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 Calvinís 12-Hour Challenge. Every year, we lie
flagrantly and promise perfect weather. For the last three years weíve
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 Calvinís 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 Menís and the Womenís 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, Alís 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 Womenís 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 Deanís first UltraMarathon event.
Both handcyclists vowed to come back next year and give record holder Bill
Shea a run for his money.