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Ride for Sheriff's Office brings out the crowds

Last weekend, local cyclists hit the roads to enjoy training rides, including an assortment of organized events, while northern riders called to say they were stuck in gyms, training on indoor spin bikes.

For some area families, holiday shopping had to wait until the bikes were put away.

Kicking off the weekend, members of St. Petersburg Bicycle Club and Suncoast Cycling Club joined Saturday's Pinellas County Sheriff's Office Ride With The Stars at Fort DeSoto Park. The annual 25-miler benefits crime victims and their families during the holidays.

Giveaways at this event have included kayaks, bicycles, cell phones, and cycling apparel, donated by area bicycle shops. The mild cycling weather made the day a success for Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

FLORIDA CYCLING CAMP: Racers from central Florida are heading to Clermont for the Florida Cycling Camp, Dec. 8-10. The camp is designed for riders who want to improve their skills and have fun.

FCC skills camp will take riders along roads in Lake County, including the well-known Sugarloaf Mountain area.

National Training Center in Clermont will do lab testing on any interested cyclists, and riders can schedule coaching time for VO2 testing, body composition, cleat and fit alignment, and bike fit.

Future cycling skills camps are Jan. 12-14 and Feb. 2-4. Call (407) 256-7971 for details.

STATE CYCLOCROSS: "How do you explain what cross is, if somebody has never seen it?" Largo recreation supervisor Lance Riddile asked.

"You can say that it's like steeplechase with a bicycle, and that may scare away the pure runners. Or, you can play the Transition II video of nationals in the snow, and that may scare away the roadies. Only the mountain bikers from SWAMP Club over in Tampa can relate to both scenarios."

Riddile is working on producing the second year of a State Championship Cyclocross series, set for Jan. 14, 21, 28, and Feb. 11, at the wooded Largo Nature Preserve near East Bay and Highland.

The new course consists of laps on the 1-mile loop of varied terrain, obstacle dismounts, runups, and a flat doubletrack section.

"Lance Armstrong still rides cyclocross and the international circuit going on now in Europe is as strong as ever," Riddile said. "It's a great way for riders to stay in shape during the winter months. It is definitely a workout."

Contact Riddile at (727) 518-3021 or to race or volunteer.

HOLIDAY PARTY: Celebrations at this time of the year are an opportunity to get to know your riding partners. Socially-minded triathletes might want to plan for a holiday party:

The Merry Mad Dog Christmas Party will be 6-11 p.m. Dec. 8 at The Studio @ 620 Art Gallery, at 620 First Ave. S in St. Petersburg. Contact: to learn more.

TRAINING LOG: Palm Harbor's Anthony Monaco offers an Excel spreadsheet format for his fellow cyclists to log on.

"Enter your data, which might be miles, time, speed of your rides, and it will be totaled automatically," Monaco told riders at last Sunday's Suncoast Cycling Club gathering. "There is a place for additional comments, and you can print a colorful hardcopy if you like. It's the time of the year for planning out your goals and aspirations for the upcoming year of cycling."

To view Monaco's 2007 Cyclelog, contact riders at Suncoast Cycling Club: