The Whole Story
By Ann & John McKinley
Calvin’s Challenge has not been known for great weather. The First Annual Calvin’s Challenge was designed as a 24 hour event to train for the Michigan National 24 Hours. We completed the first fifty miles in an effortless two hours but the 65 miles in the other direction took 6 1/2 hours as we all struggled to keep speeds in the double digits in the face of epic headwinds. After that first 115 mile loop, all but two riders ended up sprawled on the floor of Calvin’s living room while Matt Bond and Calvin finished out the 24 hours.
The Second Annual Calvin’s Challenge was reduced to 12 hours, using a 52 mile loop and a 7 mile loop. The weather was sunny and warm but the wind was steady all day. Mike White treated us to a smooth and apparently effortless 243 miles.
The Third Annual was nasty. We started out in the low 40′s with cloudy skies. Naturally it didn’t start raining until every one got to the far side of the 50 mile loop, and it didn’t stop until the race was almost over. Keith Holt kept going, however, and cranked out 220 miles. We even gave a medal to a dog who ran with various cyclists for over thirty miles.
The Fourth Annual in 1995 was great. We were treated to clear skies, balmy temperatures and moderate wind. We had 7 Race Across America Veterans and numerous UMCA record holders. Al Muldoon was first with 242 miles with Scott Sturtz finishing minutes later also with 242 miles. Both were just short of Mike White’s record of 243.
The Fifth Annual in 1996 established what we thought was a pattern of bad weather every other year. It rained, but the wind wasn’t too bad. John Buffington got 235 miles for first overall, followed by Keith Holt at 228 and Jim Paoloemilio at 221.
This year was the Sixth Annual and our hopes of good weather were not realized when an ugly storm front drifted through pushing winds in the 25 to 30 mph range with gusts to at least 40 at times. Riders were treated to interesting meteorological conditions and ominous cloud formations producing horizontal rain that felt like swarms of killer bees. Participants reported sleet, hail, torrential rains and (from the more paranoid) tornado-like clouds that chased riders along the route. There was at least one sighting of a young girl blowing by wearing a gingham dress and white pinafore shouting “We’re not in Kansas any more, Toto.” The long standing no-whining rule, almost our only rule, was widely and elaborately (in some cases profanely) violated. After only a few miles, Ann and I realized the wisdom of Dr. Ron Bell’s (Calvin’s Challenge record holder and RAAM veteran) decision to skip Calvin’s Challenge to go mountain climbing in Greenland.
Several pre-registered riders showed up in the morning, got out of their cars, got back in their cars, and went home. To those of you who chose not to brave the elements and spent the day in warm, dry place, rest assured that you were ridiruled extensively by your fellow cyclists during the post race awards ceremony.
Most of us who rode comforted ourselves in the certain knowledge that even the big guys would be slowed down by the high winds so that our miserable performances wouldn’t look quite so bad. When creeping along at 8 mph with the bike leaning over at a forty-five degree angle and the wind blowing rain directly into your ear, it’s easy to delude yourself this way. Life is cruel, however, and our excuses were blown away when Keith Holt and John Compton tied for first place overall mileage at 213 miles. John Buffington (despite suffering mechanical problems that cost him his last lap) was second overall with 199 miles. Third place went to Bob Hoffman’s 185 miles. Tied for fourth overall with 171 miles were Merry Vanderlinden and the tandem team of Jim Paoloemilio & Valerie Stephens. In the face of 30 mph head winds and cross winds for three fourths of each 50 mile loop, the lead pack completed the first 100 miles in less than five hours. Apparently if you’re really good, 30 mph winds don’t bother you that much. On top of all that, nine new records were set by the following riders; Daniel Morgan, Chris Cain, John Compton, Fred Forbush, Richard Lawrence, Jennifer Wilke, Mary Vanderlinden, Shirley Zemple and the Male Male Tandem Team of Malec & Woods.
Even with the bad weather, we had 8 competitive riders register day-of-ride and only 4 preregistered riders did not ride. This proves that UltraMarathon cyclists are a different breed from regular people. Here are some more interesting statistics:
Total number of riders starting 61 Average Age 41 Average Mileage 94 Riders riding over 11 hours 21
When the race was over, we were pleased with the results. In all, 81 people registered to ride, with riders from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Canada, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New York. When we handed out the medals at 8:00 Saturday night, each and every one of us knew we had earned our awards. Just getting out of the car and starting out on a day like May 3,1997 was a major accomplishment.
