1977 Super Bowl of Cycling
With the passing into history of Riverfront Stadium (Cinergy Field for you youngsters), it seems only appropriate to review its’ brief, but breath taking, cycling history. The stadium hosted one bicycle race the RIVERTOWN RALLY Gran Prix of Cycling. While it wasn’t the biggest bicycle race of 1977, it was probably the only one that encompassed an NFL stadium.
The race was the brainchild of Greg Hanfbauer and me. Greg was at the time an up-and-coming officer of QCW as well as a rising star in the administration of the City of Cincinnati. Greg had a burning desire to put on a bicycle race in the streets of downtown Cincinnati, and he knew the people who could make it happen.
We teamed up with the Downtown Council to promote a downtown bicycle race. The Downtown Council is the downtown promotions arm of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, the same organization which originated and owns Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. Betty Lane of the Downtown Council was instrumental in assisting us with the race and would later become the QCW Secretary, Publicity Director and Newsletter Editor into the early 1990’s.
There were many false starts on downtown courses, most of them focusing on the Lytle Park area. Eventually we settled on a labyrinthine route that encompassed the Riverfront Stadium complex. It was a stunning course!
The start/finish area was on the east side of the stadium plaza. You circled around the south side of the plaza exited the plaza level onto the ramp of the Suspension Bridge, made a sweeping right hand turn onto the elevated roadway along the north side of the stadium, down a 180° right-hand turn onto 2nd Street. On 2nd it was like riding in a tunnel underneath the stadium plaza with the support columns flickering past like a picket fence. Then you busted out into daylight only to perform another 180° turn and head back under the stadium plaza. Upon exiting the tunnel a second time you made your third 180° and headed up the ramp that would take you across Ft. Washington Way. A right turn onto 3rd Street was followed by three quick, tight, uphill, 90° left turns which put you onto the bus/taxi ramp to the stadium. Exiting the ramp onto the stadium plaza you were faced with a quick S turn to avoid the traffic islands and then headed to the finish. Approximately 1.5 miles of pure torture! As the race application noted “Wheelsuckers need not apply!”
The race took place on Sunday, August 21st, a day which started out warm and sunny and finished with thunderstorms that matched the course in ferocity. One lesson learned that day was that however well intentioned your thoughts might be, covering the sewer lids with plywood to keep bicycle wheels out will also keep out a lot of rain water!
If you’re putting on a race in an area where they don’t have a lot of electrical outlets you may need to rent a generator. We rented one and put it down one level in the stadium parking garage. Not having a lot of extension cords I made a 250 footer out of some house wire my dad had lying around. House wire might seem like pretty tough stuff, but after the race, when you’ve driven through one too many deep puddles while picking up your plywood sewer lid covers, and your 1973 Honda Civic has stalled out and won’t restart, don’t bother trying to tow your car with it, Greg and I did, but that wire kept breaking!
The race drew a good number of riders for an event with a modest prize list. Those who came almost certainly had one of their more memorable bicycle races, not just for the course but for the weather that the Senior I/II event experienced. The course and weather moved Alan Marcosson enough that he wrote a dramatic article for Velo News. The piece was titled “Did I hear a bell?” and ran over a photograph of a bunch of race officials standing around in the rain. The photo was not from our race, but it gave the story a very special look.
|Did I hear a bell?
by: Alan Marcosson
published by Velo News
The rain exploded with a might crash as we set out at the gun.
Cincinnati’s Rivertown Rally on August 21 was funny. Tortuous course: nine corners including three 180’s and three esses, plus a couple of sweeping things in a mile-and-a-half circuit touching every exposure and elevation of the giant Riverfront Stadium complex, home of the Reds and Bengals. Ramps, bridges, tunnels, oil, cracks and off-camber. And rain. Funny, and great.
Some lesser lights who raced a lot in 1970 when the Midwest had rain about eight Sundays running (and who never forgot their hard lessons) went to the front and just tooled along listening to the carnage. There was so much big meat crashing that Mao must have vibrated. Pretty quickly gaps blossomed and grew.
