Dixie at head of pack in national cycling challenge - Etcetera - 9/30/13


For a while there the competition wasn’t even neck and neck. Northfield Falls, Vt., clearly led the pack with miles logged and points amassed in a health initiative called the 2013 National Bike Challenge, said Andrew “Andy” Pryor via email.

Now in its second year, the challenge has logged more than 17 million miles since April, he said.

Northfield Falls ultimately lost the lead to riders from Dixie Elementary School, who helped local cyclists reel in the national No. 1 community ranking and Dixie leads going into this, the last weekend of the challenge before the weather gets particularly cold.

Checking the website, www.endomondo.com/campaign/national/, on Saturday, Dixie was ahead, with 17,575 points and 2,648 miles, to Northfield Falls’ 8,987.50 points and 1,382 miles.

The Dixie riders, who clearly put their pedals to the metal, include Andy, Joanne and Emily Pryor, Johnathan Hyde, Kelly Dabulskis, Shawn Evans, Cade Thonney, Delia Renaud, Mylie Marie Jones and Aaron Pope.

In March, Andy was approached to participate in the National Bike Challenge.

The event is sponsored by the national League of American Bicyclists and state Bicycle Alliance of Washington, where Andy serves on the board of directors.

“Having never logged miles before and sporting a few extra pounds with middle-age-man issues, I felt riding a bike more diligently is exactly what I needed for a personal health plan.

“I logged my miles and was clearly going to have the Washington state community lead with just myself riding,” he recalled

Yet, at that point Northfield Falls was way ahead of Dixie.

Andy thought it would be fun for kids in the community of just under 200 residents to get some bike training, including using hand signals and learning rules of the road, and to use bikes as a part of their active lifestyles while potentially earning a national No. 1 ranking and possible prizes.

“I approached Dixie Elementary at the beginning of the school year and asked the administration if they were interested. The school was very supportive.”

The school sent log sheets with the kids who could ride at home and have their rides count.

Late last week, there was an all-school event where they set out a 1-mile course through Dixie and with their efforts the national lead was taken from Northfield Falls. Greg Knowles of Bicycle Barn in Walla Walla was on hand before the ride to provide quick safety checks on the bikes.

Between May 1-Sept. 30, the Get Up and Ride challenge has participants record their rides, add up the miles ridden, calories burned, and gas money saved.

“You can connect with other riders in the challenge, or embrace the spirit of competition by winning points for your employer, your community, or your state,” according to the website.

Riders become eligible for prize drawings after they’ve logged three days on their bikes.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.


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