes, and then another 90-minute bike ride in the
afternoon - usually in the “Tri-room” - following afternoon
classes, immediately followed by a run.
“We always run after biking, on the track or around
the soccer field,” Waters explained. “Trying to shake
out that awkward feeling after getting off the bike.
The bricks are important. We’ll do long runs on
Saturday or Sunday morning.”
He said one of the keys this year was “stealing” a
couple women off other Navy teams. Gass, he said,
for example was a runner on the cross country squad.
Simmler was a basketball player. Although, he added,
freshman Tracey Bruce “just came out of nowhere” at
“The girls all want to be like Justine Whipple,” said
Waters, mentioning Navy’s former collegiate champion.
“They’re young. They all caught the fever. They’re
going to be great next year.”
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!
photo courtesy of:
This event is proudly
brought to you by
Sat. May 30 – Sun. May 31, 2009 | Arlington, Virginia
The 2009 Air Force Cycling Classic will feature two days of riding and
racing for all cycling abilities, from young kids to top pros! Participants
in The Air Force Cycling Classic Crystal Ride, Sunday, May 31st, will be able to
challenge themselves for up to 100km, or 8 laps, on the 12.5km course in and
around Crystal City.
Crystal Ride, a non-competitive ride
open to cyclists of all abilities.
Pros to compete after the amateurs.
The 2009 Air Force Cycling
Classic will also offer cycling
enthusiasts the opportunity
to raise money to support
our wounded warriors, see
our website for more details.
For more information or to discuss sponsorship opportunities: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website.
Acceptance and recognition of sponsors or donors does not constitute
DoD, U.S. Air Force, or Federal Government endorsement.
SINGLETRACK by JOE FOLEY email@example.com
Please join me in welcoming Joe Foley as our new
SingleTrack columnist. His introduction to our sport is truly
How Mt. Biking Transformed My Life
Eight or nine years ago I was standing in the checkout
line at a Barnes & Noble waiting to pay for a birthday
gift when I looked over at the “local interest” table that
was alongside the line. I picked up a mountain biking
guidebook that looked interesting, thumbed through
it, took a look at the map that showed the locations of
the trails in the book, and decided to buy it.
I can’t really remember what made me pick up that
book that day. I had a rather unloved Trek 820 that
I’d used to get around in college and had more
recently been sitting alone and unloved in the basement
of the D.C. row house I was sharing at the time,
but I’d never mountain biked before. My brother and
I might have talked about going mountain biking
before that fateful day, but those details don’t seem to
matter much now.
A couple of weeks later I loaded the heavy steel beast
onto my car, picked up my brother from my parent’s
house and tried to find one of the trails in the guidebook,
a place in Montgomery County, Maryland,
called “Schaeffer Farms,” that sounded fun. Within
minutes of putting knobby tires onto dirt I was
hooked and that first ride was just the beginning of a
passion that just keeps growing.
Over the next weeks and months I returned to
Schaeffer Farms many times and within a couple of
months had replaced the old rigid Trek with a brand
new, and much lighter, Gary Fisher. By the end of
that summer it was no longer a matter of whether I’d
go mountain biking at the weekend but would I go
Saturday and Sunday.
After a tearing my ACL the next winter mountain biking
became a goal to return to and road biking a tool
to help my recovery. When I was cleared to get back
on singletrack my scope expanded to trails further
afield, like Fountainhead and Gambrill.
For a while I’d been looking at the website of MORE,
the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts, the local
mountain bike trail advocates, and more importantly
for me, the gateway to more trails. When I noticed
a meeting nearby I went along, and before too long
they was the source of most of my weekend rides.
Thanks to MORE I found out why I’d gotten lost at
Gambrill, explored the mountain bike playground that
is Patapsco Valley State Park and had my first glimpses
into the Frederick, Md., Watershed. But more importantly,
I met a great community of mountain bikers
that not only loved mountain biking as much, or even
more, than I did, but loved the trails themselves and
were passionate about maintaining them.
Along came the annual MORE camping trip to Douthat
State Park in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia
with it my discovery of the bounty of riding available in
the George Washington National Forest that drew me
to spend labor day weekend 2003 in Stokesville, volunteering
in the kitchen at the Shenandoah Mountain
100. I’d heard tales of the race and to my neophyte ears
was a challenge beyond consideration.
After two days of volunteering I was dog tired as I sat
in the pavilion surrounded by racers talking, laughing
about the day and enjoying post race beers. That
evening I decided that I would ride ‘the 100’ the next
year. Strangely, the fact that I’d barely finished a ride
that covered less than a fifth of course the day before
didn’t seem to worry me.
20 May 2009
Training rides started early the next year. I read Joe
Friel’s “The Mountain Biker’s Training Guide,” made
plans, hit the gym, and hit the roads in the cold of
January and February. I rode and I rode and I rode
and I rode. I raced the final 24 Hours of Snowshoe
that year, took road trips to ride more of the SM100
course and went up to State College, Pennsylvania
to ride the “East Coast North America Singlespeed
Championships of the Universe.” I even hired a coach
to help me train.
Standing in the starting field that cold Sunday morning,
I knew I’d already come a long way, but I had 100
miles to go and wasn’t sure if I’d make it.
That night, I was exhausted, shattered, but this time I
was back in the pavilion sitting around having one of
those beers and laughing about the day. It’d taken 15
hours and 10 minutes, and I was the last finisher, but I
I’d ridden (and walked) the last 25 miles with a
rider from Richmond, Brian Nutter. We’d never met
before, but we spent the last four hours of the race
just making sure that we both finished. It was the best
day I’d ever had, on a bike or otherwise and I knew
I’d be back.
The next year I started training earlier, did longer
rides, worked harder in the gym, and got serious
about how I ate. There were even more fun rides that
year. A trip to Douthat in the spring where I really felt
that I was not just getting better and faster, but really
changing who I was. I went down to Harrisonburg for
a stage of the Tour de ‘Burg that turned out to be an
ultra-epic 70 mile version of the Southern Traverse.
At the end of all of this I found myself back on the
starting line Labor Day weekend on another cold
morning, staring down another 100 miles in the GW
national forest. That evening I’d not just ridden the
100 again, this time I’d raced it and I’d knocked four
hours off my time!
Two months later I won the C race at the Granogue
Cyclocross in front of a girl I barely knew but who
would end up becoming my wife. More than just a
physical transformation, mountain biking had managed
to pry me out of my shell and in the process I’d
figured out a lot about who I was.
There are a lot of races still out there and a lot of
challenges left to be met. Two years ago a group of us
decided to race the Granny Gear 24 hour series. We
figured that just showing up for three or four of the
races would win us the Expert title. In the end we had
a competitor for the series crown and ended up doing
all but one race of the six races as the series went
down to the wire. We did win in the end.
