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Cyclists lining up for big weekend

Florida Points Series standings are up for grabs as area USA Cycling racers prepare for Pasco County's double racing weekend.

Saturday, riders will compete in the Race For Humanity Road Races, to be held on a variation of the old Darby Road Race course in San Antonio. Lining up at 8 a.m., masters 45-plus will start first, followed by 35-plus, 55-plus, women, professionals and juniors.

Sunday the multilap Race For Humanity criteriums starts at 8 a.m. near downtown Dade City. Hundreds of racers from around the Southeast are expected.

Proceeds from the races will benefit East Pasco Habitat For Humanity, though there will be at least a $6,500 prize purse for top finishers in all categories.

For more information, call Pablo Santa Cruz at (727) 741-7250 or Tim Molyneaux at (407) 256-7971 or visit www.floridacycling.com.

USA CYCLING MEMBERSHIP: Those who plan to compete this season can consider buying or renewing USA Cycling licenses.

Becoming an annual member provides insurance, rankings, discounts, mailings and access to coaches. One-day licenses are available, just as they are for mountain bike racing or triathlon .

USA Cycling is the official cycling organization recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and is responsible for identifying, training and selecting cyclists to represent the United States in international competitions. All Florida Points Series events are sanctioned by USA Cycling.

To join or renew or for a copy of the current rulebook, contact the federation at USA Cycling, 1 Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs, Colo., 80909; call (719) 866-4581; or go to www.usacycling.org.

CYCLOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIPS: Two dates remain for the Florida State Cyclocross Series at Largo Central Park Nature Preserve, 150 Highland Ave., Largo. Races will be Saturday and Feb. 26 and are USA Cycling sanctioned.

"Volunteers are out there working hard to change the race course for the last couple of events," race director Lance Riddile said. "We wanted to vary it, mix it up a bit, in order to be fair to all the riders who come out."

Despite recent cold weather, workers have been at the coursewith shovels and rakes searching for the right combination of mud, dismount obstacles and flat grassy sections. Some riders enjoy running over rough sections, and others prefer to power through the water and mud.

Strongest local teams in the state championship standings have come from Action Wheel Sport, Bicycle Outfitters, Chainwheel Drive, Neptune Cyclery and Revolution Bicycles. More last-minute challenges are sure to come from northern riders.

Call Riddile for details about racing or volunteering at (727) 518-3021, or e-mail lriddilelargo.com.

IRONMAN CHANGES DATE: The Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, has been moved back a week to Oct. 21, Ironman public relations director Blair LaHaye said.

World Triathlon Corporation officials learned from Department of Land and Natural Resources officials there is a conflict with cruise ship operators and current permits for use of Kailua Pier. Athletes who have already qualified have been notified.

For details, go to www.ironmanlive.com.

IRONMAN 70.3 LOTTERY: Members of the St. Pete Mad Dogs Triathlon Club recently were selected by event director Steve Meckfessel in a special lottery to compete in the Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3, Nov. 11 in Clearwater.

Lottery winners included Susie Daniels, Paul Ingham and Carole Torreano of Clearwater Beach; Sue Minkoff of Clearwater; Marcos Alegre and Eric Teets of Largo; Dennis Gatto of St. Pete Beach; Larry Witt and Beth Wonicker-Cook of Palm Harbor; Bob Wagoner of Seminole; Rick Downs of North Redington Beach; Michelle Palaganas of Treasure Island; and St. Petersburg's Nung Bedell, Tom Bozich, Pat Brighton, Peter Dubbeld, Nickey Ezell, Sue Fleshman, David Noyes, Jennifer Hutchison, Carolyn Kiper, Lenore Rupert, Dan Tillwick and David Weismantel.

To see photos of the lottery party, log on to www.stpetemaddogs.com.

ST. ANTHONY'S TRIATHLON: St. Anthony's Triathlon (swim 1.5 kilometers, bike 40K, run 10K) will celebrate its 23rd anniversaryApril 28-30 with new event manager Philip LaHaye.

LaHaye was hired to replace Meckfessel, who left after years working to develop St. Anthony's Triathlon into a world-class event.

Registration for the season opener reached full capacity within five hours in December. There will be 3,500 competitors and 100 relay teams. This includes Saturday's Meek & Mighty Mini-Tri for kids and rookie adults.

Volunteers on race weekend are welcome.

"We would love to have more volunteers, and I'm just delighted with the way things are coming together," LaHaye said. "For me, this job is a dream come true. The sport of triathlon pervades every part of my life, and I'm lucky to make my living doing this. I just love it."

LaHaye, 33, a former physical therapist and triathlete with Ironman distance experience (he has competed in Ironman triathlons in Brazil, New Zealand and Hawaii), now trains with past world champion Spencer Smith when his schedule allows.

Smith and his wife, Melissa, moved to Palm Harbor from the United Kingdom. LaHaye counts Smith among his best friends along with the many elites that he has met through the sport.

LaHaye's wife, Blair, said she is trying to fit in workouts even though she is busy working as Ironman's public relations director. LaHaye, 30, just moved up from sprint triathlon to half marathon and half Ironman distances, with some success, after being encouraged by her husband.

LaHaye said desite their hectic schedules around racing time, it's a formula that works well. The 30-year-old posted a respectable time of two hours, four minutes, 51 seconds in last month's Gulf Beaches Halfathon in Clearwater

"My goal in this new job as St. Anthony's Triathlon Event Manager, is to give back to the athletes," LaHaye said. "I want to give them a good value, and sometimes that's not always easy, but I'm going to try. I hope to have bigger prizes for top competitors, and more raffles with things like wetsuits, just better prizes and giveaways. It's going to be better and better each year. That's what I'm going to try do to."

To volunteer at St. Anthony's Triathlon, visit www.satriathlon.org.

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