Tri-Village News

Crowd's cheers drive local cyclist

Mark Schaefer didn't win Tour de Grandview, but experience, thrills enough this time

By

The Tour de Grandview Cycling Classic attracts cyclists from across the country, but this year's race featured a hometown favorite.

Grandview resident Mark Schaefer participated in the event for the first time, riding in the men's category 4/5 race.

"I competed in some triathlon events 20-some-odd years ago, but this was the first time I'd ever done a criterium event," Schaefer said. "It was a great experience, especially competing in Grandview.

"I was doing some warmup laps before the race and people were cheering for me and calling out my name," he said. "That's the big difference between running in a race and riding in a bike race.

"When you're running, you only get encouraged as you're coming to the finish line," Schaefer said. "When you're in a cycling race, you're getting cheered on every lap. It really inspires you to push on."

A longtime runner, Schaefer said he turned to bike riding when his knees began giving him trouble.

"I've supported the bike race for many years in a variety of capacities, as a Grandview resident, president of the chamber and owner of a business," he said. "It seemed like the time was right to actually compete in the event."

His goals were simple, Schaefer said -- and they didn't involve winning.

"I chose to complete in the 4/5 category, which has the most inexperienced riders," Schaefer said. "My two goals were not to get lapped and not to crash."

Unfortunately, only one of those aims were accomplished.

Schaefer crashed after he put on his brakes to avoid a pileup of riders who had earlier collided.

"My pedal got caught in my spokes and that's when I lost control," he said. "Fortunately, I wasn't hurt and my bike wasn't damaged, so I shook myself off and got started again," avoiding being lapped by the lead riders.

"The funny thing is that the crash happened not too far from my insurance office (located on First Avenue)," Schaefer said. "I kept thinking before the race: If I do crash, please don't let it be in front of my insurance office."

Still, being involved in the race was exhilarating, he said.

"Going 30 mph around those tight curves, it's thrilling," Schaefer said.

He plans to race again next year.

The men's 4/5 race was won by Christopher Robertson of Athens, riding for Team Athens.

Christopher Uberti of Greenville, S.C., won the men's pro race.

Paul Martin, a North Royalton resident who won the pro race the past two years, finished in fourth place.

Dylan Hayda of Warren, a member of the WAS Labs Cycling team, finished first in the men's category 3 race. Columbus resident Trevor Miller finished second.

Jenette Williams of Proctorville won the women's event, riding for Jeff's Bike Shop. Columbus resident Katie Arnold finished in second place.

Comments