But then the rain stopped, there were dry spots spreading between corners, the meatmen behind looked awfully mad as they chased us through the flickering up-and-back basement stretch, and I was worried.
“Cool,” I pleaded of the little Wolverine who looked like a mean sprinter, “Steady – it’s our only chance ‘less it rains again.” But Ted Waterbury, the only man of repute in our company, was antsy. Boom! off the front he went, leaving us three and frazzled. I could hear the dragon to the rear gnashing its collective hundreds of inches.
I prayed. Lord, let it rain. The sky blackened and electricity danced over the stadium to terrific thunder cracks. Then it rained as if to was us all into the Ohio. (May never pray again.) Water coursed over the open decks and down the ramps. The stream from my front wheel slowed my feet turning past. We couldn’t hear. Competitive isolation.
But I could see a little. From 12 to go on lap cards held low so as not to get zapped, the officials went to two big ONE’s displayed on either roadside. Did I hear a bell?
Waterbury is generous; he loses it on a bridge approach and jumps back like a punching dummy. But we’re on him nearly. Around the last corners I kick it hard and catch Ted while the sprinter-type slides off. Lead out. S-turn. Mad sprint in the spray. Can’t see… white line, throw the bike, Ted charges past. It was a crosswalk. He wins.
But he doesn’t know It – thinks it was a prime and the race is not over – and he keeps right on going! I chase half-heartedly, uncertain myself in the din and glare. Halfway around I’ve got my head sorted and am laughing insanely at the two of us racing desperately in these conditions while the race is over. He falls again, jumps up red-faced and blowing as I tool past with, “Ted, the race is over.”
I kept going just in case it wasn’t, but it was.
|Senior Men I & II||Senior Men III||Senior Men IV||Junior Men||Novice Men 18-39|
|40 Riders – $500||32 Riders – $250||60 Riders – $200||22 Riders – $250||34 Riders|
|1st Ted Waterbury*||1st Kim Kroll||1st David A. Gecks||1st Gerry Fornes||1. Jeff Schuster|
|2nd Alan Macosson*||2nd Rick Mitchell||2nd Gary L. Gifford||2nd Tom Chew||2. Greg Coor|
|3rd Matt Eaton||3rd Gerg Cloyd||3rd William S. Herst||3rd Tim Dull||3. F. Scott Sommer|
|4th Martin Rossmann||4th John K. Stewart Jr.||4th Stephen Rau||4th Matt Eaton||4. Dwight Elliot|
|5th Dave Eaton||5th Joe Huth||5th Russell Kopf||5th Brent Schuster||5. Tim Weber|
|6th Chris Frost||6th John Montag||6th Guiliano Maddamma||6th Gary Miller||6. Kent Wright|
|7th Alan Kingsbery*||7th Robert H. Zeman||7th Mark Langenteld||7th Brian Jones||7. Timothy Sommer|
|8th Ken Blauvelt||8th Craig Campbell||8th David Raber||8th Pete Bronson||8. Bill Mann|
|John Montag||Michael Limke||Rick Janke||Robert Janke||9. J.C. Martin|
|Gene Cornwell||Gene Cornwell||Francisco Cardona||Mike Zoeller||10. Dennis Geiger|
|Michael Limke||Jonathan Spicker||Morris May||Randy Strong||11. James F. Bill|
|Robert Janke||Terry Sullivan||Howard Muntz||Stephen Tull||12. Robert C. Steele|