The Seventh Annual. Thanks to the Internet and an ad in the UMCA magazine, we pulled riders from all over this year with participants from DE, IL, IN, KY, Ml, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, and PA. Despite the rainy forecast, 103 riders signed up and 9 new records were set including the overall. Ages ranged from 16 to 75 with an average age of 41. Average mileage was 125.
We’ve had some good weather and some bad weather over the years and 1998 was sort of in between. We had off and on showers, mild wind (15-20 SW, a lot better than last year) and temperatures from 50 to 65. Last year’s famous horizontal rain was absent as was the sleet and hail. Incidentally, we apologize for what was apparently a typographical error on our flyers that many of you interpreted to mean the weather was always perfect for this event.
In addition to organizing this event, Calvin, Ann and I also participate, which probably is unique among race organizers. Due to a bicycle accident earlier in the year, Ann couldn’t ride the tandem so I was forced to dust off my single bike and try to compete on my own for the first time since 1991. My apologies to those riders who found themselves behind a white Cannondale with a slightly wobbly rider. After making the usual pre race speech I handed oft the microphone and started with the group. That was the last time I saw the lead pack that rolled into the 25-mile checkpoint in less than an hour. Tim Elebaut, Keith Holt, and Al Muldoon spent the morning chasing Dave Powers who finished the first 100 miles in 4 1/2 hours, about 15 minutes ahead. Dave kept them at bay until a crash slowed him down long enough for the group to catch up. The foursome stayed together for the rest of the race and finished four abreast with 249 miles, shattering Mike White’s 243 mile record that had held fast since 1993. Our congratulations go to Al who has twice come within one mile of the record and to Keith Holt who has ridden Calvin’s every year of its existence and has consistently been among the top finishers.
There were only nine women entered but they all distinguished themselves with outstanding performances. First timer Nancy Ensley won her class (and the Women’s High Mileage) with 213 miles, more than all the men except the four race leaders. Merry Vander Linden at 199 miles set a new age class record and Julie Masura at 192 miles broke Jane Vanni’s 1993 age class record.
It’s always a pleasure to see the spirit of camaraderie in UltraMarathon events since riders are really competing more with themselves than with other riders. This event was no exception. Riders helped each other through the rough spots and cheered each other on during the event. SAG crews unselfishly helped other riders and helped Ann during the day with the race. When Dave Powers came in after his crash, SAG crewmembers for at least three other riders helped him fix his bike and get back on the road. As usual, the loudest applause and cheers came from the world class riders as the rest of us proudly accepted medals for mileage’s the big guys completed before noon.
Good Weather Again for the Eighth Calvin’s Challenge! We always promise perfect weather for Calvin’s 12 Hour Challenge and this year we were right. May 2, 1999 dawned to clear skies and warm temperatures as 95 competitive riders lined up on 83 bicycles for the start of the Eighth Annual Calvin’s 12 Hour Challenge.Advertising and word-of-mouth helped draw riders from many states this year with participants from DE, IL, IN, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA and Canada. Ages ranged from a low of 14 to a high of 76. The average age was 34 and average mileage was 164. Twelve class records (including our mixed tandem record) were broken and five riders showed up for our brand new recumbent class. We also had 46 non-competitive riders this year for a total of 141 riders. Judging from the jerseys, veterans of RAAM, PAC Tour, PAC Tour Desert Camp, BAM, Michigan 24 Hours, Iowa 24 Hours, Crane Strain and Hell Week were present. After making the usual pre race speech, John handed off the microphone and hopped on the tandem with Ann. Per our tradition, the riders were warned not to pass the organizers until we passed the tennis courts at the edge of the school grounds. This tradition is important to us, since it’s the only time we get to lead. This year they really made us feel like heroes by waiting over a mile before blowing by. A major lead pack immediately formed and took off at 24+ mph and stayed together for most of two 50-mile loops. As usual, the leaders finished the first 100 miles in well under five hours. As the day wore on, the lead pack was gradually reduced to only two riders, Keith Holt and David Power, who tied last year for high overall mileage. Keith and David finished the ride side by side again this year, with 249 miles, equaling their 1998 performance. By the end of the day, the riders had covered a total of 13,118 miles, eaten most of our animal cracker cookies and tested the limits of their personal endurance. There