Sunday, June 16, 2013

Young cyclists 3-13 race in Junior Chain Drive at Portage Health

By Michele Bourdieu

Marc Norton (right in orange shirt), Junior Chain Drive organizer, explains to the youngest racers (under age 7) how to follow the course laid out for them at Portage Health. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- The 2013 Junior Chain Drive attracted more than 65 young participants ages 3-13 -- as well as parents, grand-parents and other supporters and volunteers -- to the Portage Health campus on a cloudy Saturday afternoon, June 15. Despite a few raindrops, the races were a success.

Racers under 7 take off for their 0.5 mile untimed race.

"We have an untimed race for any aged kids who aren't ready for the 3/4 mile event," said Marc Norton, Junior Chain Drive organizer.

Parents, grand-parents and other family members and friends urge the youngest racers on. Among the spectators, at right, is Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz, who came out to support some of his grandchildren participating in this Father's Day weekend race.

 Young racers head for the finish line ...

Biking on wet grass is a challenge. Young cyclists learn safety and courtesy riding in groups. 

"Push it, push it!" is the command this young fellow hears from the audience -- faster than trying to get back on the bike so close to the finish!

The second group of racers is lined up, waiting for the start ...

... and they're off!

Junior Chain Drive timed races include a 3/4 mile race for ages 8 and under, a 1.5 mile event (2 laps) for ages 10 and under and a 3 mile event (4 laps) for ages 14 and under.

"We hope the parents assess their child's ability as to which event they should participate. We do end up with some very competent 9 year olds doing the 3 mile race once in a while," Norton explained.

The more experienced racers are challenged by a single-track trail through the woods.

"Some places have gravel paths on which to hold a kids' race," Norton noted. "This one is a true mountain bike course with single track -- all the roots and rocks that one should expect in a mountain bike race. Those that finish have accomplished a pretty significant feat for ones so small and with such small tires."

Smaller tires do not roll over obstacles as easily as the big ones, he added.

Click here to find the results of the Junior Chain Drive race and the adult Chain Drive races held earlier on Saturday, June 15.

No comments: