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Fall Finds Santa Cruz Cyclists at Home and Abroad

By Karen Kefauver - Sentinel correspondent
October 2, 2009
Link to Sentinel article


Fall cycling events in Santa CruzOctober is a pivotal month for cyclists of all stripes in Santa Cruz.


On Thursday, hundreds of kids and adults participated
in the 11th annual fall Bike to Work/School Day, munching on free
breakfasts throughout the county. Perhaps some day one of those kids
will be inspired to follow in the tire tracks of Bart Coddington, 65,
who completed a three-month, 4,191-mile cross-country bike trip from his
home in Santa Cruz to attend his 47th high school reunion in Rye, N.Y.,
today.


"I made it to Rye and with a day to spare," wrote
Coddington on his blog, crazyguyonabike.com. "The ride is over, but it
has not yet sunk in. For three months, I have been getting up each day
and riding. I do not have to do that tomorrow."


The President of the Santa Cruz County Cycling Club
also promised, "I will not complain about our roads in California any
more. Most of the roads the last two days have lots of missing pavement
and very poor patching. When you have no shoulder it is a real dance
with the cars and getting around spots that could throw you off your
bike."


While Coddington's grand adventure on two wheels has
ended safely [he will fly home], another group of intrepid cyclists will
go even father afield.


Six women from Santa Cruz County -- Janet Fogel,
Marilyn Marzell, JoAnn Smith, Lilly Ann Popken, Jane Dejarnette and
Betsy Schwartz -- will join Follow The Women [FTW]. The organization is
hosting an Oct.


8-21 ride through Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the West
Bank. The ride, named "Pedal for Peace," will be a demanding
undertaking for the experienced cyclists, all members of the Santa Cruz
County Cycling Club. The local riders comprise half of the United States
team. There are 30 countries sending women to bicycle at this event [followthewomen.com].


"The most inspiring part of this ride is the hope
that we will empower women to have a voice in the peace process, just as
the bicycle helped emancipate women in this country 100 years ago,"
said Popken.


But you don't need to pedal to New York or cycle in
the Middle East to find a great biking experience. Right here in our own
backyard, there are several exciting cycling events coming up.


First, AEG, the company that puts on the Amgen Tour
of California, will announce later this month, possibly Oct. 22, whether
Santa Cruz will host a stage of the 2010 edition of this multi-day
professional road race, which attracts some of the world's best
cyclists. Last winter, Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer joined other
international cycling stars in Stage 2, which concluded in Santa Cruz.
Despite intermittent episodes of pouring rain, thousands turned out to
watch the racers duke it out across the finish line on Front Street in
downtown Santa Cruz. The TOC will take place in May next year with hopes
of avoiding the downpours that plagued the race last winter.


Finally, mark your calendars for one of the most
colorful events coming up in the cyclocross scene: the Halloween Race.
Put on by Surf City Cyclocross and the women's team Velo Bella, it will
happen Oct. 31 at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville. The
race to see features cyclists in outlandish costumes jumping over
obstacles and running up hills.


New and experienced cyclocross riders can prepare for
the race wit a skills clinic hosted by the Velo Bellas on Oct. 10, the
day before the first Surf City Race of the season. For more information
on the Halloween race and the Surf City cyclocross series, visit
cyclo-x.com/schedule.html.


Karen Kefauver, karenkefauver.com, is a freelance journalist who also blogs weekly about bicycling for the Sentinel at santacruzlive.com/blogs/outside.

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