are no doubt many stories to tell, here are a few of them: · The male-male tandem team of Logan and Norris broke away from the lead pack for the first 10 miles. Despite four flats and a major off course excursion, they covered 185 miles for second place in their class. The team is planning to do Paris-Brest-Paris (750 miles in under 90 hours) this year. It will be Scott Norris’ third time at PBP and his first time with Cliff Logan. We all wish them luck. · RAAM veteran Matt Bond covered 221 miles and earned a silver medal thanks to an intense training program totaling nearly 40 miles in 1999. · Bill Hess and Richard Shell at ages 75 and 76 covered 121 and 107 miles respectively. Bill says he isn’t coming back until he can set the record for 80+. We don’t believe him, we think he has the “Ultra” bug or as Jeff Stephens says, he’s been exposed to the “Dark Side”. Next year we will have an 80+ class. · At about 8 miles into the 50-mile loop there is a farm where they raise 4-foot tall chickens. · Lloyd Willis and his daughter Sarah both took home gold medals and set records in their classes. Sarah, who started bike racing on velodromes in Australia, placed in the Junior Nationals and attended the Olympic Training Camp in Colorado. This was her first big race after an illness, which kept her off the bike for an extended period. · Ed Pavelka started 25 minutes late due to a hotel key screw-up and still managed to win the gold in his age class and set a new class record at 228 miles. · Sixty-four year old Isabelle Sheardown from Canada met Calvin on a ride several years ago and got talked into trying the Midwest Double Century. Then she tried the Michigan 24 Hours (won a medal) and in her first year at Calvin’s Challenge did 142 miles and set a new record in the 60-64 class. · In addition to riding the event and winning medals, Valerie VanGriethuysen, Janice Malicki and Jim Lemasters marked the course and swept the corners. While sweeping corners after work one evening, Janice was questioned by three different motorists who all asked if she was OK. Apparently they don’t see many women standing in the middle of deserted roads with brooms in their hands (maybe they thought it was Halloween). We promised her a blower for next year. · Due to family obligations, Calvin was unable to be with us this year. He sends his regards, however, to all the riders and volunteers who helped make the event a success. He plans to be here next year for the Ninth Annual. We dedicated this race to our old friend and Ultra legend Fred Forbush who passed away last October. Fred had been a regular since the beginning of this event and was a previous record holder. In his memory, we have permanently retired #12, Fred’s 1998 rider number. He will be missed by the UltraMarathon community and everyone who knew him. As always, we honored our commitment to hand out printed results and medals 30 minutes after the end of the race. We take a big risk in trying to process all the data in that timeframe, but we think it’s worth it. Anybody who rides a bike for 12 hours deserves to go home with proof of his or her accomplishments. Our thanks to everyone who helped make this race a success: our volunteers – some of whom worked 15 hours straight and our new sponsor, Haldex Brake Systems whose generous support helped to improve the quality of the event. Mark your calendars for May 6, 2000 and come to the best 12 hour race in the USA.
Ninth Calvin’s Challenge Good Weather Again! Two Years in a Row!
For nine years, we’ve promised perfect weather for Calvin’s 12-Hour Challenge and this year we were right again. We woke up May 6, 2000 to a carbon copy of last year with clear skies and warm temperatures as 162 competitive riders lined up on 151 bicycles for the start of the Ninth Annual Calvin’s 12-Hour Challenge.
In addition to riding a lot of miles, many people drove a lot of miles to get to the race. Participants came from IL, IN, KS, KY, MD, Ml, MO, NH, NY, NC, OH, Ontario, PA, VA and even Austria. The average mileage was 183 and the average age was 42 with the cld3st at 76 and tha youngest at 10. Sixteen class records (including the overall record) were broken. We also had 40 non-competitive riders this year for a grand total of 202, a significant increase over last year. As usual, we had several Race Across America veterans, including Danny Chew, winner of the 1996 and 1999 RAAM.
John kicked off the event with an eloquent and informative speech topped off by some important announcements and best wishes from Calvin. John and Ann continued their tradition of leading the race for the first mile or so, maintaining their masochistic ambition to organize the event and compete in it at the same time. Last year the pack fooled us by following for about three miles, allowing us to completely fry ourselves before we even got to the Emu farm. This year, the pack started blowing by after about a mile and we were swept along in a huge pack that looked like something out of the Tour de France but without Frenchmen hanging over the sides of the road.
