Cyclists push their limits in annual mountain bike ride

Monday, August 18, 2008
FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com Tim Baker, formerly of Olive Branch, Ill., traveled from Nashville, Tenn. to compete with the Cyclewerx team in the sport division of the Missouri Mountain Bike Series race Sunday at Delaware Park.
FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com Tim Baker, formerly of Olive Branch, Ill., traveled from Nashville, Tenn. to compete with the Cyclewerx team in the sport division of the Missouri Mountain Bike Series race Sunday at Delaware Park.

Dave Breslin has played football and hockey. But nothing, he said, can beat up a body like mountain bike racing.

Breslin, 31, won among expert-level cyclists Sunday at the fourth annual Missouri Mountain Bike Ride at Delaware Park in Cape Girardeau.

The St. Louis man took home a medal and $150 for finishing six bone-jarring laps in 1:42:45.

Hours after crossing the finish line, he lingered at the park, talking to other racers as the beginning and junior heats took place.

Cyclist Chris Ploch, 29, said the hard-packed dirt track was "really fun and very fast" -- cyclists spend the majority of their time going 12 to 15 miles an hour, though at times they can double that speed.

Race official Bill Howard, 46, was content to keep score. He used to race, and praised the course for being "fast, tight, twisty, single track and not technical. People can go flat out on this course."

Dawn Smith kept score while waiting for her husband, Jeff Smith, to cross the finish line in the beginners, over-35 class.

FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com Mountain bikers in the sport division started their race Sunday next to Delaware Park.
FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com Mountain bikers in the sport division started their race Sunday next to Delaware Park.

J.T. Payne, 15, skipped racing this year, partly because he is recovering from a four-wheeler accident and partly because he's a defenseman on Jackson High School's junior varsity football team. Instead, he held a sign warning motorists on Lexington Avenue to slow down. He also watched the cyclists pedal by and saw Ethan Hutson, 8, take a spill.

"He went right into a tree, but he got right back up and kept on going," Payne said.

Hutson, 8, the lone first-timer, accepted an ice pack from his mother, Jerra Hutson, after completing the one lap required for his age group.

"I think I put on my brakes too hard and then I hit something," he said. His orange bike went one way and he fell face-first into the trail, cutting the inside of his mouth. He said he'd race again, though. Ethan's brother, Alec, 12, was content to watch the races, having painted his face red and yellow to root for his little brother.

Dustin Gross, a Cyclewerx manager, said registration for the annual race is good, with more than 70 cyclists signing up this year, the same as in 2007. Breslin competed with 20 others in the expert class.

Dodd won the four-lap single-speed race; Amy West won the women's division; Zac Hafner finished first among sport-class cyclists; Brad Brown was first among endurance-class racers. Ryan Winkler beat competitors in the beginners, under-35 class; Todd Hultman won the beginners, over-35 class; and Will Grumke won the 19-and-under junior class.

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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