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Local riders grateful for Riddile's contributions

By JESSICA MUNDIE, Cycling/ triathlons
Published November 21, 2007


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Largo bicycle racer and race director Lance Riddile may be preparing to leave the area, but local offroad enthusiasts say they feel lucky for the Florida State Cyclocross Championship Series that Riddile left them to enjoy.

Riddile created Florida cyclocross racing with an idea and some help from Largo. And local riders were ready racing on grassy trails and hills, dismounting over obstacles and carrying their bikes through the woods.

Leaving the area to work as a supervisor for a new facility near Boone, N.C., Riddile will be missed in Pinellas County, but riders are already planning to visit him for kayaking and offroad adventures.

"I'm going to be around here for a few weeks, and especially for those December races," Riddile said. "My family now lives in North Carolina, so that was part of my decision. The new location will have so many opportunities for beautiful trail riding and other sports.

"I'm right near George Hincapie's home, so I know there will be a ton of roadies to train with, too. I'm excited about the new job, and I plan to buy a house up there."

Riders are anxiously waiting for the individual who will step up to take Riddile's place as organizer of Florida's growing cyclocross scene.

"Lance says he is leaving for his dream job," said Seminole's John Sinibaldi Jr., a well-known cyclist and race announcer. "Our state cyclocross series has already gained huge momentum, thanks to Lance, and I know he will be around as much as he can. But the place he's moving to is so beautiful, and so many local riders are already planning to go up there and race. We didn't lose a promoter, we gained a place to stay in North Carolina."

Riddile changed some race dates from Saturdays to Sundays in order to accommodate bicycle shops who wished to set up pit crews at his race expos. Many of the race mechanics and support crews are already obligated to work at their shops on Saturdays, particularly with the busy holiday season approaching.

Cyclocross races at Largo's City Park on West Bay Drive are Jan. 20 and Jan. 27, 2008. For a complete list of race dates and updates for the Florida State Cyclocross Championship Series and Florida Cup Points Series, go to www.floridacycling.net, e-mail Riddile at lriddile@largo.com or call him at 727 518-3016.

SAFETY HARBOR MULTISPORT EVENT: Rotary International and race director Suzanne Henslee have announced the Safety Harbor Multisport Event on Dec.8 at Safety Harbor Resort and Spa, 105 N. Bayshore Drive.

Henslee will hold USA Triathlon-sanctioned events in triathlon, duathlon and 5k road race, which will begin at 7:30 a.m. The Michelob Ultra postrace awards party will be held at 11 a.m. at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa.

Head to www.safetyharbormultisport.com or e-mail Henslee at zanna@tampabay.rr.com for more details.

SUNCOAST DIABETES CHALLENGE: On Sunday, members of the Suncoast Cycling Club held their biggest event, the 11th annual Diabetes Challenge Ride, at Highlander Park in Dunedin.

Mild conditions and routes of 10k, 50k and 100k attracted more than 500 cyclists, who helped raised thousands of dollars for diabetes research. The riders ranged from area teams - Team GearLink, Outfitters, Outspokin, Atlantic Velo Shores and ABC Bicycles - to triathletes and mountain bikers who got out their road bikes for the event.

"We are thrilled to get such strong turnouts for this ride," Suncoast Cycling Club member Tom Ferraro said. "The support from the cycling community is fantastic, and they join us for this worthy cause."

To learn more, head to www.suncoastcycling.com.

Times correspondent Jessica Mundie may be reached at sptimescycling@yahoo.com.

[Last modified November 20, 2007, 20:38:43]


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