The lead pack’s heated pace continued as rider after rider dropped off. Over 20 riders reached the first 25-mile checkpoint in less than an hour. After two 50 mile laps, the pack had dwindled to three; Chew, Holt and Marshall. When they lapped us (130 miles for them, 80 for us) their average was 24.8 mph! This summer when they run the Tour de France, check out the pros’ average for 130 miles, fully supported and being towed by domestiques.
By 7:30 pm, the riders had covered a total of 20,774 miles, eaten most of our animal cracker cookies and tested the limits of their personal endurance. Danny Chew shattered the 249-mile record with an incredible ride of 263 miles – that’s an average speed of 21.9 mph! By the way, unlike everyone else, Danny rode to the race (from Pittsburgh!)
Valerie VanGreithuysen won the Women’s overall and tied the record at 213 miles. More women are finally showing up for the event, with a record total of 33 this year.
No doubt, there are many stories to tell, but here’s a few of them:
• Bill Hess, age 76, did 121 miles last year and swore he would never come back. He came back this year anyway, won another gold medal, and brought his 10- year-old grandson who also won a gold medal. Bitt’s grandson, Paul Stout, did over 1000 miles on club rides last year. Is this a future Danny Chew? Bill and his grandson represented the opposite ends of our 10-76 year old age spread.
• Dayton rider and overall record holder (249 miles) Keith Holt stuck with Chew for four 50-mile laps before cramping up due to hydration problems. After spending considerable time off the bike, he resumed riding and did 249 miles for the third year in a row.
• Last year, Race Across America veteran Matt Bond trained for 40 miles in preparation for Calvin’s and got 221 miles. This year he stepped up his program and attended Hell Week. The result? 214 miles. Maybe impending fatherhood was a factor.
• Simonds and Martinez came all the way from Maryland, boasting Friday night that the Male-Male tandem record would fall. They were right – they trashed Logan and Norris’ 192 mile record by 36 miles, raising the mark to 228.
• Almost no one saw them, but at the Ostrich Farm, there was a nest near the road with two basketball-sized eggs in it.
• Michael Reyes was stymied by saddle problems for the last two years. This year he was riding a funny looking ABS Sports Super Saddle which has solved his problem and allowed him to improve his personal best to 199 miles.
• This seemed to be the year for family participation. There were four parents who brought their children-but only one offspring got more mileage than the parent did. There were six husband-wife pairs. Ann & John had not only a daughter, but also two son-in-laws riding.
• On the way in to South Solon, we were cruising along at 20 mph when a pace line pulled up beside us. When we told the two 20 something guys that they were sucking the wheel of a 69 year old (David Robertson, two-time lronman medal winner) they almost fell off their bikes.
• Randy Farmer bettered his previous mileage by 14 miles, to 171. We rewarded him by getting it wrong on the preliminary results. So far, we think this is the only mistake we made besides trying to organize and compete in the same event.
• Richard Myers, age 63, took advantage of the unlimited recumbent rule to ride (drive?) a fully faired streamliner. With the crosswinds, we fully expected to pick him up somewhere in Missouri on our way back to Kansas City after the race. He proved us wrong by cranking out 220 miles, shattering the old 156-mile recumbent record, which he set last year.
• Bill Shea was our first ever hand cyclist. He is a member of the US Hand Cycle Olympic team and participates in races all over the world. Last year he brought home three gold medals from the Southern Cross Games in Sydney Australia. Despite the “expert’s opinion that no one could possibly do more than 6 hours on a hand cycle, Bill did 143 miles before he was shut down by cramps and an equipment failure, or he would have easily made his goal of 150. Due to rules, he only got credit for 125 miles.
Amazing But True!
Perfect Weather Three Years in a Row!
For the last ten years, people have called, written and emailed us to ask about the weather for Calvin’s 12-Hour Challenge. Every year, we lie flagrantly and promise perfect weather. For the last three years we’ve actually been right. Despite some Weather Channel mispredictions, May 5, 2001 dawned to clear skies and low 70 degree temperatures 175 competitive riders lined up on 163 bicycles for the start of the Tenth Annual Calvin’s 12-Hour Challenge. Another 60 fun riders (that we know of) anxiously awaited their start 30 minutes after the racers.
