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59 cyclists gear up for bike races

August 04, 2010|By DANA BROWN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- At the command "ready...set...go," they were off as fast as their legs could pedal.

With helmet straps pulled tight, 59 cyclists -- including two Greencastle police officers and Old Home Week Association President Ben Thomas -- geared up for the James P. Oliver Memorial Bike Races during Old Home Week festivities on Wednesday in Greencastle.

As they prepared for the starting command, cyclists were cheered on by family, friends and neighbors.

Cries of "go, go, go," and "faster, faster," were called out from start to finish by spectators lining the length of North Carlisle Street just off the square.

The bike races were for all ages, but children turned out in force to compete to win their division which was designated by age.

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Cyclists raced in pairs and the winners in each brackets were determined by speed. Certificates were awarded to the top three finishers in each division.

The time trial "drag races" have become a tradition during the triennial celebration, chairman Andrew Barbuzanes said.

The bike races were named in memory of Oliver, a Greencastle community leader who chaired the bike races before his untimely death.

All bicycles were inspected prior to the start of the event. Each bike was checked for properly working brakes, adequate tire pressure and tightened bolts. All cyclists were required to wear helmets.

Jarrett Dice, 9, of Marion, Pa., said he liked "racing other kids."

"You did an awesome job," Shawn Holloway, of Greencastle, told 5-year-old Sawyer Brookens after his race. "You've got some fast legs," she said.

Two of Holloway's nephews competed in separate time trials.

Her nephew Luke Steele, 11, won his division.

He said he bikes all the time and "did a little" training for the race.

"They are both daredevils and competitive," Holloway said. "It is nice to have this for the children and young teens."

Greg Crunkleton, along with his wife Wanda and daughter Jenna, cheered from curbside seats. They really enjoyed the races, he said.

"It's pretty funny," he said.

Friendly competition turned a bit serious -- for a moment -- for Greencastle Police Officer Chris McGarity and Thomas, the last pair to race.

Thomas said "I was having fun then Officer McGarity said, 'is that all you've got.'" And the race was on.

Barbuzanes, who participated in the bike races when he was a kid, said he was pleased with the turnout for the event. He also chairs a new cycling event for Old Home Week, the Tour of Antrim Township Bike Ride, which will take cyclists on a rides throughout Greencastle and surrounding Antrim Township. The bike tours begin Saturday at 9 a.m. at Jerome R. King Playground.

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