So that was two years ago and now I’m looking for the
next challenge. Multi-day stage races look like fun,
in that sick and twisted way that epic mountain bike
rides are fun. I’d like to take a stab at the seven day
BC Bike race in British Columbia. It looks like it’s got
a fun course, but I’ve already got one challenge and I
don’t think the two will work together right now - figuring
out how to fit riding and racing into a life that
includes our new son, an eight-month-old bundle of
energy named Sam. The 100 will always be there and
it’ll always have a special place in my heart. This year
it’ll be the day before Sam’s first birthday and hopefully
I’ll be toeing the line again.
Allegrippis Trails Open May 9
The brand new 30 mile Allegrippis trail system at
Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania officially opens on
May 9. The trail system, built by IMBA Trail Solutions
along with six other trail construction contractors, in
partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers and
with the help of countless hours of volunteer labor, is
purpose built for mountain biking.
The system has trails for every rider. Rich Edwards,
trail guru with IMBA Trail Solutions, told SPOKES
“this is a notoriously rocky part of the state and it typically
yields very few options for beginner and intermediate
riders - these trails offer plenty of variety and
will definitely help expand the riding scene in the
The opening will feature group rides, bike demos and
a visit from the IMBA trail care crew. Opening day festivities
are on May 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and are
open to the public. Camping is available in the park
and you can register online at http://www.bikereg.
Virginia IMBA Festival Set for Memorial Day Weekend
Combine spring with mountain biking and that can
only mean one thing: camping trips. The Virginia
IMBA festival is happening once again this memorial
day weekend at the Stokesville campground, just outside
Not only does the weekend feature more than a
dozen organized rides ranging from kids and gravel
road rides to all day back country epics, but proceeds
from the event go back to your local mountain biking
club. Among the rides are several shuttled rides from
the top of Reddish Knob, and The Southern Traverse,
an IMBA epic ride with 10 miles of ridgetop riding.
To sign up for the trip go to: http://go.imba.com/
FAMILY CYCLING 101 by KEVIN BRUGMAN firstname.lastname@example.org
Scouts Giving Biking Merit
At a recent school function, one of the other parents
started asking me a lot of questions about biking and
kids. Upon further discussion, I found out that their
6th grade son, Malachi, was starting the prep work for
his Boy Scout Bicycling Merit Badge.
While it often seems like there are a lot of pressures
to keep kids from biking, one of the groups that is
pushing for more biking from the boys, is the Boy
Scouts. While many think of hiking and camping as
Boy Scout activities, they also have over 100 merit
badges for a lot of other activities as well, one of them
bicycling which is an optional prerequisite for Eagle
Scout. The Boy Scouts have had this merit badge for
80 years and the 1930’s requirements were very similar,
except that the time restraint for the 50 mile ride
has been shortened from 10 hours to 8 hours.
Malachi joined the Boy Scouts last year and has
known how to ride for several years, but now that he
is working towards his Merit Badge, he is taking this
a lot more seriously. With the help of his parents and
fellow scouts, he started focusing on meeting the
requirements this past September.
The bicycling Merit Badge is one of the more popular
activities in his troop, so he has had some company
in getting this badge. Last September he started the
quest with a Scout bike hike from Herndon to Lake
The requirements for a merit badge are more than
just getting on the bike and riding. The scout has to
be able to perform a number of different activities
related to biking. If it is Boy Scouts it has to include
will cause all other users to clear out of their path. In
addition, there is no enforcement of the rules. Cyclists,
pedestrians and others often wonder all over the paths
with minimal regard for others. Next, paths are too
narrow to teach proper positioning for cyclists. The
average paved or semi-paved path is about six to ten
feet wide; however the standard cycling position is
about two to three feet from the edge of the road. On
a path, this would place the scout in the middle of the
path. Finally, trying to teach scouts to ride single file
in an orderly group on a path like the W&OD trail can
be an exercise in futility.
While road riding, the scouts are more contentious
in trying to ride single file so vehicle traffic can safely
pass. On an empty path, trying to enforce the single
file rule is virtually impossible.
While reading through these requirements, I was
impressed with how thorough the Boy Scouts were
about teaching these young men how to properly ride.
I was wishing we could make people getting their driving
license have to pass parts of it in order to drive.
It has been a team effort to learn how to maintain
a bike. Malachi has received support from the scout
leaders, other parents and perhaps most important,
local bike shops. By participating in these community
outreach projects, the local bike shops have garnered
future customers through interest and loyalty.
One of the valuable side benefits of working to get
his merit badge has to been to get his family involved.
As readers of this magazine know, cycling is a great
family activity that they can do together and have fun.
Malachi’s father suffers from diabetes and has genfirst
aid. The next requirements include performing
basic maintenance and understanding the basic
adjustments along with being able to fix a flat. They
have to understand and demonstrate proper riding
capabilities to include braking techniques and how to
ride while observing the applicable state laws. Finally
they have to show the proper way to make a left turn
from the center lane as well as an alternative when
the traffic is heavy and how to go straight when a
right turn lane is present.
After all of that, the scout has to make a number of
10 and 25 mile rides. He then completes the Merit
Badge requirement by planning and executing a 50
mile ride on quiet back roads in under eight hours.
I was interested to see that the Merit badge requires
the Scout to do the ride on the roads and that they
can not do it on local multi-use paths like the W&OD
or C&O Canal. There are several reasons why they
do not do it on the dedicated paths. One of the first
is that it does not require the rigor that road riding
requires. A full scout troop riding down a bike trail
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erated a team to do the Tour de Cure. To date, the
team has raised over $5,000 in pledges.
For those not familiar the Tour de Cure first started
in 1991 and is a series of fund-raising cycling events
held in 40 states nationwide to benefit the American
Diabetes Association. In 2008, the Tour de Cure had
more than 38,000 cyclists in 78 events and raised
almost $16 million to prevent and cure diabetes and
to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.
The Tour is a ride, not a race, with a wide range
of routes designed for everyone from the occasional
rider to the experienced cyclist. There are several in
the Mid-Atlantic region with rides out of Cooksville,
Hampton Roads and Reston. The Reston ride will be
held on June 14 and offers routes for everyone with
rides of 1 1⁄2, 12, 20, 32, 33, 63 and 100 miles.
As Malachi works to complete his merit badge and
the Tour de Cure, I will be periodically reporting on
Youth Ridership Increasing
A recent study by the National Sporting Goods
Association shows that the number of people bike
riding in the US has increased by about 4 million to
44.7 million participants. The biggest jump in participation
has been in the 7-11 and 12-17 age groups.
While there is not an official reason, there is speculation
that gas prices in 2008 and the poor economy
has forced more teenagers out of the cars and onto
bikes. It may be that the poor economy may have
some positive health aspects.
The increase in cycling by youth has also been
reflected in participation in the Baltimore Bicycling
Club’s popular Kent County Spring Fling. There has
been an increase from 31 youth in 2008 to 43 in 2009.
All of the increase came in the 4-10 age group with
no decrease in the 11-16 age group. Considering that
there are only about 400 riders at the Spring Fling,
families make up over 10% of the total ridership.
