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Saturday, October 13, 2001 - Sunday, October 14, 2001 -- Marietta, OH
6th Annual Ride the Ridges (iPO Event Id#: 3295)
Story and photos by Ariana Kincaid

[Details] [Coverage] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3]

Colors of fall
The beauty of southeast Ohio as seen riding the ridges
The 6th Annual Ride the Ridges & Pedal for a Purpose Bike Tour was a different kind of biking event than those I had become accustomed to covering or watching on television. The first indication of this I had was when I walked into the building at Masonic Park in Washington County, Ohio - tour organizer Jane Crowther gave me a big hug when I introduced myself. The second indication I had that this wasn't your ordinary biking event was the pancakes flying through the air - Chris Cakes of Dublin, Ohio, provided not only delicious breakfast delights, but also a bit of entertainment. Folks were encouraged to catch their pancakes after the pancake chef flipped them through the air - and never once did she hit the ceiling fan!

But, quite frankly, even though hugs and pancakes make an event great in my book, this bike tour would have been wonderful without them - because all the proceeds from the race went to the American Cancer Society, earmarked for Camp Friendship, which provides an opportunity for children and young adults living with cancer to attend a residential summer camp. The camp is provided free of charge for any child or young adult who is being, or has been, treated for cancer in an Ohio medical facility. Many of the volunteers for the weekend, like Connie Grimes, were from the American Cancer Society, and many volunteers and cyclists alike were riding because of a personal or familiar experience with cancer.

Chris Cakes
It's a bird, a plane... no, it's a pancake
The tour itself got a leisurely start, with cyclists leaving once they finished breakfast - only the 20-milers had an official start time. At 10:00an, they and their bikes were shuttled to a later point in the course so that they might meet up and tour along with the cyclists who were on the 35-, 50-, 70-, and 100-mile tours. (Of course, Sunday's leisurely pace could have been attributed to attempting to wait until the rain slacked off.)

The tour followed routes which highlighted the area's involvement with the Underground Railroad in the 1800s. The 70- & 100-mile routes even passed by homes of "conductors" on the underground railroad; the incredibly detailed itinerary of the routes included not only directions, but bits of local lore and history as well. Even though cyclists couldn't very well read and pedal, the scenic beauty of southeast Ohio's rolling hills and deciduous trees made for a gorgeous ride.

Cruising the roads by bike
< A great deal of time was spent at the first rest station at McNab Horse Farm, where Amish bread, cookies, fruit, trail mix, hot apple cider, water, tea and coffee, and good company were in abundance. There was also music at this stop, as four very talented musicians picked and played old favorites on their guitars and dulcimers to the delight of the soaked riders seeking a few moments' shelter. Perhaps the most popular item at this stop, however, was the kerosene heater, around which many a cyclist gathered to warm the hands and feet and make new friends.

The lunch stop, in Lower Salem, was also populated with warm hearts and good food. The Lower Salem United Methodist Church Ladies provided a hearty meal of homemade vegetable and bean soups, sandwiches, cornbread muffins, and more Amish bread and other tasty pastries - and all that great hot food was welcome after the soaking rains of the tour. This was the final stop for the 20- and 30-milers, who were then shuttled back to Masonic Park. The 50-, 70-, and 100-milers had another eighteen or so miles to go, which were just as scenic as the previous miles they'd ridden, and took them over Devol's Dam, which was named for a Revolutionary War veteran who settled in the area.

Race Ready
Ready to do what it takes to fight Cancer
A great deal of thanks goes to Jane Crowther for putting together such a wonderful tour. Also, some of the wonderful volunteers and helpers includedw Lyndell and Jim Pool; Dea and Madison Osborne (special thanks to Madison, 6, who was the youngest volunteer and was willing to share her umbrella with me); Kathy and Bart Hammons; Julie Ellenwood, Director of the American Cancer Society; Lisa Rankin, Vice-President of the American Cancer Society, Ohio Division Board; and Connie Grimes, President of the American Cancer Society, Ohio Division Board.

As Connie so eloquently put it, for many, participating in these events is, "A way of fighting back, and also a way of helping someone else. Someday, we've got to beat it!" And as long as people support events like this one, there is always hope.