Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
By William Kincaid
Bike races coming to Celina, St. Marys
CELINA - Two bicycle races may bring hundreds of visitors to Mercer and Auglaize counties this summer as part of the 2010 Colavita Time Trial Series.
The series of nice races includes courses in Celina and St. Marys and is open to the public.
A 24-mile race will begin on Lake Shore Drive in Celina on June 20 and continue clockwise around the lake, said Roger Bowersock, president of Rocketship Sports Management, a non-profit amateur sports corporation based in Greenville.
The next race will be a 12-mile trek starting in St. Marys on July 11. Dubbed The Larry Shelby Memorial Bike Race, it will start at the Auglaize County Council on Aging building on Indiana Avenue and continue north on state Route 116.
"In cycling, the time trial is the actual event," Bowersock said.
Cyclists can participate in as many or few of the races in the series as they choose. They compile points based on placement at each race, and those with the most points are named winners at the end of the series. The series began March 28 and ends Oct. 10 in Greenville.
There also are awards of medals and cash at each event, Bowersock said.
Bowersock, a former professional bicyclist and native of St. Marys, described some of the participants as amateur weekend warriors. There are categories for all ages.
"We have a class for everybody," he said.
The series includes features such as closing roads along the course so the bicyclists are not alongside vehicles, electronic timing and a professional-style finish line with crowds on both sides, Bowersock said.
"It's just not something that the average bike racer is going to see unless they're racing on the national stage," he said.
At the Celina race, state Route 127 coming into the city and the eastbound lane on Market Street will be closed, Bowersock said. City and county officials will help with the event.
"From our end, it will be the police department and then of course public works putting cones out," Celina Mayor Sharon LaRue said. "We'll all be working in conjunction together."
Lt. Bill Westgerdes of the Mercer County Sheriff's Department said deputies will direct traffic at the intersection of U.S. Route 127 and state Route 703 to ensure safety during the race.
"This is all new to us," he said about the race in Celina, which ends near the lighthouse.
Bowersock said the location of the race in Celina with the lake and boardwalk is family-friendly and "about as good as you're ever going to get."
Because of the flat course, Bowersock expects the riders to travel at fast speeds.
Deb Borns of Coldwell Bank Lake Shore, the local sponsor of the Celina race, believes the event will be a good opportunity for the city.
"I think that our city is something to be proud of," said Borns, who also is Celina's downtown manager.
Borns recently sent an e-mail to local merchants, explaining that it is important to cater to the visitors who will be in the area during the races.
"It's more than just spending money - it's something for all of us to do," Borns said. "It's something different and unique."
Hundreds of people, including the riders, their families and fans, are expected to be in the area during the two races, Bowersock said. Both races start at 9 a.m., with registration at 7:30 a.m.
For more information on the races, go to www.colavitaohiocycling.com/time_trial_series_CALENDER.htm.
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