While these numbers are going up, I still hear folks
grumble about how much of a hassle it is to go out
riding with their children. Getting all the bikes and
helmets packed, getting water bottles filled then
going somewhere to ride. Then only riding 5 to 10
miles and then packing it all up again and then going
home. I agree it is a lot of work, but our children are
only going to be young once.
As I mentioned last week, I grew up in South Dakota
where I could go out for the full day and ride all over
and have fun. I remember going out on fishing trips.
I had a single speed Sears bike with dual baskets on
the back. I would strap my fishing pole to the top
bar on the bike, put lunch and my tackle box in the
baskets and put a bucket over the handle bars. Going
out was not that bad. Coming home after a successful
day of fishing with the bucket full of fish could cause
some interesting gyrations as I rode down the road.
These are the memories I have of growing up. Making
the time to ride with my boys and then flying kites will
be the things that my boys remember.
It is interesting how much easier it gets as the kids get
older. Where once I had to pack the trailers and the
diaper bags and snacks and toys and it seems like the
kitchen sink. Now I only pull the four bikes out and
helmets and we are on our way. I have the problem
that my oldest wants to ride his single all the time
and never on the tandem with my wife or myself.
The younger one is willing to ride on the tandem,
but seems to want to goof off and make me push him
around. But they are out cycling with us.
We are still doing things together and it has paid off.
There is a school field trip coming up and my 6th
grade son wants me to come along, because although
I am first his dad, I am also his friend.
TALL BIKE TALES IN RICHMOND
By Mike McCormick
Richmond, Virginia’s tall bikes -- two-wheeled creativity or
something better left alone?
“Getting on it is kind of like getting on a horse, but you can’t
hesitate for even a second,” says Noah Cleveland, who builds
and sells tall bikes through his Shockoe Bottom shop Vtopvs
“You get your foot up on it and swing over the back and get going.”
Tall bikes are rebuilds of road frames where one frame is
welded up on top of another with a single handlebar on the top
frame. The chain set is triangular with a very long chain linking
two front gears (an upper and lower) and one in the rear.
The pedals are set on the upper gear, which can make for the
mounting challenge. The height, though, has its advantages.
“The weird thing is you can actually turn a lot tighter, because
you’re up so much higher and you don’t feel the bike,”
Cleveland told SPOKES.
“Most of the times you get to an intersection and you either
learn how to stall, turn tight circles, or go down streets you don’t
want to go down.”
And as compared to a penny farthing (a high wheeled bike),
Cleveland notes similarities and differences. “You don’t have
that weird stiff feeling that you have on a penny farthing,” he
says. “But it will flip over like a penny farthing – a penny farthing
will flip over forwards, a tall bike, you try to pop a wheelie,
you’re going off the back.”
That unpredictability, though, is unsettling. “We don’t build
them,” says Luke Stevens, owner of Bunnyhop Bike Shop, in
Richmond. “To assume that risk, you have to build it yourself.”
Dennis Throckmorton, a mechanic at Rowlett’s Bicycles, estimates
there are about 60 tall bikes in River City. He’s built a few,
ridden a few, and helped friends build them. “The tricky part is
Photo Jake Orness
BIG AIR JEFF LENOSKY COMING TO
Professional mountain bike free rider Jeff Lenosky will unveil
a unique bike competition at Richmond, Virginia’s recently
announced Dominion Riverrock set for May 15-16.
“The competition will be open to pro riders from around the
U.S.,” says Lenosky, who will be constructing a side-by-side
race course at Brown’s Island Park. “The overall winner will
be the one who does the best aerial stunts combined with the
fastest time. The emphasis is on the trick, and the obstacles
are 100 percent manmade. Brown’s Island is cool because
there’s a good elevation change – probably 30 to 40 feet of
drop over a half mile course.”
Dominion Riverrock, which is a celebration of river culture
and recreation will also have the Urban Assault Mountain Bike
Race, the James River Scramble Trail Run, the Filthy 5k Mud
Run, the Jammin’ on the James Boatercross whitewater kayak,
a free concert by Rusted Root and many more activities.
Go to www.sportsbackers.org for more info.
that both of the headsets need to be in a perfectly straight line,”
he says. “It has to be built around the steering.”
Throckmorton reckons the tall bike concept came to Richmond
area from Portland, Oregon. They can be found in other areas
of the country, as well. And he points out that the added wind
resistance and weight make it impractical for long rides, more of
a city bike with a certain cache.
“It’s been dubbed a ‘hey, look at me bike,’” chuckles
COMMUTER CONNECTION by RON CASSIE email@example.com
Bike to Work Day, May 15
It seems a remarkable coincidence looking back. The
very same year the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956
launched the construction of America’s interstate
highway system; the League of American Bicyclists
launched their first Bike to Work Day.
Now, after a half-century of suburban and ex-urban
sprawl, car dependence, the celebration of the V-8
engine, as well as the dismantling of mass and alternative
transportation options, the long campaign for
healthy, sustainable commuting infrastructure appears
to have turned the corner.
Eric Gilliland, executive director of the Washington
Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), told SPOKES
that he expects 7,500 bicyclists to pre-register for this
year’s event scheduled for May 15.
“This is the 37th or 38th Bike to Work Day event in
the Washington, D.C. area, it’s been going on for a
longtime and it is one of the biggest in the country,”
Sponsored by WABA and Commuter Connections,
26 “pit stops” have been set up all over the region,
offering “newbies” the opportunity to ride into the
city with experienced commuter convoys and meet
other bicyclists (and colleagues) at Freedom Plaza
on Pennsylvania Ave. (Commuter Connections is
a program of Metropolitan Washington Council of
The rally at Freedom Plaza, scheduled from 8-9 a.m.,
will include music from D.J.’s, and the Tune-ups, coffee
and bagels, a raffle, photo booth, free T-shirts for those
who register by May 8, as well as numerous speakers.
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“It’s a fantastic event,” Gilliland said. “A diverse group
of people show up. With the various pit stops and
commuter convoys, we try to demonstrate the safest,
simplest way to bicycle to work while making people
feel at the same time that they are a part of something
bigger than themselves.”
Always the third Friday each May, Bike to Work Day
has grown into an important national event, at once
celebrating bicycle commuting, helping new cyclists
to get started bike commuting, and also drawing the
attention of politicians and planning and transportation
Gilliland noted that along with the big event at
Freedom Plaza, Silver Spring, Bethesda, Arlington-
Rosslyn, and Tyson’s Corner, are typically some of the
other larger Bike to Work rallies around the area. He
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Rick Rybeck from DDOT and Neha Bhatt from D.C.
Councilmember Tommy Wells’ office
Monday-Friday 11am - 7pm
Saturday 9am - 6pm
Sunday 10am - 5pm
added that along with sending out invitations to the
entire D.C. City Council and Gabe Klein, head of the
District’s Transportation Department, WABA has sent
invites to a number of U.S. Congressmen, and even
President Barack Obama.
