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    Trail anniversary celebrations set


    © St. Petersburg Times, published November 15, 2000

    Merchants in downtown Clearwater are preparing for a farmer's market, outdoor carnival and other Dec. 2 activities to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Pinellas Trail.

    Most communities bordering the 34-mile long trail are planning to join the festivities dubbed "One Big Block Party."

    About 90,000 people make use of the linear park each month, including cyclists, runners, skaters, walkers and those who enjoy the outdoors.

    On Dec. 2, there will be activities from 9 a.m. through 2 p.m. at Taylor Park in Largo. That's where the trail's first section opened a decade ago.

    At 10 a.m. there will be a dedication ceremony, followed by musical entertainment, safety exhibits, a bike rodeo for kids and kayak demos.

    Seminole City Hall Park will be the site of a noon gathering, which coincides with the 30th anniversary of the city.

    Celebrations will last until 9 p.m. For more information, call 391-8345.

    Taste Of Tarpon patrons will mix in with cyclists pedalling north to Tarpon Springs on that Saturday.

    From 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., there will be tours of historic homes, model train exhibits and performances by the Tarpon Springs Gospel Choir and the Bluegrass Parlor Band. Call 942-5611 for more details.

    On the north end of the Pinellas Trail, the quaint community of Crystal Beach will play host from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Live Oak Park.

    Featured will be a fishing tournament, canoe and kayak demos, a community fish fry and exhibits by Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Call 787-4931.

    Designated earlier this year as White House Community Millennium Trail and featured in the 1999 American Rails To Trails Conservancy Calendar, the Pinellas Trail is a source of pride for county cyclists, triathletes and runners.

    For further information on the "One Big Block Party", call 562-4811.

    PRO DRUG SCANDALS: After more than two years of denial, Festina rider Richard Virenque finally admitted in French court to taking the banned hormone erythropoietin.

    Virenque, popular with bay area fans and many other Americans who follow the sport, is expected to receive a suspended jail sentence and a hefty fine.

    According to the French cycling press, the law in that country doesn't actually recognize this type of drug use as a criminally punishable offense.

    Sylvie Voet, wife of Festina physiotherapist Willy Voet, told a French court last month that there were more drugs than food in her refrigerator, which were for Festina riders.

    The Paris prosecuting office has launched a preliminary inquiry into doping allegations about the U.S. Postal Cycling Team, which included Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.

    Prosecutors received an anonymous note saying TV journalists had gathered information about dope suspicions in Armstrong's team.

    The French drug squad, in charge of the case, hasn't found any evidence, the source said.

    TRIATHLONS: Promoter York Somerville of Pinellas Park has been sharing ideas with Ironman champion Joe Bonness of Naples.

    Bonness, who barely can get work and training in because he always is being interrupted by ESPN reporters ringing his phone off the hook, was on national TV last week.

    He was wearing St. Pete Mad Dog attire and three Ironman triathlon competitors' plastic bracelets.

    Bonness made Ironman history with his third-place finish in Kona, seventh-place showing in the Great Floridian Ironman national championship and a Masters victory in the Isuzu Ironman Florida in Panama City Beach (9:32:51) on Oct. 21.

    Somerville and Bonness organize their local off-season, off-road multisports events, with Bonness playing host to the three-part "Sand & Stone" series coming up in Naples and Somerville reinventing triathlons in the mud for Brooksville's "Heaven & Hell" series.

    The USA Triathlon-sanctioned "Next Generation Off-Road Series" will be the first of Somerville's events for 2001.

    Race dates for the Brooksville Gran Canyon course are Jan. 14, Feb. 11 and March 4.

    A $1,000 tag team championship will be featured.

    SUNSHINE STATE GAMES: Somerville has been awarded the National Off Road Bicycling Association event, which is scheduled for April 8 in Brooksville.

    For further information, call (727) 527-8869, or e-mail Somerville at

    AZTEK SERIES: Several bay area mountain bike racers scored well in the state points series after Round 5 in Gainesville last weekend..

    Expert women: Geri Laverty and Shelly Allen, of Pinellas Park. Masters: Tom Schiferl and Lance Riddile, of Largo. Juniors: Chad Schiferl, Kirsten Fee, who's undefeated. Clydesdale: Chuck Fee. And in the class for riders 6-8, Austin Fee.

    Other top bikers included Tampa's Steve Zdawczynski, Masters; R.J. White of Riverview and Ted Potyka; St. Petersburg's Mike Lenas, Juniors; and Joshua Wincott (Team Marin/Flatland), in the top 3-5 class.

    Double points will be up for grabs Saturday and Sunday at Oleta River State Park in north Miami.

    12 HOURS OF OLETA: North Miami's Oleta River State Park is the site of the "12 Hours Of Oleta" , which is scheduled for Dec. 2 from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

    Teams must consist of four persons, and individual riders are welcome to compete.

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