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Cyclo-cross race benefits breast cancer awareness

October 12, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

alician@herald-mail.com

Tim Lung's wife, Janet Lung, is a breast cancer survivor and vice president of Breast Cancer Awareness - Cumberland Valley. Tim, a member of the Antietam Velo Club, regularly promotes bicycling races in the area.

Last October, while Janet was involved in fund-raising for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Tim came up with the idea to sponsor a cyclo-cross race to support her efforts. Tim Lung, 49, of Hagerstown, said the idea fell into place because cyclo-cross - a combination of mountain bike racing, road bike racing and cross-country running - is traditionally a fall/winter event.

"I was trying to think how I could support it and I thought, 'October fall a cyclo-cross event,'" Tim Lung said. Following about eight weeks of preparation by Tim Lung and co-promoter, Joseph Jefferson, 39, of Hagers-town, the event took place Saturday, Oct. 9, on the grounds of South Hagerstown High School from 7 a.m. until mid-afternoon.

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Tim Lung said the race was special to him, not only because it was the first cyclo-cross race he is aware of in the Washington County area, but because he worked with his wife so proceeds would benefit breast cancer awareness programs in the area.

"It's a cause close to her and to me, too," Tim Lung said.

Jefferson handled marketing and sponsorship, securing backing from Younger Toyota Inc., Tischer Surety, Antietam Velo Club and Clif Bar Inc. Tim Lung managed logistics, including time, place and the establishment of the cyclo-cross course. The approximately two-mile route ran across grass and pavement and included man-made barriers.

"It was a good course, a fast course," said Randy Root, 49, of Sterling, Va., the second-place winner of the Master Men 35 and older division race. "There are not a lot of hills, but they have a lot of turns to try to slow us down that way."

Melanie Swartz, 27, of Reston, Va., agreed.

"It was different than most (courses) in the MidAtlantic region. It was flatter and showcased a different set of skills. It was about speed-type skills," Swartz said.

Swartz was the first-place winner of the Women's A division. The race was part of the MidAtlantic Bicycle Racing Association series. Jefferson said the cyclo-cross event drew more than 100 racers from the region, each of whom paid $10 to $25 in registration fees. He said he believes Hagerstown's close proximity to Interstate 70 was helpful in drawing cyclists from Pittsburgh, Wilmington, Del., and the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas.

Cyclists won prizes ranging from $25 to $300.

"Most of the cyclists don't actually race for the prizes," Jefferson said. "They do it because they want to race and because it's for a good cause."

Jefferson said he hopes to make the cyclo-cross race an annual event in Washington County.

Janet Lung said the proceeds from the race will go toward providing mammograms for area women, providing restaurant gift certificates for patients who are receiving chemotherapy treatments and other programs.

"The money raised here stays here," Janet Lung said.

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