For more information on the Freedom Plaza rally,
visit www.waba.org, or contact WABA’s Henry Mesisas
at (202) 518-0524 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also new this year, the Washington Nationals will be
organizing a Bike to Work Day rally May 15 from 6:30
a.m. to 7:30 a.m. at the their new ballpark. Gilliland
noted the District’s major league baseball club has
been very supportive of bicycling, encouraging fans to
ride to games with a bike valet service and abundance
of bicycling parking facilities.
For more information on that event contact Tonnetta
Brown at email@example.com.
Bike to Work Day Baltimore
It’s impossible to preview the entire Bike to Work Day
events in the SPOKES coverage-area, but outside of
D.C., the Baltimore regional events, sponsored by the
Baltimore Metropolitan Council also deserve a note
– they had their biggest pre-registration numbers ever
last year as well.
Also on May 15, of course, between 7 a.m. and 9
a.m., bicycle commuters will gather at locations
throughout the Baltimore region, including City
Dock in Annapolis, War Memorial Plaza at City Hall
in Baltimore, Courthouse Square in Towson, the
Government Center in Harford County and the Mall
According to Stephanie Yanovitz, a Baltimore
Metropolitan Council (www.baltometro.org) senior
transportation planner, rallies are also being
planned this year for the Johns Hopkins University
Homewood campus, and thru the Collegetown
Network at Morgan State University, the Maryland
Institute College of Art, the Johns Hopkins University
Homewood campus, and the College of Notre Dame.
“It is anticipated that there will be as many as 1,200
registrants this year who register, registration is free,
at www.Bike2WorkCentralMD.com,” Yanowitz told
SPOKES. “Many registrants will receive a free T-shirt,
tire gauge and a free Adventure Cycling membership
voucher as well as useful information from
Household Travel Survey
The Metropolitan Washington Council of
Governments, which supports Commuter
Connections, its outreach arm - one of the co-sponsors
of Bike to Work Day – recently completed its
2007/2008 Household travel survey.
The results were part of data collected from more
than 10,000 households in the region.
According to the survey, the majority of all daily trips,
56.7 percent, are made by automobile with single
drivers. The next closest “mode” of transportation,
are automobile trips that include a passenger at 23.6
Walking at 8.6 percent, mass transit at 6.2 percent,
school bus at 3.7 percent and “bike/other” followed
last at 1.2 percent.
While the relatively low percentage of daily bike trips
would appear disheartening, Mike Farrell said that
number fails to demonstrate significant increases in
bicycle commuting in several jurisdictions.
“I think the big story is that jurisdictions that have
been pushing hard for mix-use transportation, such
as D.C., definitely Arlington and Alexandria, are see-
24 May 2009
ing more people commuting,” Farrell said. “Arlington
and Alexandria have the seen the largest increases
Along with progress seen in jurisdictions that have
made a commitment to improving bicycling infrastructure,
the other encouraging news from the data
is the actual median length of daily trips – by car
– remains remarkably short. Bikeable, in other words.
The median single driver automobile trip, according
to the survey, clocked in at 4 miles. And, a full onequarter
of those trips, were only 1.5 miles long.
The median car trips with passenger were even shorter,
at 2.8 miles, and a full one-quarter of those lasted
just 1.2 miles.
As measured by purpose, shopping and meal trips
far out-measured anything else, at 30 percent. Work
trips were the second-most common overall, at 16
percent, followed by personal business at 13 percent,
social/recreation at 12 percent and picking someone
or something up at 11 percent. School trips followed
at 8 percent.
The Metropolitan Washington Council of
Governments completed its bicycle and pedestrian
plan for the national capital region three years, with a
goal of making pedestrian safety a priority over vehicle
movement, and accommodating pedestrians and
bicyclists into transportation projects, such as the new
Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
The plan also is designed to connect trails throughout
the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
Overall, if completed, the regional projects, some of
which have been funded – others not – would add 680
new miles of paths and bicycle lanes, as well as other
facilities to the region’s transportation system.
The 2006 plan’s estimated cost for approximately 350
bicycle and pedestrian projects, is $530 million, and
was the first regional bicycle plan since 1995 when
it was formally adopted and the first-ever regional
“The biggest success of the past three years (since
the plan was adopted) has been in the increase in
bicycle lanes, bike parking, bike sharing projects,”
Farrell said. “The District, Alexandria, Arlington and
Montgomery County have been leading the way with
bike lanes. Fairfax has too, through it’s building wide
the sidewalks next to roads for bikes.”
A critical project that is close to fruition, Farrell
added, is the Metropolitan Branch Trail, a proposed
eight-mile multi-use trail that runs from Silver Spring
to Union Station in the District. It also includes a segment
that will connect the MBT at Fort Totten to the
Anacostia Tributaries System in Hyattsville, Md., and a
connection to the National Mall.
The Metropolitan Branch Trail will provide direct
access to seven of the Metro’s Red Line stations, as
well as connecting the Washington area’s trail network
at the Capital Crescent Trail and the East Coast
Rent A Bike Now
A couple of years ago George Gill took what proved
to be a very frustrating business trip to Dallas. A serious
cyclist, riding about 4,000 miles a year, Gill found
himself with a free afternoon and couldn’t find a bike
shop to rent him wheels. In an unfamiliar city, trying
to locate the store closest nearby on short notice, simply
took too long. He ultimately gave up.
“I thought there has to be a better way,” Gill told
He literally began writing a business plan on
American Airlines napkins on the flight home.
His new company, RentaBikeNow.com, launched last
month offering bike rentals in 144 cities across North
It is the first coast-to-coast bike rental service that provides
bikes, accessories and tours so business, recreational
and social travelers can easily find bikes – and
riding maps - wherever they go. Basically, founder
George Gill said, the idea is a bit similar to what Avis
or Hertz does – rent a car, choose the make and
model from cooperating bike shops, the dates you
need the bike and arrange it all online ahead of time.
“We’ve been working about 18 months, quietly getting
the bike shops on board,” Gill said. “We have close to
200 now.” Locally, they’ve got bike shops on board in
D.C., Alexandria, Mechanicsburg and Winchester, Va.,
Through the service, cyclists literally from across the
globe can easily reserve quality bikes online from
participating bike shops before they travel throughout
the U.S. and Canada. It should be noted that
Rentabikenow.com is just starting out and doesn’t not,
by any means, comprehensive coverage across North
America. Bicyclists are going to have to go online,
select a destination and see what is available.
Several cities, however, like Chicago and San Diego
have a bunch of bike shops on board, others don’t
have any. Gill remains confident they’ll keep growing,
however. He ultimately hopes to take it international.
Bikes are presented online with specs, photos, pricing
and shop hours to help travelers find the perfect bike
and most convenient bike shop.
