Citrus City Cyclocross is scenic and a challenge

Published February 16, 2005

Taking their lead from professional cyclists, area triathletes, bicycle racers and runners spent much of last weekend enjoying the various cross-training events.

"Combine fitness training with fun in the sun and that's what the bay area riders will turn out for," Citrus City Cyclocross race director Lance Riddile said.

"We have a beautifully, scenic 2-mile loop out at our Largo Nature Preserve. But when you add a couple of dismount sections and a muddy water crossing, that makes it challenging enough for the tough guys," he said.

Sunday morning's temperature dipped into the 40s, causing even the Pinellas Trail casual riders to grab their turtlenecks and tights before leaving home. Luckily, the sun came out by mid morning and the cyclocross cyclists enjoyed a pleasant day in the woods.

USA Cycling racers were treated to a superb performance by one of the country's most accomplished cyclocross riders.

Professional Adam Myerson (Team Cycle-Smart), of Somerville, Mass., raced in the Citrus City event much to the surprise of the men's field. Last month's winner, Paul Kavan , of Tampa, hung on for second place.

Myerson, 32, who is a USA Cycling coach when he's not racing on the U.S. pro circuit, arrived just in time to prepare for his road cycling training camp in Tampa, scheduled for Saturday-Feb.27.

A former top junior, Myerson is an experienced cyclocross competitor, along with stars such as Mark Gullickson , Ryan Trebon and Mark McCormack .

Other Citrus City Cyclocross winners included Kids BMX champion Cody Sandford of Clearwater, triathlete May-Li Cuypers of Belleair Bluffs and boys 8-and-under champ Grayden Odum of Clearwater.

CHILLY WILLY DUATHLON: Race promoters Joe Fernandez and Fred Rzymek had brisk conditions at Fort DeSoto Park for RPM's Feb.12 season opener.

More than 170 athletes faced the northeast winds in the 5-kilometer run, 11-mile bike ride and 5K run. The list included Team USA Duathlon members Celia Dubey , 32, of Tarpon Springs; Virginia Poyner , 61, Franklin, Ind.; Bill Riley , 68, Cape Cod, Mass.; and Lois Waite , 37, New Port Richey.

Tampa's Eric Hall , 26, won in 1 hour, 4 minutes, 54 seconds. Waite (Team Hammer) was the overall women's winner (1:11:36). Her cycling speed put Waite into the lead of a finish that was good enough for 11th overall.

"This was an event to do for the fun of it," said Waite, who has two sons and is a Genesis Elementary School media specialist.

"I plan to try to get my speed back and go back to shorter distances like these," she said. "Marathon training is fun, but I like to go fast."

Waite, Dubey and Poyner plan to travel together and compete at September's ITU World Duathlon Championships in Newcastle, Australia.

"My kids are all excited about meeting the Aussies," Waite said. "They are triathletes and will probably do Meek & Mighty Mini Tri this April."

Sand Key Triathlon director Bev Buysse of St.Petersburg joined the St.Pete Mad Dog volunteers on the Chilly Willy Duathlon course. Other participants were Sandra Seimetz (Team Boston Bill) and USA Triathlon coaches Brian Cowan and Matt Moss , both Team Florida Bicycle Sports members.

The Escape From Fort DeSoto Triathlon swim .5 miles, bike 11 and run 3.1 is scheduled for April 16. It's the first event in the 2005 Tampa Bay Triathlon Series. For information, call (813) 874-7223 or go online to www.flraceplace.com

12 HOURS OF RAZORBACK: Ocala's Dave and Terri Berger will play host to Saturday's ride at Razorback MTB Park near Reddick.

Atlanta's Eddie O'Dea (Team Specialized), formerly of Tampa, is among the favorites. O'Dea, now in the Expert Class, has started the season by appearing on the February cover of Atlanta Sports & Fitness Magazine .

For information, call 352 873-9279 or go online to www.goneriding.com

CLEAN AIR RIDE: The 9th annual event is March 5 at Withlacoochee Trail Ridge Manor Trailhead in Brooksville. The 7 a.m. ride will have routes of 12, 20, 48 or 100 miles. Cyclists may use any type of bike, and helmets are required. The ride pledges benefit the American Lung Association Of Florida Gulfcoast Area. For information, call(727) 347-6133.

BATTLE OF BRILLIANCE: USA Cycling road racers are planning to ride in the Dade City event Feb.26-27. Saturday night will include radar-timed street sprints, time trials and a criterium in Zephyrhills. On Sunday, there will be criteriums in downtown Dade City for all USA categories. For information, call (352) 567-2378.