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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 14, 2009

Circuit bike race in full cycle for Altamont in September

By Jordan J. Michael

ALTAMONT –– Dieter Drake and Judith Wines believe that Altamont is the perfect place for an organized bike race.

Wines and Drake stood in front of the Altamont Village Board on May 5 and hoped their Altamont Circuit Race plan would pass. It did just that and all were in favor of the bike race for Sept. 27.

Wines and Drake are both avid cyclists and Drake is a former United States ranked masters-level time trialist. Drake is also an eight-time Empire State Games medalist for cycling.

“We’re trying to make Altamont a more bike and pedestrian-friendly place,” said Mayor James Gaughan a week before the meeting. “If this village becomes more bike friendly, then it has a positive economic effect. This race would support our ideas.”

The Altamont Circuit Race is a fund-raiser for the Altamont Free Library, which Wines directs. Wines met Drake, a former Guilderland High School student, at a Thanksgiving get-together with friends. The two started talking about biking.

“I knew Pat Spohr from the library and he introduced me to Wines and we got talking,” said Drake, now a resident of Cambridge, N.Y. “She wanted to know what I thought about a bike race in Altamont and I thought it was a good idea. This was all a big coincidence. Life is exciting like that.”

The circuit track will be 3.5 to 4 miles long and will start and finish on Main Street at Maple Avenue. Police officers will be at four different locations and volunteer road marshals will be at intersections, driveways, and businesses. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“There will be two races on the course at any given time,” Drake said. “There will be different characteristics for age and ability. Everything from beginners, to professional, and kids.”

Drake and Wines are planning on 250 cyclists for the event. Wines told The Enterprise that she’s concentrating on raising the profile of the library. The library is in the process of moving to the historic train station.

“Helping the image is more important than raising money,” said Wines. “We want the library to be resourced with physical activity. We get the pleasure of that and the pleasure of raising some money for the move.”

The one concern at the village board meeting was traffic during the event. Wines and Drake went over traffic and safety criteria before the meeting with Public Saftey Commissioner Anthony Salerno.

“In a perfect world, we could close the roads, but that’s unreal,” said Salerno at the meeting. “However, I’m OK with the criteria of the race and Altamont police will be there to help direct traffic on the roads.”

“We won’t be tying up the traffic completely,” Drake said. “Bikers should know how to follow the rules of the road.”

 “Altamont is a wonderful place to ride a bike and we hope this will be an annual event,” said Wines.

“This is a race for the bikers and a fund-raiser for the library,” said Drake. “Both are of equal importance. I expect a lot of people to come out.”

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