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.
Then the first one yelled to the second one there.
I hope you’re having fun!
Small fry on the run…

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