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Cyclists pedal past puddles on county tour

August 23, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

alician@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - Motorists in Washington County may have noticed an unusual number of bicyclists along the roads Saturday.

As most of the bicyclists were dampened by intermittent rain showers throughout the day, it clearly wasn't sunny August weather that drew them out.

The dedicated biking enthusiasts braved the unfavorable weather for the Cumberland Valley Cycling Club's annual century bicycle tour of Washington County.

About 150 cyclists from throughout the region strapped on their gear and took to the roads for their choice of a quarter century (25 miles), a metric century (64.5 miles) or a century (100 miles) ride around the county.

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The cyclists began their trips at various times throughout the morning at Clear Spring High School, where they were provided with maps and cue sheets detailing the tour routes.

Jo Ellen Allenberg of Smithsburg, secretary of the Cumberland Valley Cycling Club, said the tours mainly were on back roads to avoid traffic problems and to allow cyclists an opportunity to enjoy the scenery in Washington County before looping back around to the starting point in Clear Spring.

Cyclists who participated in the tour had varying perceptions of the Washington County terrain. Depending on where they were used to biking, some saw the land as a welcome break, while others viewed it as a challenge.

Andy Crowe, 46, of Finzel, Md., and Jamie Welch, 28, of LaVale, Md., both are members of the Western Maryland Wheelmen, a bicyclists' club in Frostburg, Md.

"It's a pretty easy ride. No serious climbs," Crowe said of the Washington County tour.

"Not so many hills and mountains," Welch said. "This is leisure."

Dan and Kim Bobola of Burtonsville, Md. said they chose the tour, in part, because of its climbs.

"That's what we wanted," said Dan Bobola, 44.

"This area is more hilly, more challenging," said Kim Bobola, 47. "Once you finally get to the top of the hill, it's such a pleasure to fly back down the other side."

The Cumberland Valley Cycling Club provided rest stops equipped with refreshments along the way for all tours. Lunch was provided at San Mar Children's Home in Boonsboro.

Allenberg said club volunteers drove each of the routes regularly throughout the day in case any of the bicyclists needed assistance. All of the cyclists were expected to complete the tour by late afternoon or early evening.

Registration for the tour of Washington County cost $15 in advance and $20 at the event. Beth Evans, who co-coordinated the event along with Dick Cushwa, said the tour brought in roughly $2,000.

Proceeds will benefit the Cumberland Valley Cycling Club, with a portion of the earnings to be donated to San Mar Children's Home.

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