Friday, September 26, 2008

We are the Champions of Arkansas!

Arkansas Senior Games 2008

Story by Earl Hill

On September 20 and 21, Connie French and Earl Hill participated in the Arkansas Senior Olympic bicycling competition. Jim French has a daughter living in Benton, AR, and my wife and I have a daughter living in Little Rock, AR. Therefore, we both took the opportunity to visit family while enjoying the camaraderie of competitive cycling

The TTs were held at National Park Community College and the road races were held at Lake Catherine State Park—both in the Hot Springs area.

The weather for both TTs was hot and the humidity was relatively comfortable.

The temperature for the 20K road race was reasonable, but rain started almost as soon as we were off. This was an out and back course—half of which was on newly resurfaced blacktop and the balance on an older chip & seal surface. The course starts near the shore of the lake and climbs to the heights above. The chip & seal surface was quite slippery at the turn around. The finish line was at the top of a short rise following an exhilarating descent.

Connie took gold in the 5K TT, 10K TT, 20K road race as well as the 40K road race. I took bronze in the 10K TT. My time was actually 20 seconds faster than the next competitor. But the next competitor was a local, and apparently the local rules say that he could be elevated above an out-of-state rider. They do strange things in AR. Nevertheless, I got to know the second place competitor during the weekend, and if I had to lose to someone, it could not have been a better person. Despite the disappointment in not taking the silver, it was still a fun weekend. And when competing, you must accept the rules of the local venue.

I don’t know the exact numbers, but I believe there were at least as many out-of-state competitors participating in the weekend events as there were riders from Arkansas. There may have been other States represented, but I personally met riders from Texas, Louisiana, and Illinois.

If you like moderate hills and hollows, the Arkansas Senior Olympics might be for you.

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