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Madeira Beach is ready for Mad Dog races

By JESSICA FISH
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 15, 2002

Competitors are hoping milder conditions are approaching for this weekend's 17th annual Mad Beach Mad Dog Triathlon. Archibald Beach Park in Madeira Beach is where the action will be. It starts with Saturday's fourth annual Mad Tri Kids & Adults Triathlon, a mini version of Sunday's main event.

Mad Tri Kids director Wendy Johnson, who is an experienced USA Triathlon official from St. Pete Beach, says entries may be available for children 7-10, 11-14 and 15-and-older. She says parents should know that safety is her main concern.

"We have several dozen volunteers already and four police officers just for the kids race," Johnson said. "It's going to be safety first out there, and seeing them all finish and having lots of fun."

The kids event will be a true triathlon, with a Gulf swim marked off with buoys and tons of cheering spectators in between the lifeguards.

"Their swim will be in waist-deep water, with an adult posted every 10 yards," Johnson said.

"There's still time to sign up at the event if you get there early," she said. "And the kids will have their very own Publix/Hops post-race beach party, with their own awards and giveaways."

Saturday's schedule is as follows: Children 7-10 will swim 100 yards, bike 3.6 miles and run .8 miles at 8 a.m. Competitors 11-14 will swim 200 yards, bike 5.4 miles and run 1.2 miles at 9 a.m.

Rookies, 15 and older, will have a chance to get their feet wet in their own division. At 10 a.m., they will swim 200 yards, bike 5.4 miles and run 1.2 miles.

For information, call Johnson, (727) 363-0880.

MAD BEACH MAD DOG TRI: On Sunday, 900 competitors will swim, bike, and run in the 17th annual triathlon. It starts at 7 a.m.

The race distances will be a .5-mile swim, 15-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run. Divisions will include elite, masters, age groupers, fat tire, clydesdales, physically challenged and relay teams.

Local favorites in the elite field include Largo's Mike Hofstetter and Brianne Harrington of St. Petersburg.

Hofstetter is a powerful cyclist who has placed second several times in the race. Harrington is coming off a third-place performance in California's Wildflower Triathlon.

Spectators can check out the race expo and enjoy the Publix/Hops awards party. Volunteers are needed.

For information, call organizer York Somerville, (727) 527-8869; or go online to www.triyork.com.

SARASOTA BIKE FEST: Bicycle tourists from all over Florida are registering for Saturday's Sarasota Century.

It will begin at Inn Aft The Bay on Tamiami Trail in downtown Sarasota at 8 a.m.

The event will be a metric century, and riders may choose to pedal 100 kilometers (62 miles) or a shorter route of 50 kilometers (31 miles).

Tech support and food will be provided along the routes, and the $20 entry fee will benefit local Boy Scouts.

For information, call Rick Flohr, (407) 831-5142. To register online, go to www.active.com.

SUNDOWN CRITERIUMS: The final event of Sarasota Bicycle Street Fest 2002 will be the Sarasota Sundown Criteriums, a fast .8-mile loop in downtown Sarasota.

USA Cycling federation racers will compete for thousands in prizes, starting with the juniors at 2 p.m., followed by the masters, women, and professional 1-2 event at 9:20. For information, go online to www.floridaracing.net, or call Dave and Julie Holt at Ringling Bicycles, (941) 749-1442.

GULF COAST TRIATHLON: Last Saturday, 1,750 athletes and 100 relay teams competed in the 19th annual triathlon (swim 1.2 miles, bike 56, and run 13.1), a half-Ironman distance event in Panama City Beach.

Breaking the multi-year winning streak of Alec Rukosuev was professional Jamie Cleveland, 30, of Austin, Texas, who posted a victory in 4 hours, 9 minutes, 27 seconds. Rukosuev, 33, of Apopka was second in 4:21:38.

Karen Holloway, 29, of Richmond, Va., was the top professional woman, 4:45:41.

Local masters women were at the top of their divisions: Lisa Purul, 40, Safety Harbor, 5:07:01; Linda Musante, 48, Tampa, 5:19:54; and Mary Pulaski, 50, 6:06:09.

Tampa's George Smith, 40, won the physically challenged division for the second straight year, 5:34:00.

RACING NOTES: West Coast Wheelmen evening training rides have produced some of Florida's best sprinters and criterium riders in the past decade, such as cycling champions Mark McGarry, Earl Henry, Jim Zimmer, Jeff Nitz and Greg Sironen.

The latest talent is St. Petersburg's Lou Driscoll, who won last month's Bayfront Center Criterium and the recent state criterium championship in Port Orange.

Riders say Driscoll will be a marked man in the 50-plus peloton in Sarasota, and that the top 50-plus masters, such as Henry and Mike McCollum (Team MAJIC), have their work cut out in challenging Driscoll.

For information, go online to the 2002 Florida Points Series rankings at www.floridaracing.net.

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