Riders came from all over the US, Canada and even from overseas to ride this year. Participants came from DE, FL, IL, IN, KY, MA, Ml, MO, NC, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK ONT, PA, VA, WI and Sweden. The average mileage was 180 and the average age was 43 with the oldest at 70 and the youngest at 14. Fifteen class records (including the Men’s and the Women’s overall records) were broken. Race Across America vets Danny Chew, Ed Kross, Matt Bond and Al Muldoon joined RAAM hopefuls Nancy Black, Dan Jordan and Jeff Stephens to rack up training miles.
At 7:20 AM John picked up the microphone and made the traditional pre race announcements. Following a ten-year tradition, no one listened. When the race started at 7:30 John and Ann sprinted magnificently for about a mile until too much travel and not enough training took its toll. The pack quickly swallowed us up and the leaders went on to finish the first 100 miles in less than 4 1/2 hours.
Danny Chew, Al Muldoon, Wes Wilmer and Steve Marshall fought it out until 200 miles when Marshall elected to switched to 7 mile loops while the other three headed out for an unprecedented fifth 50 mile loop. The fifth loop was a risky decision since failure to get back by 7:30 would result in loss of the last 25 miles. The gamble paid off, however, and as Chew and Wilmer continued on two final 7-mile loops for a record-breaking 264 miles. Al Mullion finished with an outstanding 257 miles and Marshall ended up with 249. Think of this for a moment: In the age 45-49 Male class, Al’s 257 miles was only good for a second place medal.
By 7:30 PM, the riders had covered a total of 24,677 miles, and turned in some amazing performances. Marianne Shepard set a new Women’s Overall Record at 220 miles. We had three handcyclists this year, Bill Shea, Greg McMahon and Dean Juntunem who impressed us all with their skill and determination. We tried drafting Bill for a while but found that a handcyclist is just too low to the ground to make a very big hole in the wind. Bill broke his old 125 mile record with 149 miles. This was Greg and Dean’s first UltraMarathon event. Both handcyclists vowed to come back next year and give record holder Bill Shea a run for his money.
No doubt, there are many stories to tell, but here’s a few of them:
• On a sadder note, Bill Hess, who was our 75-80 class winner in 2000 died late last year as a result of a dog-bike collision while returning from a club ride. We’ll miss Bill who was a great encouragement to us all and to his grandson, who also won a medal in 2000 in the 10-14 age class.
• Speaking of young riders, Don Silas, a long time UMCA Points Challenge leader, brought his 14 year old nephew, Turbo Flores, to our race for the first time. Turbo lived up to his name as he proceeded to smash the 10-14 age class record with an outstanding 157 miles. (We’re not sure, but we think Turbo towed Don in on their third 50 mile loop.)
• Speaking of older riders, Dave Robertson was our oldest at 70. Dave is a three time Ironman veteran arid is planning to compete in another one this year in Florida.
• Jerry Sears was first in the door at Friday’s preregistration and announced that he was there to break Ron Bell’s 60-64 age class 199 mile record. At the end of the day Saturday, he proved himself correct as he cranked out 214 miles. Ron, where are you?
• Brian Nieport set the 10-14 age class record at 107 when he was 14. This year, at 16, he came back to set a new 15-19 class record at 199 miles. His father enthusiastically supported him all day in addition to helping out with punching at South Solon.
• Mike Bauman whined all night Friday about lack of training and knee problems, then took home a gold in the 50-54 class with 221 miles.
• Matt Bond skipped Hell Week this year and was only one mile down from last year’s performance with 213 miles. He towed his son Benjamin in a bugger for his last 7-mile loop.
• Marianne Shephard organized a group of ten other Columbus riders for this year’s event. They trained together all year and rode together for most of the race. The training paid off as no one in the group did less than 176 miles and Marianne and Cathy Levy both took home gold medals. They affectionately (?) referred to Marianne as “Princess” and presented her with a tiara the night before the race.
• Unlike 1999, the Male-Male tandem team of Logan and Norris managed to avoid getting lost. Scotty Norris said it was because he “kept his eye on Logan this year”.
