Cyclists ‘do time’ in weekend Leavenworth races
Five Lansing residents know what it's like to be "Doing Time in Leavenworth." They all competed in bike races in Downtown Leavenworth on Sunday afternoon.
Nathan Matias, 6, and Ashley Morris, 10, both of Lansing, competed with about 22 other children in the Super Youth category, the first race in the "Doing Time In Leavenworth" event held from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The event's nine adult races drew 118 registrants, including three Lansing residents: Matt Walker, Carey Walker and Carl Fischer.
Registration was free for the children's race, and adult entry fees paid for police support for closing off the streets at the course's perimeter, the United States Cycling Federation, Kansas Cycling Association, and fliers for the event, said Brendan Sheehan, owner of Santa Fe Trails Bicycle Shop, which sponsored the event.
Ashley wore her two "lucky" wristbands, which might just have helped her place fourth or fifth in the half-mile race.
Considering that the first three finishers in the race were on bikes that had gears, Ashley said she was happy with her performance on her single-speed BMX-style bike.
"There was a lot of room" on the street-wide course, Ashley said. Her strategy, she said, was "to get as close as you could to the edge" on the turns, "and then go as fast as possible down the hills."
Nathan came across the finish line a few positions after Ashley, also a respectable finish. He was going so fast in the last downhill stretch that "it felt like my chain was off," he said.
Nathan said he crashed at one point in the race while going around a corner.
"One of them (another rider) bumped my front tire," he said.
Luckily, Nathan emerged unscathed, with no scrapes or bruises. Additionally, he, like Ashley, wore one of the approximately 30 helmets given away that day by the Jack Clough Headstrong Foundation. The foundation was established by Tom Clough, of Fairway, to honor the memory of his son, Jack, a teenager who initially survived a February collision with a car thanks to the helmet he was wearing. He died in March from other complications.
To prepare for the race, Ashley said she had been riding her bike "quite a bit," and that she often rode on trails around her neighborhood.
The bicycle race wasn't her first competitive race: she wore the T-shirt she received for competing in the Fort Leavenworth "Great Escape 10K Race" the previous weekend.
Nathan is still a little young to compete in such events but said he had been riding "a long time," since he got his blue Schwinn last Christmas. He said, "I like to race my parents" in his neighborhood.
In the adult races, Fischer finished fifth in both the 45-and-older race, which was 30 minutes plus one lap, and in the category 5 race, which was 20 minutes plus one lap.
"Cycling has been a part of my life since I was young, although I only recently (last year this time) began racing," Fischer said.
A senior military analyst at System Studies and Simulations, Inc., Fischer has commuted by bike since last summer to his job at Fort Leavenworth "at least three times a week," he said.
Fischer said he has competed in "a few triathlons and a few 100-mile bike rides," but had never gone to "just bike" races.