WORTON — They climbed the hills of Harford and Cecil counties, pedaled furiously along the flat land by this Kent County town on the Eastern Shoreand bicycled 100 miles in a single day to complete a "century."
To most of the bicyclists from Carroll County, completing a century inthe annual Cycle Across Maryland tour was more than a matter of justpedaling a great distance.
It presented a challenge. And even though the terrain along the course through Maryland and Delaware was relatively flat, the glaring sun and heat were formidable obstacles.
"Riding 100 miles is a challenge," said Tom Cherigo of Gamber.
Nearly half the 33 Carroll residents riding in the tour, which wrapped the Chesapeake Bay, completed the century.
Cherigo, 46, who works for the federal government,and his 13-year-old son, Matt, finished their second century. Fatherand son completed one last year, as well, during the CAM tour from Havre de Grace in Harford County to St. Mary's County.
Eldersburg resident Anthony Green, 45, and his riding companion, Curt Phillips, 30, of Middle River, paced themselves at 15 mph throughout the century, which traversed Delaware wetlands and miles of fields of corn and soybeans
Like other Eldersburg residents Stephen Ellis, 47, and Mike Gesuele, 46, Green and Phillips made stops for subs and fresh fruitshakes at Vonnies, a popular eatery in Kent County.
Whether the shakes, which attracted many on the tour for $2, fueled the bicyclists, is not known, but all four men completed the century over several hours to earn a patch.
Among other Carroll residents completing thecentury were Tom Anzalone, 45, of Eldersburg; Randy Wilson, 50, of Westminster; Cynthia Green, 18, daughter of Anthony Green; and Franklin Schaeffer, 39, of Frizzelburg.
Bruce Culver of Westminster intended to ride the century as well, but had three flats before reaching the turning point about 13 miles out of North East, Cecil County. Even so, the 21-year-old, a salesman at Race Pace bicycle shop in Westminster, completed the day's regular 64-mile course in four hours. He was the first bicyclist to reach the Worton camp site.
"I like the flats," he said. "I'm tougher on flats than I am on hills."
The 300-plus mile tour, which features a different part of Maryland each year, ended yesterday in Easton in Talbot County. The tour began in Solomons in Calvert County.
Unlike Culver, many Carroll bicyclists took their time along each day's route, stopping for Gatorade and snacks at mom-and-pop stores or to take pictures of covered bridges and historic sites.
"It's been a great tour," said Jim Blaney, 56, an Eldersburg insurance agent. "It's had its challenging moments, but it'sbeen a good time."
Twenty-one-year-old Kevin Benjamin of Westminster, who, like Culver, rides intensely, found the tour enjoyable and not as tough as expected.
"I'm surprised it hasn't been as tough,"said Benjamin, a guitar teacher. "Sixty miles didn't seem as long asI thought it would."
Friday's 64-mile ride began in Worton and crossed through the rich farmland hugging the Eastern Shore. Occasionally, there were rides through quaint towns and breaks in the cornfields, allowing riders panoramic views of the bay.
During the day's ride, in which temperatures soared into the high 90s, some, like Schaeffer, chief of the Carroll Bureau of Development/Review, took cooling dips in a park pool opened to CAM riders for $1, or at a beach several miles out of Centreville, Queen Anne's County.
"It felt great," said Schaeffer.