|Tom Doughty*||Stephen Ryan||David K. Moore||Brad Decker||13. Robert Heilitel|
|Tom Chew*||Chuck Winkelman||Joseph Obermeyer||Bill Brissman||14. Bart Hughes|
|Gerry Fornes*||Ron Martin||Greg Luken||John Mcdaniel||15. Roger Auge|
|Chrostopher Meingast*||Kert Larkin||Gary Meyer||Mark Delong||16. Brad Oliver|
|Wayne Stetina*||Stephen Foley||Richard Penham||William Rodger||17. Richard Bruggeman|
|Dave Bonnell||John P. Curry||Bruce Skillings|
|Tom Lobdell||Randall Ward||Dave Fornes||Veteran Men 40+||Novice Men 40+|
|James Huff||David Chinn||Clay S. Mcclannon||4 Riders – $100||4 Riders|
|Dave Pigott||Mark J. Llewellyn||Frank Radaker Jr.||1st Dave Eaton||1. John W. Peter|
|Steve Mcclain||Charles R. Miller||Brad Erdy||2nd James Hilke||2. Gill Mann|
|Mark Ohlman||Jim Rosa||Tom L. Bauwens||3rd Mack Jackson||3. Millard Segal|
|Maurice Holahan||Steven R. Adwey||Mark Bidwell||4th Ralph A. Llewellyn||4. Walt Smith|
|Gary Weyrick||James Naber||William M. Heinz|
|Wesley E. Falker||Dale E. Courte||Rodger K. Blackburn||Intermediates||Novice Boys 11 -14|
|Mark Ballenger||Richard Bailey||Paul M. Keller||8 Riders – $100||6 Riders|
|Jeff Wilson||Stephen C. Schanke||1st Mason Clapper||1. Christopher Spicker|
|Jan Jones||James Brown||2nd Troy Stetina||2. John Rolf|
|Kevin Wesley||Don Ernest||3rd Ron Hanna||3. Barry Hudepohl|
|Darryl Dean||Jeff Reed||Leanne Johnson||4. Jeff Luken|
|Lonnie Kennedy||Harald Portig||John Butler||5. Mark Shafer|
|Richard Bailey||Gordon G. Fink||Jem Eaton||6. Doug Wainscott|
|Givliano Maddamma||Jim Donahue||David Hicken|
|Rick Mitchell||Jimmy L. Kirby||Bill Duning||Novice Women 18-39|
|Steven R. Adwell||Lee Test||4 Riders|
|Joe Huth||Thomas J. Davis||Junior Women||1. Carolyn Blachwoski|
|Brad Decker||Kurt Young||3 Riders – TBD||2. Dianne Rappapart|
|Kert Larkin||Arthur Funk||1st Sylvia Esser||3. Diane E. Steele|
|Kenneth Caldwell||2nd Debbie Kaufman|
|xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx||xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx||Steve Williams||3rd Sofie Eaton||Novice Boys 15-17|
|Officials||Chip Krieg||16 Riders|
|Race Directors||Dan Humpert||Roy Dilley||Senior Women||1. Dana Paul|
|“||Dave Moore||Loyd A. Mcjunkin Jr.||5 Riders – $100||2. Matt Wind|
|“||Greg Hanfbauer||Jay Wolkoff||1st Terry Mahoney||3. Steven Veite|
|Referee||Gary Weyrick||John Lubbers||2nd Roxanne Williamson||4. Eric Roockx|
|Starter||Phil Kennedy, Jr.||George P. Bray||3rd Becky Smith||5. Ken Belezky|
|Chief Registrar||Jonathan Spicker||Lonnie Kennedy||Mary Feeman||6. Robert Westendorf|
|Assoc. Registrar||Judy Wissel||Marc Reynolds||Barbara Rappaport||7. Timothy Spicker|
|Course Marshall||Kliff Hodgkin||Kurt Mueller||8. Nick Carey|
|Assoc. C. Marshall||David Burleigh||Hank Schrenker||xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx|
|Scorer||Dell Williamson||Joe Klosterman||Novice Girls 15-17|
|Chief Timer||Mark Vincent||Carl E. Cook Ii||1 Rider|
|Communications||Milford 11 Meter CB Club||xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx||xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx||1. Megan Reardon|