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    Floridians brave Colorado cold to try out skis

    Vacationing St. Pete Mad Dogs trekked out to the Rockies this week, testing skis on newly fallen snow in preparation for Darry Jackson's spring ski trip to Chamonix, France.

    By Times staff writer

    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 13, 2000


    Vacationing St. Pete Mad Dogs trekked out to the Rockies this week, testing skis on newly fallen snow in preparation for Darry Jackson's spring ski trip to Chamonix, France.

    Bay area cyclists and triathletes who are downhill skiers have been attending meetings at Bill Jackson's and buying parkas and ski pants at the Tampa Bay Ski Club fashion show.

    The show was at the Wyndham Hotel during Thanksgiving week.

    Snowfall near Vail Pass last Friday came to six inches,which made the 15-degree temperatures more bearable to Floridians.

    The Mad Dogs group was greeted at Keystone Resort by Muffy Davis, a para-Olympic medal hopeful from Park City, Utah.

    Davis pushes a racing wheelchair, which is outfitted with knobby mountain bike tires.

    "I'm a total ski bum!" Davis said, "I'm focused on the 2002 Park City Para Olympic Games, which will be one week after the Winter Olympic Games."

    Tanned and muscular, Davis said she knew of St. Petersburg's Scott McNeice and Michel Bond, who are top U.S. wheelchair road racers. But living in a warm climate was something Davis said she couldn't imagine.

    Mingling with skiers and wheelchair athletes, the world's best snowboarders raced down Peak 8 at nearby Breckenridge, gearing up for this week's $125,000 Van's/Mountain Dew Pro Nationals Triple Crown of Snowboarding.

    Florida's top bikers hope to qualify for the 2001 Mountain Bike World Championships, which are scheduled for Sept.8-16 on the slopes in Vail and Beaver Creek.

    For further information on downhill ski trips originating in the bay area, or the Holiday Lights Night Kayak Paddle at Coffee Pot Bayou on Dec.20, call (727) 576-4169.

    RIDE WITH THE STARS: Cyclists from every bay area club joined families and friends on Dec. 2 for the eighth annual event.

    Pinellas County Sheriff Everett S. Rice spoke to the riders at Fort DeSoto Park, thanking them for supporting this ride.

    It's the single largest law enforcement sponsored Christmas fundraiser in the Tampa Bay area.

    Cyclists, runners and inline skaters watched as a helicopter landed near the old fort's cannon and stone buildings. Out jumped an energetic group, including Santa Claus.

    Kids lined up for finger painting, and fingerprinting for photo I.D. cards. Adults lined up for a raffle, with giveaways such as bicycles, kayaks, clothing and cellular phones.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King didn't make it to the event.

    But, to the delight of the crowd, a gracious Carolyn King showed up to present one of her son's autographed jerseys for the raffle.

    Bucs head coach Tony Dungy sent an autographed football.

    "We have raised more than $120,000 for crime victims and their families," said Mike Platt, a longtime cyclist and Sheriff's Office spokesperson.

    "All the proceeds here go to a very important cause, helping these families have a Christmas," he said.

    To contribute toward the Pinellas Sheriff's Office Christmas Sharing Project, call (727) 582-6200.

    HULLINGER RIDE: St.Petersburg Bicycle Club member Mel Lucas has been helping get the word out.

    Lucas has been e-mailing flyers for the 11th annual Victor Hullinger Ride, which honors the late Manatee county cyclist who was killed by a drunk driver.

    The popular ride begins at the home of cyclist Jeff Lawson on Dec.31 at 10 a.m.

    The ride will consist of 7-, 30- and 55-mile routes. Post-ride food and entertainment will be provided. Admission is free.

    Lawson's home is the first house on U.S. 19 near Bradenton, driving south after the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

    For further information, call Julie and Dave Holt at Ringling Bicycles, (941) 749-1442. For club information, e-mail Lucas at westcoastsallyrider@hotmail.com.

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