It was 93 degrees when the first of several All That Jazz Criterium bike racers began competing in downtown Cheraw early Saturday, but by the time the last race started in the evening, participants were greeted with more refreshing temperatures that followed a brief rain.
This is the third year Cheraw has hosted a Criterium race, said the event’s organizer Dr. Ron Bartley. “Everything has gone smoothly,” Bartley said Saturday. “I’m very pleased.”
Racers from several states competed here, in the one mile loop that took only minutes for them to run. In fact, said Bartley, some racers completed the lap in one minute and 30 seconds. “That’s riding fast!” said Bartley.
These bike racers are so fast, that occasionally, as the pace car driven by Cheraw Police Captain Keith Thomas, rounded the corner at Market Hall, it seemed to have a little trouble staying in front of the leaders.
Members of the Cheraw Police Department were on hand all day to see that blocked off areas remained safe from traffic. Volunteers were set up at the start/finish line in front of the Post Office for handling bike repairs and for announcing the events of the day. The race, sanctioned by the Carolinas Cycling Association, registered 75 racers this year, which is slightly down from last year’s event in Cheraw. However, organizers were not discouraged on participation as lots of junior racers were in Georgia this past weekend for national competitions there.
First place winners in each event included: Chad Rochester of Columbia in the Men’s Category 5 race; Sonja Van Holderbeke of Charlotte in the Women’s Category 4 race; Joshua Brown of New Bern, N.C., in the Men’s Category 4 race; Chris Emou of Arden, N.C., in the Masters 35+ category; Adam Perez of Raleigh in the Men’s Category 3 race; Sarah Fader of Morrisville, N.C., in the Women’s Category 1, 2 and 3; and Evan Fader of Morrisville, N.C., in the Pro 1/2 Category.
According to Bartley, “All the racers enjoyed racing in downtown Cheraw. They liked the people. They liked the course. And many plan to come back and bring their friends next year. They said Cheraw is a great place to be.”
Plans are already under way for next year’s race, said Bartley, but that date will not be set until December.
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.