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Bell-ringing records

Jane Stebbins

“We want to pack the street from Washington in both directions,” said race director Len Pettyjohn. “We’ll have the fire department and their hook-and-ladder truck with a photographer from AP and Reuters up there. The camera will show Breckenridge with the largest bell-ringing ceremony in North America.”

The world record was set in Poland when 10,000 people rang bells during a Christmas and New Year’s celebration.

“It’s going to be very cool,” Pettyjohn said. “It will get a lot of attention when people see all these people jammed in the street ringing the bells.”

People will ring the bells for 15 to 20 minutes prior to the completion of the men’s race.

“Historically, cow bells were used by the Swiss to ring at local sporting events,” Pettyjohn said. “Over time, noise-making at competitions has evolved into a sport of its own. They’re especially evident at the winter Olympic alpine skiing events and always seen at the Tour de France.”

The bells will be distributed at the Saturn tent on Main Street and at the Blue River Plaza.

The Saturn Cycling Classic is a one-day, 140-mile race that requires bicyclists to negotiate seven mountain passes, including Oh My God Road outside of Idaho Springs, Guanella and Hoosier passes. Racers will compete at elevations exceeding 11,500 feet. They also face steep, off-camber, no-guard-rail descents, dirt roads, extended sections of brutal crosswinds and 80 miles of uphill riding.

According to Pettyjohn, no race in the world equals the distance, number of climbs, elevation and varied environmental conditions of the Saturn Cycling Classic, which combines the world’s finest male elite road and mountain bike racers.

The Nicole Reinhart Criteriums comprise four criterium races in downtown Breckenridge. It was named in honor of the inaugural criterium winner in 2000, Nicole Reinhart, who was killed later that season while racing in Boston. The series includes a womens’ criterium and three mens’ criteriums.

The women’s event will be conducted in the miss-and-out format. Lapped riders, as well as the last place rider in designated sprint laps, are removed from the event until the last two remaining riders compete in the final lap. Men will race 45-minute timed criteriums, and kids ages 15 to 18 will race a 30-minute criterium as part of the Lance Armstrong Junior Olympic Race Series.

“We originally thought it was one of those things we didn’t know if we could do,” Pettyjohn said of the coordination involved. “But it’s too good to pass up. Everyone who’s heard of the concept is excited about it. Everyone thinks it’ll be fun, and now everyone’s going to try to copy us. It’s always nice to be first.”

Chris Klug, last winter’s Olympic bronze medal-winning snowboarder, will represent Saturn National Donor Day Charity. Klug made Olympic and medical history in February when he captured the bronze medal in snowboarding, demonstrating to the world his recovery from a liver transplant in July 2000. Born in Vail and currently living in Aspen, Klug is an avid mountain biker and waveboarder. He will visit with fans and sign autographs in Breckenridge from 1 to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact http://www.saturncyclingclassic.com or (303) 443-7020.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or jstebbins@summitdaily.com.


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