While most mountain bike or bicycle race events are for hardcore competitors, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Space Race Rumpus is for cyclists of all ages and abilities.
The third annual rumpus, held last weekend, attracted more youngsters and families than any other group of cyclists. Tots on pedal-less bikes weaved their way around the kids track at the NRAO Science Center, as the adults and older kids participated in a variety of rides.
Pro cyclist and Dirt Bean coffee and bike shop owner Kristy Lanier shared her knowledge at the event, as well as participating as a racer and vendor.
“I did a skills thing – we went out on the race course and I just worked with people, and helped them to get over rocks and roots,” Lanier said. “I did a little bit of a race day talk, like how to prepare and look at a race course to figure out for race day what you want to be able to do.”
Lanier has been to her fair share of cycling events and said she enjoys the Race Rumpus because it is a good mix of fun and competition.
“I’ve been to a lot of races,” she said. “Some of them were more around racing. This is a good mix of both – racing and rides. There’s an opportunity for people that are interested in learning to race. The short track – I think it’s one of the more fun short tracks I’ve done. The racing is coming along and they’re starting to offer more race-wise, but then I think the rides – the group rides, all the rides available – it’s a good mix of both.”
The rumpus has attracted participants from all over the country and has gained a loyal following.
Derek Andrews, of Elkins, returned for the third time to participate in the event.
“It’s just a great time for the whole family,” he said. “Group rides are a lot of fun, the clinics are informative, you learn a lot and meet a lot of great people. And the food’s great.”
Andrews added that he doesn’t consider himself a professional cyclist, but he does enjoy cycling events, especially ones that allow him an opportunity to enjoy cycling with his family.
First time rumpus-ers, Chuck and Diane Merckle, of Fly, Ohio, weren’t attracted by the race aspect, but more by the guided rides around the county and NRAO site.
“We enjoy [cycling] and we get out as much as we can,” Chuck said. “We don’t have a lot of opportunity in our area. We like rail trails and we have to travel to get one of those. We don’t like to [ride] on the roads.”
The couple, who rode a tandem bike at the event, enjoys riding together and plan to continue to attend the event when possible.
“We’re having a great time,” Diane said.
For the children who weren’t interested in riding bikes, the rumpus volunteers offered activities, including rocket building and tote bag decorating.
Joining NRAO staff as volunteers were four members of the Green Bank Senior and Ambassador Girl Scout troop.
“The girl scouts have to have community service hours every year, so we have done some volunteering at the library and they’re helping out at this event,” troop leader Luann Creager said. “They’re helping children with activities and crafts while their parents go and do the racing.”
After the sun set and muscles were ready for a rest, attendees were treated to music by Shane Meade and the Sound, and Anthony Rosano and The Conqueroos, from Norfolk, Virginia. Guests were also treated to buffet meals provided by the NRAO cafeteria staff.
Race results are:
Boys, 10 and under: First place, Iam Johnston; second place, Kenan Furgerson; and third place, Max O’Ganian.
Girls, 10 and under: First place, Ashton White; second place, McKenna Woody; and third place, Elisabeth Wilfong.
Boys, 11-16: First place, Adam Rogers.
Girls, 11-16: First place, Emily Wilfong; and second place, Emma Vass.
Men under 40: First place, Adam Kobelski; second place, Jeff White; and third place, David Marcen.
Women under 40: First place, Nicole Twalfhover; and second place, Erica Engquist.
Men over 40: First place, Mike Stennes; second place, Gregory Moore; and third place, Eric Anger.
Women over 40: First place, Kristy Lanier; second place, Liz Wickline; and third place, Linda Vass.
Honorable mentions; Blake Johnson, age four; and tandem bike riders, Emma and Ed Vass.
Overall female fastest time trial: Kristy Lanier.
Overall male fastest time trial: Mike Stennes.
Youth 10 and under: First place, Iam Johnston; second place, Max O’Ganian; and third place, Ashton White.
Youth, 11-16: First place, Adam Rogers; and second place, Emily Wilfong.
Women, 17-29: First place, Nicole Twafloven; and second place, Erica Engquist.
Men, 17-29: First place, Mikey Valach; and second place, Bang Nhan.
Women, 30-40: First place, Mandi Riddle.
Men, 30-40: First place, Joey Riddle; second place, Jason Charcalla; and third place, Alan Stinger.
Women, 41 and over: First place, Kristy Lanier; second place, Alyson Andrews; and third place, Carol Woody.
Men 41 and over: First place, Jason Cyr; second place, Greg Moore; and third place, Dave Huber.
Overall female fastest short track: Mandi Riddle.
Overall male fastest short track: Jason Cyr.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at email@example.com