Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lemire Memorial Bike Race Draws Crowd

This young tricyclist, one of 110 in the kids’ race at the Garrett Lemire Memorial Grand Prix Bike Race hits the course with a beaming smile.

By Sondra Murphy
Bells and whistles resonated around the Arcade Sunday as the fifth annual Garrett Lemire Memorial Grand Prix Bike Race was in full force. At the intersection of Ojai Avenue and Signal Street, kids of all ages scrambled up the giant rock wall before the orange safety rails corralled pedestrians out of the course way encircling Libbey Park.
The 85-something tempera-tures were harsh in the sun, but arches and oaks provided ample shade for spectators, as did the cool stream of racers as they looped around the course in a blur of multicolored jerseys. At the fountain courtyard, vendors and volunteers manned booths to provide information and refreshment to the hundreds who came to watch the action.
“Every year, the race just gets nicer and bigger,” said Art Lemire, father of the posthumously honored cyclist. “It’s getting to be more of a neighborhood event and people are actually enjoying it.” Lemire said he liked how people who live around Libbey Park set up chairs and had barbecues while watching the races.
“We went up against the weather,” added Lemire, “but I was amazed by how many people did come.” He said that racers were given plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, which included more than 1,000 bottles of Smart Water and a booth with electrolyte-enhanced water jugs.
One of the entry points into the courtyard was decorated with student jersey coloring contest submissions. More than 100 children entered the kids’ race and got bike helmets and medals for their efforts. Several 6- to 7-year-old competitors raced on three wheels, while training wheels were as abundant as the triumphant expressions displayed. Many sported face paint and tried for their chance to win one of 13 free bikes raffled off during the last race.
The women’s pro race included about 50 cyclists competing for a share in $2,500 during the hour-long race. Tiffany Cromwell of the Colavita-Sutter Home Team took first place a full minute ahead of the peloton.
The men’s pro 1 wrapped the day with 120 cyclists completing 45 laps before Kyle Gritters fought for the top spot and stretched across the finish line just five-tenths of a second in front of his Health Net-Maxxis teammate John Murphy and Toyota-United’s Clarke Hilton. Gritters will take the lion’s share of the $15,000 pot divvied up to the top 20 racers.

Race Winners:
Men Masters 60+
Bruce Steele
Richard Rodriguez
Timothy Marquez

Men Masters 55+
Donald Davidson
Carlos Soto
Bob Wright

Men Masters 45+
Richard Meeker
Thurlow Rogers
Keith Ketterer

Men Masters 35+
Richard Meeker
Patrick Caro
Craig Nunes

Women Cat 3-4
Natasha Hernday
Julie Nevitt
Laurie Burlchardt
Men Cat 4-5
Corey Farrell
John David Orach
Aaron Gomez

Men Cat 3
Casey Weaver
Michael Hotten
3. Graeme Gayler

Men Cat 2
Zack Simkover
2. Chance Noble
3. Gary Douville

Women Pro 1-3
Tiffany Cromwell, Colavita, Sutter Home, 1:00:17.1
Iona Wynter Parks, Colavita Sutter Home, 1:01:18.2
Rachel Tzinberg, Bicycle Johns, 1:01:21.3

Toyota Mens Pro 1
Kyle Gritters, Health Net, Maxxis, 1:49:32.3
John Murphy, Health Net, Maxxis, 1:49:32.8
Hilton Clarke, Toyota-United Pro Cycling, 1:49:32.8
For complete results, go to glmgp.com.

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