• Nobody ever notices the Ostrich Farm at the 18 mile mark on the 50 mile loop but this year there were three eggs in a nest by the road. Did you know that a male ostrich’s legs turn red when he’s ready to mate? Did you know they can run about 30 mph? Think about it.
• Howard Davis, 67 year old silver medal winner at 156 miles, reported that he is leaving in mid May on a bike trip to circumvent the US, following the border as closely as possible. He will go from Ohio to Seattle to Southern California, across the southern border to Florida, then up the coast to Maine and then to Ohio. He plans to complete this epic journey in three months at 100 miles per day.
• A big turnout of recumbents forced a last minute split of that class into HPV (Human Powered Vehicle) and Recumbents. Richard Myers, age 64, in his streamlined HPV upped his old record from 220 to 228 miles. Richard was ¼mile ahead of the leaders at 100 miles. He had a flat on his third loop which cost him 30 minutes. The cross winds were a little hairy for him in some places but he still managed to crank out an impressive mileage.
• Calvin Congdon couldn’t make it this year, but he sends his regards to all the riders who make this event a success. If you had a good time, send him a note at 1005 East Andrews Aye, Ozark, Al 36360 or give him a call at 334-445-2578. Tell him what a good job we did on the corners and the marking, he won’t believe us.
We’d like to thank all of you who thanked us for our efforts in organizing this event. It is a lot of work but your appreciation helps make it worthwhile. Our overriding concern is to provide a good route for the riders. Four of us spent almost a whole day sweeping and blowing sand and rocks off every one of the 40 corners. The route was preridden about 50 times by various people in our club to be sure there were no surprises. Ann and I personally rode (on a bike) the route two days before the race to make sure all the markings were visible from a bicycle and ensure that dog problems were minimal.
If we made any mistakes please let us know. Any other inputs or comments are welcome because we’re always trying to improve the event.
Our thanks to everyone who helped make this race a success, especially Barry Schroeder and Kathy Williams who worked late into the night on Friday and then spent about 18 hours on Race Day. In addition, Barry and Kathy created and maintain the web site. And thanks to all the rest of the volunteers, who gave up a great riding day to stand in the sun and punch numbers; Bill Carver’s radio guys who drove about a million miles to keep the riders safe; our sponsor and John’s employer
— Haldex Brake Systems, and our other sponsor EuroDuds and all the riders whose enjoyment of the event make it worthwhile for all of us.
Special thanks to Shawnee High School Principal Joe Vanuch and Athletic Director Mike Garberich who let us use the school facilities on race day. And thanks to Booster Club President Karen Mathews who manned the concession booth while all the kids went to the Prom. Having food and a place to sit at the awards ceremony was a welcome change.
Please tell your friends about this race. We always need more riders and there are plenty of records waiting to be broken. Mark your calendars for May 4, 2002 and come back to the best 12-hour race in the USA. We promise the weather will be perfect.
It Just Keeps Getting Better! Perfect Weather Four Years in a Row!
For the last eleven years, some people have doubted us when they saw our brochures and advertisements promised perfect weather for Calvin’s 12-Hour Challenge. You doubters should be ashamed, because this year, once again, we were right. On May 4, 2002, 234 competitive riders lined up on 223 bicycles for the start of the Eleventh Annual Calvin’s 12-Hour Challenge. Another 100 fun riders (that we know of) anxiously awaited their start 30 minutes after the racers. It was a little cool (around 400) but by early afternoon the skies cleared and the temperature was in the high 60’s with clear skies and winds less than 10 mph.
Riders came to Springfield, Ohio from all over the US and Canada to ride this famous event. Participants came from AR, FL, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, Ml, MN, MO, NC, NJ, NM, NY, OH, ONT, OR, PA, VA, & WI. The average mileage was 169 and the average age was 41 with the oldest at 75 and the youngest at 11. Fourteen class records (including the Women’s overall record) were broken. As always, there were plenty Race Across America vets and hopefuls in attendance. Veterans Danny Chew, Matt Bond, Al Muldoon, Tom Buckley, Dave Tanner, Ron Bell, Ed Kross and Jeff Stephens joined RAAM hopefuls Nancy Black Henriksson and Sandy Earl to rack up training miles.
At 7:30 AM we led the eager mob out of the school parking lot and down Selma road. We were quickly overtaken and watched the pack disappear over the hill toward Pitchin. As usual, the leaders went on to finish the first 100 miles in less than 4 ‘/~ hours.
