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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Calvin's Challenge 2010

Saturday May 1 was the 19th annual Calvin's Challenge, a 12 hour bike race in central Ohio (Springfield, near Dayton) hosted by the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association (UMCA). Richard and Joel Lawrence put the bug in my ear about this event a few years ago, even offering a space in their van, but it wasn't until this year that I actually signed up. My wife and I drove up on Friday (a 9 hour trip counting a stop for lunch) under perfectly clear skies. Those blue skies would quickly disappear during the night, to be replaced by the gray clouds and rain typical of central Ohio in May.

It was good to see Richard and Joel, as well as Tom and Mary Florian while going through rider check in Friday night. My rest was interrupted around 1:15 a.m. by the front desk, calling to alert me to a possible vehicle break in of a red Nissan Frontier. Great, I thought - what's in it? I had taken everything out, including the stereo faceplate. Turns out it was the other red Frontier, not mine. However, that pretty much nixed the rest of the night as far as getting any sleep. Right around 6 a.m., the rain began falling steadily, though thankfully it never turned into a downpour. Riders began lining up for the mass start about 7:15, and we were off at 7:30 on the 50.5 mile loop. The goal is to ride as many complete loops as possible, and then switch to a 7 mile loop for whatever remaining time you have before the 7:30 p.m. cutoff. The short loop does not open until 3:30 p.m. Riders could stop at the two rest stops (main staging area at Shawnee High School and another halfway around the long loop), or anywhere on their own, but the clock continued to run.

There were classes and categories for just about every kind of bike and rider - male and female, 10 to 83, tandems, recumbents, HPVs, even a couple of highwheelers. The rain stopped around 11 a.m. but the wind continued so there were some sections with stiff headwinds. The routes were mostly flat, very low traffic back roads. Moderate temperatures (65 to 75 F) prevailed.

Congratulations to Mary Florian for coming in first in her class. Joel and Tom (both veterans several times over of this event) each took home a "Non-medal Medal" for completing the UMCA "baseline" of riding at least 200 miles in 12 hours (they both had a comfortable margin). I did just surpass my own goal of 160 (161) so I left feeling like the mission was accomplished.

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