St. Petersburg cyclist wins state titleBy JESSICA FISH
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 23, 2002
The state's fastest USA Cycling racers competed in the Florida State Championship Road Races on Saturday, battling heat, thunderstorms and flat tires on a hilly course near Tallahassee.
Spectators were on their feet and cheering as the 40-mph pack sprint finish in the master's 40-49 event resulted in a win by St. Petersburg's Jim Zimmer (West Coast Wheelmen).
Zimmer, 43, last captured a state road title in 1993, but he has won many local criteriums with his powerful kick.
He called last weekend's 14-mile victory his favorite, because it was one of the hardest.
"We had some strong West Coast Wheelmen guys in this race," Zimmer said. "At the end, it was Mark McGarry, Sam Miller and me, and we were going to set Mark up to win the sprint like we sometimes do. But Mark said he didn't feel at his best on Saturday, so I just went for it.
"It was a dogfight after that last big climb," Zimmer said. "There was a cross headwind, and it was raining so hard on that last lap, you could barely see. I never raced in anything like that. I just held onto the bars and kept going and going, and I passed everybody right at the finish."
John Tanner (Team MAJIC/Outspoken), a massage therapist from Largo, placed ninth. He was happy to reach his goal of top 10.
"You needed a snorkel to breathe, that's how hard it was raining during our race," Tanner said. "We were flying on the backstretch, and my computer read 28 mph.
"It was fun, but on the last lap, it was war, and it took a lot of horsepower to get up that 12-14-percent grade just before the finish line."
Tampa's Team American Classic enjoyed its championship success after victories by rookie Victor Rodriguez (Category 3) and former national champ Bill Shook (Masters 50-54).
The squad received a silver medal from junior Steven Carder, 15, of Safety Harbor and two bronze medals from John Weber (50-54) of Tarpon Springs and Tampa's Pat Perkins (55-59).
The Professional/Category 1-2 event beat the rain by starting at 7 a.m., but the heat and the constant attacking got to some riders.
By the end of the 94-mile race, the pack was whittled to a few dozen. Hugh Moran (Trek/Cycle Science) won it in a sprint.
"The first 50 miles, those Damiami riders from downstate chased down all our attacks," Clearwater's Jeremy Tibbetts (Team MAJIC) said. "It was like they wanted it to come down to a sprint.
"But a group rolled off with two laps to go, and it had Daniel Holt (Team Bradenton/Ringling Bicycles), Hugh Moran, Andy Woodruff (Naples/Lightning Fast) and Vance James (Atlantic Shores Velo). Even though Damiami had nobody in the break, they did not chase for some bizarre reason.
"Daniel would have won; there's no question that he was the strongest rider," Tibbetts said. "But when we came up the hill at the end, we rode by the poor guy, riding on his rim. He had flatted in the last mile."
CLERMONT SPRINT: Fred Sommer played host to his final summer sprint triathlon (swim 0.25 mile, bike 11 miles and run 3.1) in Clermont.
Alec Rukosuev, 35, of Apopka won in 48 minutes, 38 seconds. St. Petersburg's Brianne Harrington, 33, was the women's winner in 1:00:00. Mike Hofstetter, 36, of Largo was the top local, placing seventh overall in the elite division in 54:23.
Other local division winners: Quint Noordstar, 26, Tampa, 57:13; Christina Noordstar, 26, Tampa, 1:01:39; Mary Pulaski, 51, Tampa, 1:08:46; Danny Glenn, 53, Brandon, 1:00:40; Don Ardell, 64, Tampa, 1:04:03; Shirley Taylor, 69, Largo, 1:29:36; Dennis Gatto, 67, South Pasadena, 1:18:00; Larry Yost, 72, Treasure Island, 1:21:10; Jackie Yost, 74, Treasure Island, 1:42:08; Charles Lasley, 80, Belleair, 1:42:03; Matthew Stoy, 22, Lutz, fat tire, 1:11:22; Reece Haettich, 33, Tampa, clydesdale, 58:55; and Shelly Erion, 31, Tampa, athena, 1:12:26.
NEW IRONMAN AND MAD DOG: Pulaski, a triathlete and Boston marathoner who lives in Tampa but enjoys being a member of the St. Pete Mad Dogs, is undefeated in (50-54) age group triathlons and running events this season.
A business analyst/programmer, Pulaski budgets her time to race alongside her 26-year-old daughter, Catherine. Pulaski is focusing on Ironman Florida, which will be in Panama City Beach in November.
IRONMAN CANADA: The event is scheduled for Sunday in Penticton, British Columbia.
Joining the fireworks, parades, expos, street dance, T-shirt exchange, parties and racing will be Rod Jette and Wayne Watkins, both of Orlando; Johnnie Jones, Tampa; and David Minkoff, Clearwater.
IRONMAN USA: Bicycle racer Greg Sironen of St. Petersburg surpassed all expectations in Lake Placid, N.Y.
He rode a fast 5:24 split, finishing in 10:59:57.
These St. Petersburg triathletes also completed the event: Danny Nolan, 45, in 11:19:01; Kim Donaldson, 40, fifth in her age group, 11:50:40; and Doug Franzese, 35, 11:24:44.
DADE CITY CRITERUMS: Atlantic Shores Velo will play host to the Dade Battle Of Brilliance Criteriums on Sunday in downtown Dade City. The course is 0.7 mile, and is flat and fast with six turns.
There will be racing for all USA Cycling divisions, and registration opens at 7 a.m. Discounts are available on race-day entries for riders who bring a toy for Toys For Tots.
The Professional/Category 1-2 event will take place at 12:45 p.m. For information, call Kiefer Village Jewels, (352) 567-2378.
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
From the Times