RentaBikeNow.com utilizes independent bicycle dealers
that, for the most part, offer a fleet of rental bikes
in various sizes, shapes and flavors including comfort
bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, kid’s bikes and
Reservations are as easy. A secured checkout utilizes
PayPal and major credit cards to collect a refundable
reservation deposit fee making the transaction as
secure as it is easy. Consumers pay the balance due
14805 Baltimore Ave.
Laurel, MD 20707
when picking up their bike. And through partnerships
with major mapping sites, the customer is even
provided good routes to ride on their printed confirmation
so they can review and plan before they reach
“As the environment, gas prices and health awareness
continue to make headlines, it’s exciting to provide a
service that addresses these critical issues,” said Gill.
“Now, cycling is more available for enthusiasts and
casual cyclists alike.”
“Having launched in English, RentaBikeNow.com will
quickly add additional languages to accommodate our
global scope,” said company co-founder and technology
head Ray Schuhmann, another 4,000 miles-a-year rider.
The keys to success, Gill said, is to give the bike shops
a lot of flexibility in managing their own rental fleet
– from demos to hybrid comfort rental to re-conditioned
used bikes – and then giving the consumer as
much as choice as possible in terms of the bike and
price. Of course, being online, people can reserve
bikes in advance 24/7.
Rentabikenow.com, he said, makes its cut by adding a
$5 transaction fee
In spite of rapid growth, board meetings are still held
during exceptionally long bike rides, Rentabikenow.
com, owners say.
“I’m a marketing guy,” said Gill, who worked for Kraft
Foods for a longtime before starting his own marketing
consulting firm. “This really combines both of my
He said the company began generating sales the first
day they opened in mid-April, with the first rental reservation
coming at Princeton Bike Tours in New Jersey.
“Closely followed by a bike shop in San Diego,” Gill
said. “I’m still trying to wipe the smile off my face.”
We can get
your bike in
and out of the
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FEATURING BIKES FROM:
To be listed, send information to Spokes, 5911 Jefferson Boulevard, Frederick, MD 21703 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For a more comprehensive list check out www.spokesmagazine.com.
MAY 2 – SIX PILLARS CENTURY
Character Counts Mid-Shore is sponsoring this fundraiser
at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge near
Cambridge, MD. The event includes four ride choices,
including a 12-mile family ride, a 30-mile fun & fitness
ride, a 56 miler, and a full century. The event will
support Character Counts Mid-Shore, Inc., an agency
which provides the Winners Walk Tall Program in the
public schools in Talbot, Caroline and Dorchester
counties free of charge. The lessons, provided by over
200 character coaches, are based on the six pillars of
character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility,
Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. For details visit www.
charactercountsmidshore.org or call (410) 819-0386.
MAY 3 – FALLSTON DUATHON
Annie’s Playground in Fallston, Md., will be the
site of the first Fallston Duathlon. In support of the
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Contes Bikes of
Bel Air, Md., will host this event. Registration is limited
to the first 350 entries. Event begins at 7 a.m.
For details call the store at (410) 838-0866 or email
MAY 9 – CAPITAL TO CAPITAL RIDE
The Virginia Capital Trail Foundation is hosting the
Capital to Capital bike ride on May 9th. Riders can
choose to start from either Richmond or Williamsburg,
ride 100, 50 or 25 miles through Henrico and Charles
City Counties. The Williamsburg side will offer a 15-
mile family ride on the completed portion of the
Virginia Capital Trail. For more information and
online registration, visit: www.virginiacapitaltrail.org
MAY 15 – BIKE TO WORK DAY
Join thousands of area commuters for a celebration
of bicycling as a clean, fun and healthy way to get to
work! Meet up with your neighbors at one of 26 pit
stops all over the Washington metro region, ride into
the city with experienced commuter convoys and meet
your colleagues at Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania
Avenue. Washington Area Bicyclist Association and
Commuter Connections invite you to try bicycling
to work as an alternative to solo driving. Help the
Washington region become a better place to ride. Bike
to Work Day is a FREE event and open to all area commuters!
For details log onto www.waba.org
MAY 15-17 – TOUR DE CHESAPEAKE
Celebrate the arrival of spring with a bike tour
through the wonderful, scenic and flat Mathews
County backroads along the Chesapeake Bay. Join 800
cycling enthusiasts on this tour, perfect as a family’s
first biking adventure, or maybe the intermediate
rider’s, and even the experienced veteran’s, season
warm-up. Choose tours of 17, 40, 60, or 80 miles.
Families especially will enjoy the abundant quiet,
scenic lanes winding down to forgotten coves on the
Chesapeake Bay, the East River and the North River.
Pedal in and out of the beautiful salt marshes instead
of traffic. Visit www.bikechesapeake.org for details and
to register online. For inquiries, call (757) 229-0507
or email email@example.com.
SIDI • MAVIC • BONTRAGER • DMT
Monday-Friday 10-7 Saturday 10-5 Sunday 11-4
1544 York Road Lutherville, MD 21093 410-583-8734
MAY 17 – COLUMBIA TRIATHLON
Celebrating its 27th year, the Columbia Triathlon is
famous for its outstanding race organization and its
fun and extremely challenging race course. Held in
Centennial Park, Ellicott City, Md. Consists of a 1.5k
swim, 41k bike, and 10k run. Even though the event
is full, it’s a great spectacle for on-lookers. For more
info call (410) 964-1246 or visit www.tricolumbia.org
MAY 22-25 – KENT COUNTY SPRING FLING
Join the Baltimore Bicycling Club and Washington
College as they host this 27th annual weekend event
along Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Rides range from
11 to 100 miles on flat to rolling terrain. Stay at
Washington College’s dorm and enjoy great food, an
ice cream social, live music, blue grass on the square,
contra dancing, sock hop, and much more. For details
contact Frank and Kathy Anders at (410) 628-4018 or
MAY 23 – KID’S TRIATHLON
Greatest way to get kids into triathlon, this kid’s only
event, consists of two age groups, 6-9, and 10-13.
Younger kids do a 100 meter swim, 2 mile bike, and
0.75 mile run. Older group does a 150 meter swim, 4
mile bike, and 1.5 mile run. Held at Frederick, Md.,
High School, 650 Carroll Parkway. Registration is limited
to 150. This is a fund raiser for Joanna M. Nicolay
Foundation. For details log onto www.thebicycle
CALENDAR continued on p.28
26 May 2009
CALENDAR continued from p.26
MAY 28 – AN EVENING WITH BEN SEROTTA
Ben Serotta, founder of Serotta Bicycles, one of the
world’s leading manufacturers of high end performance
bicycles that have been ridden to victory at
the Olympics and the Tour de France, will speak at
Lutherville Bikes in Lutherville, Md., 7:30 p.m. Space
is limited, but if you are interested in attending contact
Ron at firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 583-8734.
