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Time of the season to tune up those bicycles

(Final edited version not provided for electronic library. Please see microfilm.)

Florida's cycling and triathlon calendars are heating up, and area participants are busy getting bicycles tuned up at local shops, and setting up their schedules.

Racers from Neptune/Lemond Cycling Team went home to Tarpon Springs with top honors at last Sunday's Florida State Cyclocross Championships.

Paul Kavan won the Senior Pro 1-2 Category, and team captain Eddie Mullally rode to a muddy victory for the Masters 35

+ state title.

"This last race was tough, because it was so muddy after the rainstorms," Mullally said. "I trained so hard for this, and to win here just feels great."

Kavan, who took time off to win Pasco's Race For Humanity Road Race on Feb. 18, is logging-400 mile weeks on the road and still finding time to polish his offroad skills for cyclocross.

"Lance Riddile and all the riders from Largo worked very hard on this series," said Kavan, who has won numerous state championships in road and time trialing.

"They tried to make the courses fun, with the logs and all the dismounts. It was fun to be a part of it. I promise I'll return to defend my jersey in 2007."

TIMES TOUR: The hills around Dade City are the site of the St. Petersburg Times Bike Tour on March 12. Families will ride nine miles for fun (there's also a free Kids Bike Rodeo); sport riders will line up with their clubs for the 40-mile ride; and triathletes training for upcoming Ironman distance events will follow a 75-mile route.

The Tour's start/finish will be at Pasco Hernando Community College, 36727 Blanton Road, Highway 41 N in Dade City. The ride, which starts at 8 a.m., is not a race, and all riders are welcome.

Helmets are required. Consult with a mechanic regarding proper gearing for the hills.

For details go to: www.sptimes.com/biketour; or call: (727) 893-8581.

WINONA CLASSIC TRIATHLON: The 22nd annual race kicks off the season March 26 at Camp Winona in DeLeon Springs.

The Winona Classic Triathlon has an unusual order: swim a quarter mile, run 3.1 miles and bike 14.6 miles. The swim is in Lake Winona, and wetsuits are usually allowed. This event is USA Triathlon sanctioned.

Most participants and their families stay in cabins near the venue, and enjoy a pancake breakfast at Camp Winona. For details, go to: www.altavistasports.com; or call race director John Boyle at (386) 736-0002.

ESCAPE FROM FORT DESOTO TRIATHLON: Race organizers Joe Fernandez and Freddie Rzymek announced the opening of race registration for Escape From Fort DeSoto Triathlon XX, set for April 15.

The event consists of a half-mile swim, 10-mile bike ride and 4-mile run. The event, sanctioned by USA Triathlon, will be at 7:30 a.m. at Fort DeSoto Park's north beach. There are top-five awards in all divisions, including relay teams, which may be male, female, mixed, or military teams.

Check www.escapefromftdesoto.com or call Fernandez at (813) 874-7223.

GOODLIFE GAMES: The Games will be March 3-April 15 at various venues around Pinellas County and serve as region qualifiers for the State Senior Games. The top three in each five-year age division earn medals. Competition is for men and women age 50 and up.

Organizer Kathleen Fitzgerald said the cycling time trials will be April 9 at Fort DeSoto Park. Race check-in opens at 8:30 a.m. for 5K and 10K distances.

All levels of cyclists 50 and older are welcome. Helmets and proper cycling gear required and no drafting is allowed.

Each season, Goodlife Games participants earn points in their events which count toward Gold Torch Award nominations. Local cyclists and triathletes have become Gold Torch Award finalists in recent years, including Patricia Hoffman of Palm Harbor; Liz Graham of Clearwater; Jack Eads of St. Petersburg; Roger Burke of Seminole; Katie Knight-Perry of St. Petersburg; and Jim Larson and Ethel Lehmann, both of Clearwater.

For more information on Goodlife Games cycling see www.goodlifegames.org or call event director Bill Strack at (813) 505-1405.

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