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.