Danny Chew, Steve Marshall and Mark Hekmann finished the 12 hours in a three way tie for first place overall with 256 miles. Sandy Earl came all the way from Oregon and set a new Women’s overall record of 249 miles. Seventeen year old local rider Brian Nieport, riding his third Calvin’s Challenge, rode with the big guys most of the day and finished with 242 miles look out Danny and Lance, this is one strong young rider.
By 7:30 PM, the riders had covered a total of 32,287 miles and turned in some amazing performances. We always promise to hand out medals 30 minutes after the race ends but we were about 8 minutes late this year due to the good weather which makes everyone ride until the last minute. We handed out 94 medals and amazingly, all but two medal winners stayed around for the Awards Ceremony.
David Ball from Bowling Green, KY and Ed Mulheren from Charlotte, NC were awarded free entries last year as prizes in the John Marino competition. This year we had 26 JMC riders and are proud to be part of this competition and look forward to more in the future.
We added something new this year, a vendor selling steak sandwiches, hot dogs and barbecued ribs. Riddle’s Ribs responded to our plea at the last minute and showed up with some really good food that the crewmembers, volunteers and some of the riders enjoyed all day. They have agreed to come back next year and do it again. They looked as tired as most of the riders by the end of the day.
No doubt, there are many stories to tell, but here are a few of them:
• When we got back to Ohio on the Sunday before the race we were greeted with the bad news that the road was torn up about 4 miles from the start. We immediately spoke to the crew and were told that there should only be about eight feet of gravel on race day.
• Just in case, we created an alternate route to avoid the spot and had new maps printed Thursday night, but were reluctant to use it due to a one marginally safe turn. In the end, the road crew worked until 7pm on Friday night just to finish the work so we could use the original route. Our sincere thanks go to Dennis Brooks and the rest of the Clark County Road Maintenance Crew for their hard work and consideration.
• Chris Stauffer, from Fort Wayne, Indiana, has been a regular and a record holder at Calvin’s for many years. This year, Chris agreed to help with a donation that now makes him our major sponsor. But he didn’t stop there he went on to pay the entry fees for any of his employees who wanted to ride the event and extended the offer to patrons of a local bike shop, introducing several new riders to the world of UltraMarathon racing. Thanks again Chris. Chris builds homes in the Fort Wayne Area and can be reached at Chris Stauffer Homes, 10808 Coldwater Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46845 (219-637-7010) or visit his website at www.chrisstaufferhomes.com.
• The Sycamore High School Bike Club showed up with twelve riders eager to try their hand at long distance racing. Thanks to Maryellen Dwyer for chaperoning the group and helping them organize bake sales and car washes to collect the money for entry fees and motel rooms. Thanks to this team, we finally have a record holder for the Women’s 10-14 age class. Congratulations to Stacy Lundstedt who took home a gold medal, a class record and beat all those girls who spent the day at the mall.
• This was our first year to include the highwheelers class and we were not disappointed. We had 7 entries and everyone enjoyed seeing them ride. Jeffrey Rapp set our first men’s record at 114 miles on a genuine antique, not a reproduction. Carolyn Carter set the first women’s record at 50 miles also on an antique bike. Thanks to Bill lngraham for sparking the interest of the highwheeler community by single-handedly sending out over 300 letters to prospective entrants. We’d also like to thank The Wheelmen for the nice plaque Bill presented us for including and bringing attention to antique bicycles. It was a pleasant surprise for us to get something to take home besides leftover bananas and smushed grapes.
• Long time UltraMarathon competitor, RAAM veteran, and coach Dave Tanner brought two teenage protégés from the Bloomington, IN area. In their first Ultra event, 17-year-old Bennet VanderGenugten did 220 miles and 16-year-old Mike Snow did 213 miles to take home second and third place medals in the 15-19 age class.
• UltraMarathon legend and past Calvin’s record holder Ron Bell has been away from the event for several years. This year he turned seventy and returned to set a new 70-74 class record at 178 miles. Ron is planning to do RAAM this year as part of a four-person team.
• Richard Lawrence turned 75 this year set a new 75-79 record at 142 miles. Once again he humbled everyone by jogging up to receive his gold medal at the ceremony.