MAY 30 – RIDE ON FOR CASA KIDS
Ride on the C&O Canal and quiet roads in the western
Panhandle of West Virginia in this fundraiser for
CASA for kids. Visit Civil War sites, historic homes
and the Shenandoah River. The 10 and 25 mile rides
begin at 10 a.m, with the 50 miler heading off at 8,
and the century at 7 a.m. Tykes on Trikes will begin
at 1 p.m. For more information contact Al Levitan at
MAY 30-31 – US AIR FORCE CYCLING CLASSIC
Registration for participation in the Air Force Cycling
Classic, now spread over an entire weekend has
opened. The Cycling Classic, positioned at the center
of the U.S. national road racing calendar and expected
to attract some of the nation’s top racers to its pro
events, will now allow more opportunities for cycling
enthusiasts of all abilities to participate. The weekend’s
events in Arlington begin on Saturday with amateur
and professional criterium races in Clarendon.
On Sunday cycling enthusiasts of all abilities can
challenge themselves on the U.S. Air Force Cycling
Classic’s 12.5 kilometer circuit in Crystal City during
the Crystal Ride, a non-competitive ride with an
option to raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes
Fund. Following this amateur ride, the men’s pro race
will take place on the same course. Registration for
the amateur participatory ride is now open through
the event’s website: www.usairforcecyclingclassic.com.
MAY 31 – SHENANDOAH VALLEY HERITAGE RIDE
The Boys and Girls Club of Northern Shenandoah
Valley host this ride from The Winchester Medical
Center on West Amherst Street in Winchester, Va.,
and follow 10, 30, 50 or 70 mile routes through the
Shenandoah Valley. Ice cream and homemade brownies
awaits riders at the finish line. Details are available
at svhride.org or contact Rex Ritchie at (540) 678-
1528 or email email@example.com
JUNE 5 - 7 – CHESAPEAKE BAY AIR RIDE
CBAR is a weekend long, pledge-based bike tour and
inline skating event. Open to all cyclists/skaters, novice
to expert. Routes go through Wicomico, Somerset
and Worcester Counties to Assateague Island or
along the shorelines. Choose from 20, 40, 62.5 or
100 miles on Saturday and 20, 40 or 62.5 miles on
Sunday. CBAR raises money for the American Lung
Association to prevent lung disease and promote lung
health through education, programs and research.
Start/finish, lodging, and activities, including our
famous crab feast, are held at Salisbury University in
Salisbury, Md. For more info or to register visit www.
marylandlung.org or call 800-642-1184.
JUNE 6-7 – BIKE MS: BEYOND THE BELTWAY
Join 1000 participants from across the mid-Atlantic
region for the National MS Society, National Capital
Chapter’s annual Bike MS event in Middleburg, Va.
Choose from several mileage options along our challenging
new route, and enjoy great food, beverages,
and live music at the finish line. Ride for one day or
two. For details, visit www.MSandYOU.org, call (202)
296-5363, or email BikeMS@MSandYOU.org.
JUNE 6-13 – BICYCLE RIDE ACROSS GEORGIA
Come discover Georgia by bicycle on the 30th annual
Bicycle Ride Across Georgia. The 2009 edition will
ride from Hiawassee to Clarks Hill Lake, and will feature
beautiful scenery, historic sites, street festivals, ice
cream socials, an End-of-the-Road party, and more!
Great fun for the family, groups or individuals. Daily
rides average 60 miles, approximately 400 miles total.
Longer Hammerhead options for serious cyclists. Fully
supported with rest stops every 10-15 miles. For more
information, please visit our website at www.brag.org,
or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (770) 498-5153.
JUNE 13-14 – 24 HOURS OF BIG BEAR
Coming up on its 18th year, the 24 Hours of Big
Bear, Hazelton, W. Va. (formerly the 24 Hours of
Snowshoe and 24 Hours of Canaan) is rolling out
the bike trail for as many as 200 teams, 50 solo riders
and more than 1,000 spectators. The race will take
place at Big Bear Lake Campland. While the racing
is a blast, you can also have fun as a spectator, volunteer,
or as support crew for one of the teams. In the
shadow of the legendary 24 Hours of Canaan, THE
original 24 hour mountain bike race, and then the 24
Hours of Snowshoe, this Laird Knight, Granny Gear
Productions event returns to the roots of the original
event, with great all around riding, fun camping venues
and a festival atmosphere. The location is about
three hours from Washington/Baltimore. For details
or to register visit www.grannygear.com
JUNE 13-14 – CHESAPEAKE CHALLENGE
Join the Maryland Chapter of the National MS
Society for a one or two day ride on Maryland’s
Eastern Shore. Routes range from 30 -100 miles on
Saturday and 30 & 50 mile on Sunday. Overnight at
Chestertown, Md. Route is fully supported with rest
stops, bike techs and support vehicles. To Register or
find out more, visit www.marylandmsbikeride.org or
call (443) 641-1200.
JUNE 14 – RESTON TOUR DE CURE
The American Diabetes Association again hosts this
very popular (last year over 1,200 cyclists participated)
series of bike rides, ranging from a 12 mile family
fun ride, to more challenging 32 and 64 mile fitness
challenges, and a full century. Starting and finishing
at the Reston Town Center Pavilion the longer rides
head through scenic Northern Virginia countryside
including the W&OD Trail and western Loudoun
County. Register online at www.diabetes.org/tour or
call 1 (888) DIABETES.
JUNE 14 – TOUR DEM PARKS HON!
The sixth annual Tour dem Parks, Hon! Bike Ride
begins at 8 a.m. at the Carriage House in Carroll
Park in southwest Baltimore. Choose from 12, 20, 30
mile rides and – new this year-- a metric century (60
miles). Routes wind through cool Baltimore neighborhoods
and parks. A barbecue with live music follows
the ride. Proceeds benefit bike and park groups in
the city. Register online at www.tourdemparks.org.
For more information, call Gary at (410) 396-4369 or
Anne at (410) 926-4195.
JUNE 19-24 – BIKE VIRGINIA
Twenty one years ago, 117 men, women and children
embarked on an adventure crossing Virginia on bicycles.
They rode from Charlottesville to our nation’s
colonial capital in Williamsburg, establishing what
has become the largest, multi-day, recreational bicycle
event in the Commonwealth. In 2008, Bike Virginia
is moving north. This year, more than 2,000 cyclists
on a rolling party will visit Charlottesville, Culpeper
and Orange, plus the wonderful countryside connecting
them. For inquiries, call (757) 229.0507 or email
JUNE 20-27 – GREAT OHIO ADVENTURE
GOBA is a week-long bicycle-camping tour which visits
a different part of Ohio each year. Bicycling the daily
50-mile route at a relaxing pace leaves plenty of time
for sightseeing and other tourist activities. See Ohio
while on two wheels with 2,999 of your closest friends!
Advance registration is required. For registration
materials and fees visit www.goba.com or call (614)
273-0811 ext. 1.
JUNE 21-27 – TOURING RIDE IN RURAL INDIANA
TRIRI will travel over hard-surfaced roads to take in
the sights of southwestern Indiana, using back roads
to travel to Newton-Stewart State Recreation Area,
Lincoln State Park, and Harmonie State Park. Average
65 miles/day on the days we travel to a new state park.
