by Eric Stearley
Cyclists from across the map could be seen riding throughout the county on Sunday during the Dam to Dam Century Ride. In its fifth year, the ride traverses a 104-mile course, crossing both the Salamonie and Mississinewa dams and past the Stockdale Dam.
“We had people from all over Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas…so we had a huge amount of first time visitors to our area,” said Christine Flohr, executive director of the Wabash County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “This is the largest cycling event that Wabash County has ever seen, and the feedback that we continue to hear from riders who rode in this ride for the first time is positive.”
Five years ago, a few members of the Rock City Bike Club got together and rode the length of the Wabash County Bike Trail. Each year, the event grew in size.
“We had 60 people last year,” said Amy Ford, who was part of that first group and chair of this year’s Dam to Dam committee. “We were doing well, but in order to make the public and other counties aware, we needed a vehicle other than my email list.”
As soon as last year’s ride finished, plans for this year’s ride were in the works. Visit Wabash County would host the event, which would start and end at the YMCA, and INGUARD stepped in as the presenting sponsor. With the help of dozens of local businesses and organizations, the word got out and registration numbers grew.
“First, we thought, if we can get to 100 or 150 this first year, we’ll do all right,” said Flohr. “Then when we hit 100, we thought, ‘You know, if we can hit 250, that would be tremendous!’ The committee was just completely amazed that we were able to attract so many riders to our first professionally organized ride of this nature.”
In total, 351 riders registered for this year’s event. Flohr estimated that as many as 80% were from outside the county.