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Bike Across Florida
Crystal River, Florida, April 20, 2004
Recumbent racer John Schlitter wins Bike Across Florida
Trophy taken away from Valerie Sanders
After pomp and glory and a few words from Cocoa Beach (Florida) council member Kevin Pruett, blew the whistle to start the Bike Across Florida which included a 267.2 KM road race. The race started 20 minutes later then planned and was followed by an endurance ride of the same distance. The first ten miles was a warm-up ride which kept the pack of 250 riders together at a steady speed of 38.4 KPH. Once on the 4 lane highway the peloton separated and the speed increased to an average of 44.8 KPH. It was of practically everyone drank gallons of coffee and water as tens of riders were urinating left and right while the peloton increased the speed level another notch. The race crossed 7 counties and thus different law enforcement agencies were providing rolling escort. Once in the 2nd county, Orange County the peloton was reduced to a single lane. With riders continuing crossing the lane, the Orange County escort detail decided to halt the peloton and the 40 or so support vehicles to again lay down the rules. After a 15 minute meeting.
The race got revived and the few rule breakers in the pack behaved. Once in the 3rd. county with about 128 kilometers to go the peloton again increased the speed and more riders dropped. Several packs formed and started to chase the peloton. Arriving in Sumter County with about 96 miles to go a 6 men group including Brazilian fast man Alex DeFreitas and South African Wayne Burgess both of the Mapei Cycling Team sped away from the peloton, gained almost 2 minutes, only to take a wrong turn. Once back on the road, they had to sprint back to catch up with the peloton. It was it until almost another 30 minutes before the next break away in Citrus County. With only 64 kilometers to go a group of 3 slowly separated themselves from the main pack. The front of the peloton with Dale O'Hara of Team Bikesenjava (Sarasota FL) and Mauricio Zapata of LaserEsConsultants (Miami FL) in the lead did not think much of it, until it was to late. With 38.4 kilometers to go and long rolling hills ahead, the peloton gave chase. But John Schlitter (not attached) racing a Bachetta recumbent, Dave Vinney (not attached) and Sarasota strong man Dale O'Hara (Team Bikesenjava) were not about to be reeled in. The gap in fact got wider.
A third pack raced a mere 32 kilometers behind the peloton. A pace line with the Orlando Road Club race team determined to bring their lead Karen Whitney in the top women category. The race suddenly ended for Whitney an expert mountain biker and a cat 3 road racer. As a Harley group rode by and riveted their engine and spooked some in the pace line a few lost their balance and the following crash locked Whitney's front wheel who then flew over her handle bar and smacked head first on the black top. Though Whitney who wore a helmet received sever injury's including a bleed in the brain, broken shoulder and sever lacerations in the face. Another racer in the paceline received a deep gash above the right eye and was taken to a nearby hospital. Others were bandaged right on the spot by paramedics who arrived within minutes. Whitney was airlifted to Orlando regional and admitted in an intensive care unit.
John Schlitter managed to break away from the three men lead group and raced across the finish line as the winner only to be caught by the support truck of BAF 2003 champion Bill Batchelor, who made a wrong turn in front of Schlitter in off limits zone behind the line. Schlitter was unhurt but his recumbent had to be pulled from under the truck.
Racers protested when the winners were announced. It appeared that the 1st place in the women category Valerie Sanders had been motor pacing for more then 2 miles, and that was a no-no. After a brief committee meeting, peloton director Richard Goldstein took the trophy back. It was a long day.
Bike Across Florida's general manager Rick Flohr visited Karen Whitney at the hospital the next day.
"Karen is in the progressive unit which is a good sign. She is in constant pain. The first thing she asked me was how many girls were ahead of her. Karen has been training for months to finish this race and improves her time from last year's. This accident hurts her mentally as well as physically. She is in good health, she is a tough cookie and that hopefully, will bring her a speedy recovery. Whitney is a very popular competitive cyclist in Central Florida and we all pray for her speedy recovery!"
The Bike Across Florida 2005 edition will start 6:30 AM on Sunday April 17. It will be the 30th year that cyclists will cross the state with organized support.
Results, Cocoa Beach - Crystal River, 267.2km
1 John Schlitter 6.34.00 2 Dave Vinney 3 Dale O’Hara 2.00 4 Eddie O’Dea 4.00 5 Mauricio Zapata 9.00 6 Armando Cruz 7 Eric Cheezum 8 George Worrell 9 - 10 Rod Yoder 10.00 11 Ken Schofield 12 Ken Junkins 13 Billy Tittle 14 John D’Agostino 15 Alex Defreitas 16 Wayne Burgess 17 Steve Griffith 18 Alison Anjos 19 Jeff Fleming 20 George Keen 21 Bill Batchelor 22 Jeffrey Halma 23 Ed Clark 24 Larry Rushin 25 Benton Mobley 11.00 26 Jaimes Martinez 27 Trung Lively 22.00 28 Ken Scoaties 29 Jose Abrante 30 Michael O’Dea 31 Pat O’Hara 24.00 32 Darrel Fletcher 33 Bryan Hoskinson 34 Chris Sigafoose 35 Mark Hulen 36 Marie Volkhardt 37 Kurt Galatro 38 Glenn Peroni 25.00 39 Neil Lambert 40 Eric Broadwell 41 Anthony Hergert 42 Joseph Marsh 26.00 43 - 28.00 44 Luis Rodriguez 45 Bruce Hiltunen 37.00 46 Norberto Valdes 47 John Walters 40.00 48 James Munnis 42.00 49 - 50 Tristan Fiedler 43.00 51 Stephen Ducker 52 Sam Conable 46.00 53 Craig Sylvester 53.00 54 J. Henderson 55 David Reich 56 Joseph Marsh 57 Roger Wilson 1.03.00 58 Ramon Fernandez 1.04.00 59 Valeria Sanders 60 - 61 Harris Russell 1.12.00 62 Mayron Guevera 63 Evanio Zimmerman 64 Enrique Valverde 1.14.00 65 Santi Gabino 66 Mark Blitz 1.21.00 67 Michael Stover 68 Gail Rosa 69 Joe Perez Jr. 1.34.00 70 Leonard Scruggs 1.51.00 71 Chris Victory 2.00.00 72 Drew Kallio 2.01.00 73 Bill Wolff 2.04.00 74 David Grain 2.05.00 75 Gregory Heidt 76 Lee Biel 77 Lisa Davis 2.06.00 78 Lori Jaress 2.05.00 79 John Nelund 2.06.00 80 Paul Harris 81 Pavel Scott 2.08.00 82 Joe Sweeney 83 Karina Kroll 2.11.00 84 Mark Lindsey 85 James Augherton 86 Donald Gross 87 Wayne Rosa 88 Adrian Bruckne 2.19.00 89 Mike Kappelman 2.21.00 90 Mike Riskus 91 Matthew Bohn 92 Lisa Perkins 93 Marc Cuffaro 94 David Kluge 95 Lori Conable 96 Michael Rowney 97 Gary Pichon 2.33.00 98 Kurt Arbogast 2.34.00 99 Tina Marie Avilla 2.42.00 100 Hillary Robinson 101 Doug Unger 2.54.00 102 David Politowicz 2.55.00 103 Robert Ceo 104 - 105 Anne C. Lefevre 3.08.00 106 Andy Cuesta 3.19.00 107 Joseph Wascura 3.37.00 108 Mark Geigle 109 Mike Gomez 110 Neill O’Brien 3.45.00 111 Avid Vescovi D 3.52.00 112 Ricardo Lara 3.57.00 113 Alan Levin 4.03.00 114 Andy Jacoby 4.05.00 115 Jose Hernandez 116 Shari Bernard 117 S. Agramontes 118 Carrie-Ann Keys 119 Jose Hernandez 120 Anita Patten 4.21.00 121 Robert Tackett 122 Mike Sanders DNF Khaled Tolba DNF Paul Richwalsky DNF Michelle Patterson DNF William Wood DNF Ruben Montane DNF Dennis Abney DNF Mark Proffer DNF Richard Lorenz DNF Marino Anderson DNF Karen Whitney DNF Ken Hoskinson DNF C. Kaczorowski DNF Matthew Parker DNF Carol Vastrick DNF Thomas Vastrick DNF John Bates DNF John Kirkland DNF Todd Jent Halfway across Florida finishers 1 Val Brannon 2 Tim Russell Jr 3 Elane Park 4 Tim Russell 5 C. Arbogast 6 Loren Arbogast 7 Jeff Blackburn 8 Ellen Bone 9 Barbara Abney 10 Lori Steighner 11 Jay Jennings 12 Elaine Cadore 13 Tim Ewin 14 Howard Day 15 James Carmody 16 James McGone 17 Frank Todno 18 Bruce Defelix 19 Burnell Hoekstra DNF Robert Stark
Local results 2004