The third annual Road Apple Roubaix was a smashing success. That’s what you call it when you run out of almost everything but good times at an event.

The bike riders began coming into town and parking everywhere there was a (not two-hour) space, with bikes on racks in back, perched on the top, loaded in the cargo space, in the truck bed, tucked in the van…everyplace you can imagine. Some two hundred fourteen preregistered and others appeared. The snow (Surprise! Surprise!) upped the challenge rating but the hardy pedalers were up to it; Spandex helped, the brighter the color, the more warmth, right? What with the bundling and the helmets and goggles, sometimes it was hard to tell who was who but it did not matter; it was a good crowd. It included locals and welcome visitors from out of town, first-timers and returning wheelers. The age range was broad, as well, from Pete Collins and Rowan Collins, aged 6 and 9, respectively, to Jeff Collins (aged “Dad”), to some superannuated individuals in my own age cohort (Looking pretty good, considering). There were fat tires, skinny tires, the National Anthem sung by Lisa Plisko, an escort out of town up State Street by Garrettsville’s Finest, a brief welcome from Mayor Rick Patrick, a presence by Portage County Sheriff, David Doak, Doug Shepard, head ranger with the Portage County Park District ( a local dude who knows the Headwaters Trail well).

When the whole crowd got back to the finish line—this was not a race, officially, but there are always competitors, and this year a STRAVA Go Fast Challenge, sponsored by Charles Auto Family, for bragging rights only—there were adult beverages and hot chili available at Slim & Jumbo’s, where the registration took place and the event started. The raffle tickets that came with registration were put to use at the raffle which went off at 2:00 p.m. The items on display included helmets, water bottles, earphones, lights, gloves, socks, cups, shirts, memberships, gift certificates, goodie baskets and bags, free passes, two mystery prize boxes. Three young ladies, Kate Lisachenko, Alyssa Hallis and Erin Hallis, assisted in setting up all of this, as well as stuffing the various registration bags; they were a big help.

And there was more! This included push-up contests for women and men—top guy, 44, top gal, 28—arm wrestling for men and women (The two Evans sisters wound up the finishers, wearing shirts that read “Hey Ho. Let’s Go”. The two fellows who were the finishers were a hoot).

All of this fun and frivolity had an array of sponsors, including Double Wing Brewing Co., the bicycle hub, Reed Financial Services, Charles Auto Family.com, Mountain Road Cycles, Cleveland Velodrome, Golden Road Brewing, Velofix, Slim & Jumbo’s and Road ID. The James A. Garfield Cross Country team took care of the aid station and received the profits from the raffle; maybe they’ll be bikers next year—good training.

Keep an eye out for a competition in July, July 8, to be exact, when the Headwaters Adventure Race invites all to run, pedal and paddle for trails and watershed conservation. Start and end at Buchert Park, Mantua. More info later

Hoping to see even more for the Road Apple Roubaix next year.


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