Worcester, Mass.
August 10, 1997

Century season expanded

By Lynne Tolman

   Century season, the summer-fall stretch when cyclists make it a goal to ride 100 miles in a day, is starting earlier and earlier every year.  With only so many weekends in September, many New England bike clubs have booked August dates for their big events.
   Most centuries offer shorter options, and the point is not to race to the finish but to enjoy the route.  These rides are a chance for clubs to show off their favorite roads to folks from different areas, and for all riders to share the challenge and camaraderie of a healthy day out.
   Mountains are often featured.  Some are summits to be conquered, as in the Cadillac Mountain Challenge in Mount Desert Island, Maine.  Others are scenic backdrops, as in the Mad River Valley Century that runs amid Vermont's Green Mountains or the Major Taylor Century with a view of Mount Monadnock from Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge, N.H.
  Organizers of the Great River Ride in western Massachusetts, which has more than 7,000 feet of climbing, have yet to determine whether they will use the traditional starting point in Westfield or last year's stand-in site in nearby Woronoco, a section of Russell.
  The gentlest terrain is at the seashore, on the Tri-State Seacoast Century starting in Hampton Beach, N.H., and The Flattest Century in the East out of Tiverton, R.I.
   Except for the Steeple Chase, the Oceanside Bike Fest and the Dan Michaud Century for Cancer, 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, or a post-ride barbecue.  Call to find out starting times and signup procedures; if a mailing address is listed, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to get an entry form.

   Wolfgang Fasching from Austria won the Race Across America, crossing the finish line Aug. 2 in Savannah, Ga., after 9 days, 4 hours, 50 minutes on the road.  He was one of nine solo riders to officially complete the 3,050-mile race; 21 had started in Irvine, Calif.
    Seana Hogan of San Jose, Calif., was the first woman to finish, placing fourth overall, in 10:01:35, for her fifth RAAM victory.  The other female finisher, Muffy Ritz, came in 10 hours behind Hogan for fifth place overall.
   New England entrants Ed Kross, 38, of Framingham and 33-year-old Rob Morlock of Brookfield, Conn., did not officially finish. Kross was 120 miles from the finish on Monday afternoon when the official race clock stopped  running (48 hours after the winner's finish), and he withdrew.
   "The problem was I kept falling asleep," Kross said Thursday.  "We could have finished and earned an honorable mention, but we were already two days behind what we expected to do, and it wouldn't have been an official finish.  It was very disappointing to me."
   The course was longer and hillier this year.  Lightning storms out West threw off Kross' sleep schedule, he lost some time when a tire blew out in his follow van, and he suffered from bloating.  "But no saddle sores this time," he reported cheerfully.  "And I can't say enough about the crew."
   There were also two New Englanders in the team division:  Ray Collins, 36, and Tiffany Tretschok, 31, both from Plymouth, paired up on a co-ed tandem team called 2 Mixed Up that finished in 6:21:13, less than nine hours behind the other co-ed tandem team, Lightning Velo.  Collins was one of two blind stokers on his team.
   All nine of the four-bike relay teams finished the race, and so did a two-man mountain bike relay team from California.
   TIP OF THE HELMET -- To Frank McCormack (Saturn) of Leicester, who finished second overall in the Tour de 'Toona stage race last weekened in Altoona, Pa.  Saturn's Norm Alvis was the winner.

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