Worcester, Mass.
August 18, 1996

New England centuries cover a lot of ground

By Lynne Tolman

     The calendar of New England centuries -- 100-mile bike rides -- has grown this year, so introductory remarks must be brief. The important thing is not to be intimidated by the big, round number 100.

     Even if your longest ride to date was less than half a century, don't count yourself out. Centuries are sociable rides, not races, and most have options shorter than 100 miles. There's still time to build up your mileage, and late summer and fall should offer some of the best cycling weather.

     The Great River Ride, a hilly century in western Massachusetts that mushroomed in popularity after a nice writeup in Bicycling magazine in 1993, has a new starting point and a new route this year -- but no less climbing, organizer Don Podolski warns. At the other end of the spectrum, the Tri-State Seacoast Century is actually flatter than The Flattest Century in the East.

     No matter which route or distance you ride, you get to share the food, the camaraderie and the bragging rights. Even a quarter century at a leisurely pace provides more than the minimum daily recommended amount of aerobic exercise.

     The following centuries are not fund-raisers, so you don't have to collect pledges. In some cases the fee includes a souvenir, such as a water bottle or T-shirt. To get an entry form, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

    Daniel Chew, 33, of Pittsburgh, Pa., won the 2,905-mile Race Across America on Aug. 9 in 8 days, 7 hours, 14 minutes (average speed 14.5 mph). He was more than two hours ahead of last year's winner, Rob Kish of Port Orange, Fla.

    The 19 solo entrants in the men's race included one New Englander, 32-year-old rookie Rob Morlock of Brookfield, Conn. He placed eighth among 14 finishers, in 9:21:34.

    In the women's race, none of the three solo entrants finished. Seana Hogan of San Jose, Calif., going for her fifth consecutive win, quit after 2,010 miles with saddle sores. Emmy Klassen of Exeter, Calif., had dropped out earlier because of mechanical problems with her support vehicles, and Jodi Groesbeck of Sharon, N.H., was forced by a bike crash injury suffered at the beginning of the race to quit after 841 miles.

    Team Kern Wheelmen, a four-man relay team from Bakersfield, Calif., won Team RAAM with a record time of 5 days, 6 hours, 4 minutes (average speed 23 mph). Team Action Sports, also from Bakersfield, was second, with Team Pacificare from San Antonio, Texas, only eight minutes behind.

    The race went from Irvine, Calif., to Savannah, Ga.
    TIP OF THE HELMET -- To the juniors on the Worcester-based team G.S. Mengoni/Hot Tubes, coached by Toby Stanton of Holden, who swept up five national titles and 11 top-5 medals at the Fresca Junior Cycling Championships last month in Kenosha, Wis. Brian Fagan, 18, of Kingwood, Texas, rode on the Wal-Mart track squad that won the team pursuit, and Bryan Hayes, 17, of Bartlesville, Okla., won the 20-kilometer individual time trial in 26 minutes, 34.55 seconds. Fagan placed third in the time trial. Hayes finished second in the individual pursuit, and fifth in the kilo. Derek Wilkerson, 17, of San Antonio, Fla., was third in the criterium.

    Lewis Elliot, 16, of Fort Myers, Fla., in his last competition with the Mengoni team, won the road race, the time trial and the crit in the age 15-16 group. And Stanton's stepson, Craig Guertin, 16, of Holden was second in the individual pursuit and third in the time trial.

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