Saturday, August 10, 2002

Loveland gears up for race

Bicyclists returning after hiatus

By Susan Vela,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOVELAND — Competitive bicyclist Tom Sicking looks forward to Sunday's Fifth Annual Tour de Loveland, where he'll bump elbows with more than 100 professional racers whirring and circling downtown as they chase after a $10,000 purse.

        After a year's hiatus, Loveland's world-class cycling competition is back, offering events including bicycling competitions for children, corporate teams, firefighters and police officers and world-class professionals.

   Sunday's Tour de Loveland begins at 2 p.m. and continues throughout the day. Watch for zooming bicycles and the following:
    2 p.m.: event begins.
    2:30 to 7:30 p.m. races.
    2:30 p.m. Lance Armstrong Junior Olympics, children 15-to-18 years old, 10 miles, medals.
    3 p.m. Regional Men's Race, 20 miles, $1,000 purse.
    4 p.m. Regional Women's Race, 10 miles, $500 purse.
    4:30 p.m. Corporate Challenge, two laps, $250 per charity.
    4:45 p.m. Guns & Hoses, five miles, for police, paramedics and firefighters, $250 purse.
    5 p.m. Lance Armstrong Junior Olympics, children 4-to-14 years old, different distances for each age group, medals.
    6:15 p.m., professionals, 35 miles, $10,000 purse.
    7:30 p.m. award presentations.
    7:45 p.m. Robin Lacy & DeZydeco at Nisbet Park.
    9:30 p.m. Rozzi's Famous Fireworks.
    For more information, visit
        Races will go from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m., around an .85-mile route to cross the Little Miami River and loop through downtown. Food and beverage booths will be available throughout the day.

        A 9:30 p.m. fireworks display will top off the day. Racers from as far as New Zealand are expected.

        “You have to tip your hat to (Loveland) for wanting to put on something like this. You certainly don't want to shy away from this. There's going to be a lot of strong riders,” said Mr. Sicking, 30, of Hyde Park, who will ride in the professional race.

        The city organized the event in 1997 and has become known as Greater Cincinnati's bicycling Mecca.

        The Little Miami Bike Trail, a 60-mile course that goes from Yellow Springs to Milford, cuts through Loveland.

        Loveland didn't organize a Tour de Loveland last year because of administrative changes, but came back this year after hiring Leslie Keller.

        She heads the city's recreation commission and has helped organize Cincinnati's Riverfest.

        To prepare for Tour de Loveland, the hobby bicyclist attended a Chillicothe event.

        While there are hundreds of racing competitions throughout the nation, each has a different feel. Ms. Keller said the river's splendor and Loveland's small-town atmosphere makes Tour de Loveland distinctive.

        “It's a beautiful community,” she said. “To go across Little Miami ... it just really takes your breath away.”

        Her husband, Rick Biehl, an assistant Cincinnati police chief, will compete in the Guns & Hoses race. His teammates will be Rick Janke, another Cincinnati assistant police chief, and Becky Hopkins, a Cincinnati police officer.

        In May, he bicycled 350 miles, from New York City to Washington. During the five-day endurance test, he was taking Advil and Tylenol for an aching back, neck and shoulders. On Sunday, he'll go for speed.

        “It's the opposite end of the spectrum,” he said. “...Win, lose or draw — it's time to relax.”


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