Three layover days offer short, medium or long loop
rides. Or, take a day off the bike to explore the park
instead. We anticipate 300-400 participants. (Routes
and mileage are subject to change; more details coming
soon.). Terrain ranges from rolling to hilly. Enjoy
camping or lodging in hotels or state park inns and
catered, sit-down meals under the state park awnings.
For more information, see www.triri.org , email
email@example.com, or call (812) 333-8176.
JUNE 27-28 – CATOCTIN CHALLENGE
Beautiful terrain, screaming downhills, fabulous rest
stops, plus riders cycle thru some of the mid-Atlantic’s
best historical sites, including the Gettysburg area.
Three ride options include: Saturday century with
a 45 mile return Sunday. 65 mile Saturday ride with
a 45 mile return Sunday and a 50 mile Saturday/25
mile Sunday. Overnight at the Blue Ridge Summit.
Three live bands playing poolside after Saturday’s ride.
Gourmet meals. All you do is bring your camping gear
to the starting points and go. Ride begins and ends in
Frederick County, Md. A minimum of $250 in pledges
for Habitat for Humanity. Limited to 175. Contact Phil
at (301) 662-5518 or firstname.lastname@example.org
JULY 25 – RIVER TO RIVER RIDE
Pedal Pennsylvania is hosting The River to River
Heritage Corridor Bicycle Tour, which starts and ends
in Souderton PA. The rides take cyclists between the
Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. This year’s route will
feature Montgomery County to start the day followed
by Bucks County. Most of the route is along lightly
traveled roads adjacent to Route 113, taking cyclists
through small towns with farms, churches and businesses
that date back to the 1700s. Most of the ride
offers rolling terrain, but there are a few climbs along
the way. Cyclists can ride routes of 25, 50, 75 or 100
miles; all routes are loops. Proceeds benefit Heritage
Conservancy, a regional leader in natural and historic
preservation. For details contact (215) 513-7550; www.
JULY 26 - AUG. 1 – BONTON ROULET
This legendary event is a festival on wheels through
New York State’s Finger Lake region. Limited to 500
riders, visit dozens of wineries, quaint shops, beautiful
lakes, and plenty of historic sites. For details call (315)
253-5304 or log onto www.bontonroulet.com
28 May 2009
JULY 13-18 – RAINSTORM
Challenge yourself with five century rides over five
days. On day six, join the Ride Across Indiana to ride
160 miles back to your point of departure. Stay in
Indiana State Park inns along the way, with catered
meals designed for athletes. If you’re a recreational
rider hoping to reach new fitness goals, a triathlete
in search of intensive time on the bike, or an ultra
marathon cyclist, this tour is for you. For more information,
see www.triri.org , email email@example.com, or call
JULY 19-25 – FANY RIDE
The Great Big FANY Ride will spin five hundred miles
Across New York – for it’s 9th annual ride. Explore
Niagara Falls, visit farm stands near the Erie Canal,
sample wines at Finger Lake region vineyards, ride
over 100 miles without a traffic light in the Adirondack
Mountains, and arrive in Saratoga Springs. SAG support,
marked roads, cue sheets, luggage transfer to
overnight campsites, optional bus to parking at start/
finish. In honor of each biker the FANY Ride makes
a donation to the Double H Ranch – a camp for children
with chronic illnesses. No pledges are required.
www.FANYride.com (518) 461-7646
SEPTEMBER 12 – SKIPJACK BIKE TOUR
Cycling past some of the most beautiful wildlife,
harbors and marshlands on the Eastern Shore of
Maryland on rides of 15, 30 or 75 miles from Deal
Island Harbor in Princess Anne, Md. Sponsored by
the Deal Island/Chance Volunteer Fire Co., the rides
begin at 7:30 a.m. T Shirts for All Riders, 3 Rest Stops,
EMS Available, SAG Wagon and of course the unforgettable
For additional information visit www.visitsomerset.com
WEDNESDAYS AT WAKEFIELD MTB SERIES
Mid-summer evening, June 24 to July 15 - 4-race
mountain bike race series at Wakefield Park,
Annandale, Va. With 21 categories, including 10
junior categories for males and females in 2 year
increments ages 18 and below. Three races each
night: Younger Juniors (5:30), Beginner, Jr, Masters
(6:00), Sport, Expert, Clydesdale (6:55). Fun, Fast
Singletrack. Benefits Trips for Kids Charity. Pre-register
for series at www.BikeReg.com, Info at www.
potomacvelo.com, Jim Carlson jcarlsonida@yahoo.
com; (703) 569-9875.
LUTHERVILLE WEEKLY ROAD RIDES
Lutherville Bike Shop will lead a weekly road
bike ride, leaving from the shop Mondays at 5:30
p.m. Proper riding attire required. 14-16 mph.
Approximately 30 scenic miles through Loch Raven
Reservoir and surrounding areas. We keep the hills to
a minimum and invite all riders to the sport. Racers
recovering from the weekend are welcome as well.
We’ll ride as a group and no one will be left behind.
Call the shop for details (410) 583-8734. www.luthervillebikeshop.com
THURSDAY EVENING FREDERICK RIDES
A 15-19 mph road ride out of Frederick Bike Doctor,
5732 Buckeystown Pike, just off Route 355. Meet every
Thursday at 6 p.m. for a 25 mile +/- ride. No one will
be dropped. Rides cancelled if roads are wet, it is raining,
temps are below 40 degrees or winds are 20 mph
or above. Contact (301) 620-8868 or log onto www.
battlefieldvelo.com for details.
DC CYCLING CHICKS
Women’s only bike rides for beginners or those interested
in casual rides. DC Cycling Chicks offers weekday
and weekend bike rides. Visit http://bike.meetup.
com/340 or contact Susan Schneider at (202) 403-
1148 for details.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT MT. BIKE RIDES AT LOCH RAVEN
Lutherville Bike Shop will lead a weekly mountain
bike ride every Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. from
the shop. The ride will leave from the shop and go
through Loch Raven Reservoir. Distance and speed
will vary based on rider skill level. Call the shop for
details (410) 583-8734. www.luthervillebikeshop.com
SPIRITED SUNDAY ROAD RIDES
Join the folks of the Bicycle Place, just off Rock Creek
Park, every Sunday morning (beginning at 8:30
a.m.) for a “spirited” 36-40 mile jaunt up to Potomac
and back. This is a true classic road ride that runs
year round. While the pace is kept up, no one is
left behind. No rainy day rides. The Bicycle Place
is located in the Rock Creek Shopping Center, 8313
Grubb Road (just off East-West Highway). Call (301)
588-6160 for details.
BALTIMORE SATURDAY RIDE
A fun but spirited group ride through Baltimore
County every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Depending
on turnout there are usually 2-3 different groups of
varying abilities. When the weather doesn’t cooperate,
we will have the option to ride indoors. Call Hunt
Valley Bicycles at (410) 252-3103 for more information.
