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Archive for Thursday, September 24, 1992

23RD ANNUAL OCTOGINTA ROLLS AROUND NEXT WEEKEND

September 24, 1992

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It takes 70 gallons of hot minestrone soup, 1,200 slices of bologna and salami and 65 loaves of wheat bread just to feed them lunch.

And when they sweep through Lawrence the morning of Oct. 4, they will resemble a flight of locusts traveling across the country.

Who are these hungry buggers?

A group of about 600 bicycle enthusiasts who will descend on Lawrence next weekend to participate in the 23rd annual Octoginta bicycle tour. The Lawrence Bicycle Club, which has sponsored Octoginta since 1987, has planned a weekend of cycling activities.

A 10-kilometer race will kick off the events at 9 a.m. Oct. 3 and will be open to people who have never raced before but want to see how fast they can ride.

ALSO ON OCT. 3, will be the 30-mile Tour De County ride, a swap meet, a slide show of the 1992 Bike Across Kansas ride and the first-ever mountain bike ride during Octoginta weekend, a 36-mile trek over the backroads of Douglas County.

Octoginta, the main event of the weekend, will begin at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 4. The cyclists will leave South Park with a police escort and will travel toward Lecompton and on into Shawnee County. Those who complete the tour will have ridden 80 miles.

But, of course, there are options for people who can't make it that far.

At 3 p.m., drivers will start at the back of the route and pick up riders who are lagging behind and need a lift back to Lawrence. And for the first time at Octoginta, the route will close at 5 p.m. That's when riders will be given a last chance to catch a ride and when all "sag" stops will close.

Lawrence Bicycle Club members have a variety of definitions for a sag, among them a "sit and gab," a "stop and go," or, member Jim Abram says, if it's at the top of a hill, it's a "stop and gab." Bicycle club member Pat Long says it's an "organized attitude adjustment . . . a good time to get off the bike and admire the scenery and keep smiling. My personal motto when I bike is no whining."

IN LAYMAN'S terms, a sag is a chance for cyclists to rest, go to the bathroom and grab a snack or something to drink, and there will be six of them on the Octoginta route. Lawrence Bicycle Club members suggest that less advanced riders try to ride to the first sag, which will be at Lecompton, and back.

Lawrence Bicycle Club members agree that the 80-mile course is a tough one. Long said she thinks that if cyclists can ride well in the hills, valleys and plateaus of northeastern Kansas, they can ride successfully anywhere in Kansas, as well as in other states.

"This is just a prime cycling area, and if someone isn't used to the area, it can be a challenging ride," she said.

Lawrence Bicycle Club member Jerry Sloan said since Octoginta is held near the end of the cycling season, it's a good chance for cyclists who rode together in other tours to meet up again.

"You know a lot more people at the end than you do at the beginning," he said.

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