Riders brave weather for Dam to Dam ride

By Joseph Slacian

Riders from 16 states and one foreign country braved strong winds, cool temperatures and a rainy morning to participate in the ninth annual Dam to Dam Century Ride.

Bike enthusiasts began leaving the Wabash County YMCA shortly before 8 a.m., destined to ride either 15, 30, 50, 62, 80 or 104 miles around Wabash County. There were 565 riders registered for the event, though not all participated. Some opted out because of the weather conditions.

“Even though it’s raining it doesn’t deter people from enjoying or push themselves to do something different,” Christine Flohr, Visit Wabash County Director of Tourism said. “It’s easy to a full century ride when its sunny and there’s no wind. But when you add elements like rain, a hurricane blowing wind this way, and it challenges cyclists to do something and it pushes them to the next level.”

This is the first time that weather has really been a challenge during the ride’s nine years.

“We had to pay attention to what are the roads like,” Flohr said, discussing what steps organizers had to take to ensure rider safety. “Some of the low-lying roads, are they going to be flooded? Do we need to reroute? Is it going to push natural debris on the roadway?

“We also had to make sure that our markings and our directions were extra well done this year. Other than that, because we do such a great job of spray painting our routes on the road, providing maps and directions, we feel confident that our cyclists are really going to have a good time.”

In the end, the weather took its toll on several riders, forcing them to change plans along the course, cutting down on the number of miles they hoped to accomplish.

Many blamed the wind for prompting them to make the change, one noting that riding the 62 mile route may have been the equivalent of riding 75 miles because of having to fight winds that reportedly had gusts of up to 25 mph.

Before and after the event, riders were able to have breakfast or a post-race meal sponsored by Miller’s Merry Manor. Along the route, they also were able to go to support and gear (SAG) stops for quick snacks, drinks or just to rest for a few minutes before carrying on with the ride.

The event is sponsored by Parkview Wabash Hospital in conjunction with several other businesses and industries from around the area.

Posted on 2018 Sep 11