HUDSON TRAIL OUTFITTERS RIDES
Join “HTO’s Cycling Club” for local touring and
mountain biking rides. Rides will be lead by experienced
HTO staff and will range from 10-20 mile trail
rides to 20-30 mile road rides. Arrive at 8:30 am for
pre-ride group stretching, rides will start promptly at
9:00 am. Go to www.hudsontrail.com for more information.
BIKES FOR THE WORLD
Bikes for the World collects repairable bicycles in the
United States, for donation to charities overseas, for
productive use by those in need of affordable transport.
Note: $10/bike donation suggested to defray
shipping to overseas charity partners. Receipt provided
for all material and cash donations. Bikes for
the World is a sponsored project of the Washington
Area Bicyclist Association, a 501 c 3 non-profit charity.
Collections will take place rain or shine. For a complete
list of locations and time of collections visit www.
bikesfortheworld.org or call (703) 525-0931.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I greatly enjoyed your article about Jeff Yeager and his lifestyle
(cover story in the April issue of Spokes). I can relate,
I’ve been using bikes as transport as much as possible,
never buying a new one.
It started in my college era when I picked up a hitchhiker,
who had a bike to sell, a five-speed Hercules for $15. I
thought I might need a bike, because I had gotten a few
I had that bike a long time and it made the whole C&O
Canal in four trips, camping and returning the next year. I
also commuted to work seven miles away.
I then traded a wood stove for a first generation Ross
mountain bike, it still works. I also acquired a Skyway
mountain bike that a friend crashed and busted the frame
which I got welded. It cost two bottles of my homemade
Next was a Giant road bike that I put many-a-miles on CAM
(Cycle Across Maryland) and other rides.
My latest acquisition is a Kestrel Talon, a carbon fiber
bike, for which a student needed tuition money. I live on
the Eastern shore about 40 miles from the ocean, I figure I
could make a one day round trip with that 18 pound rocket.
I am six miles from Princess Anne, where I can do all my
shopping with my bike, leaving the car idle as much as
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OLYMPIC TRIATHON QUALIFIER COMING TO DC JUNE 21
by Lisa Kilday
On Sunday June 21, 130 professional triathletes from all corners
of the earth will compete in Washington, D.C., for the third leg
of the Dextro Energy International Triathlon Union (ITU) World
The World Championship Series (WCS) has eight draft-legal
triathlons; the Grand Final is on the Gold Coast of Australia
on September 9-13. Competing triathletes will accrue points
to qualify for the Olympic Games. In contrast to previous
Olympics with a complex ranking system and considerable
political influence, the WCS will serve as the ONLY way for
triathletes qualifying to represent their country in the 2012
Olympic Games. In addition to the prestige of the Olympics, the
WCS will have a total prize purse in excess of $3 million with a
$150k prize purse at DC’s race.
Expect to see many similarities between the Nation’s Triathlon,
held in September, and the ITU race because the same management
team who brought the Nation’s Triathlon to DC is also
organizing the ITU race. Upsolut Sports, a sports event management
team based in Germany, will partner with the Nation’s
Triathlon team to help produce the DC ITU race. Upsolut Sports
produces many international events including the Hamburg
City Man, which is the world’s second largest triathlon and
another stop on the WCS ITU race schedule.
The race organizers have marketed the DC race as the Series’
“only North American stop” when in fact DC is the only stop in
the entire Western Hemisphere. The ITU race will be broadcast
live in high definition to over 100 countries. All of the races will
also have a live streaming video broadcast. For the first time,
the series will offer a premium streaming video broadcasting
with live heart rate and GPS data for select athletes.
The selection of the triathletes will depend on the ITU rankings,
which will be determined on May 3 after the first race in the
WCS in Tongyeong, Korea.
In conjunction with the ITU race, there will be an age group race
on the same morning as the elite race. The ITU race adopts the
traditional Olympic (international) distances, which are: 1.5 km
swim, 40 km bike, and 10 km run. The shorter sprint race is a
750 m swim, 20 km bike, and 5 km run.
The swim portion for all of the races will be in the Potomac River
starting at West Potomac Park (“the Polo Fields”) and swimming
under Memorial Bridge. The race organizers are also providing
an open water swim practice where racers (professional and
amateur) can test the waters of the Potomac the day before the
race. This is a popular feature of Nation’s Triathlon’s race.
During the swim start of an ITU race, the triathletes are methodically
lined up by their respective world rankings and either
dive off of a narrow boat called a pontoon or race to the water
from a beach. Another unique feature of the ITU race is that the
swim typically includes two laps where every racer is required
to exit the water either on a beach or a pontoon between laps
#1 and #2 and dive back in. Since the Potomac River does
not have a beach, the DC ITU race will have a pontoon start.
Halfway through the swim, the elite racers will jump on a pontoon
that acts as a floating checkpoint and scramble to the
other side of the pontoon and dive back in the water for the
second half of the swim.
The Olympic distance and sprint distance races will allow
amateurs to race on parts of the elite course, which pass by the
Lincoln Memorial, Kennedy Center, Washington Monument,
White House, National Mall, Capitol, Supreme Court, and
Library of Congress.
Unlike the Nation’s Triathlon, the run for the international distance
course will not feature the dreaded Hains Point shuffle,
but will instead twist and turn from the transition area at the
Polo Fields through the Mall and up Capitol Hill with a finish
near Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Ave. The shorter threemile
run for the sprint course will meander through the Mall to
a turnaround at L’Enfant Plaza and finish on Pennsylvania Ave.
The draft legal bike course for the ITU is an eight-loop five
km course following Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution
Avenue up Capitol Hill with a technical turn near the Library of
Congress and returns to Pennsylvania Avenue.
ITU triathletes are encouraged to work as a team to represent
their respective countries, although ultimately only the individual
ITU racer can qualify for the Olympics. USA Triathlon
(USAT) sanctions the age group races and drafting is not permitted.
The fast and flat run for the professionals will be on
Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd to 11th Streets and is four-loops.
The multi-loop format is a favorite for spectators who will see
the Pros speed by 12 times.
Although this monumental race is gaining praise locally and
internationally, registration for age groupers is on the high side,
$175 and $95 (Olympic- and sprint-distances, respectively).
Because all of the races are held on the same day, the amateur
racers will start at 6 and 6:30 a.m. The pros will start at 11 a.m.
(men) and 1 p.m. (women) in the heat of DC’s summer.
The ITU triathlon weekend will have an Expo, an ITU officials
training clinic, a youth clinic, and a post-race festival. Melissa
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Merson, the American representative on ITU’s executive
board, told SPOKES that the ITU race in DC is a “dream come
true.” Triathletes and multisport fans will watch 65 men and
65 women compete in the professional ITU race for a massive
amount of prize money and ultimately for a slot in the 2012
Olympics. The Nation’s Capital is a fitting place to showcase the
sport of triathlon and host an Olympic qualifier for the sport
that Americans invented.
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