Cumberland Times-News

October 1, 2009

Bike ride Sunday benefits Wounded Warrior Project

Kevin Spradlin

CUMBERLAND — Up to 80 bicycle riders are expected to travel area roads Sunday as part of the Western Maryland Wheelmen’s charity ride.

Riders have a 37-mile and 63-mile option, said John Waugaman, a member of the 9-year-old bike club. Proceeds from both distances will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, a program that helps injured military personnel recover and return to civilian life.

“A bicycle and a helmet is really all you need,” Waugaman said.

And an appetite for a challenge. Both courses traverse rolling country roads with at least a couple of major inclines — very much unlike a casual trip from Frostburg to Cumberland via the Great Allegheny Passage.

“We expect to have cyclists from all over the region to participate in this event,” said Don Annonio, one of the coordinators of the ride. “I don’t want to make this overly intimidating ... but the reality is, you probably wouldn’t tackle a half-marathon unless you’re a runner.”

And, Annonio conveyed, you might not want to tackle this course unless you’re properly conditioned.

Beginning riders are discouraged from the event, but Waugaman said a strong trail rider making the transition to roads could successfully complete at least the shorter distance, which travels from downtown Cumberland east to Mason Road and out to Lakes Gordon and Koon.

Much of the ride, Annonio said, consists of “all beautiful, gently rolling country roads, low traffic and great scenery.”

Participants in the 37-mile ride will have a single rest stop at the Centerville (Pa.) Volunteer Fire Department before returning to Cumberland.

The 63-mile ride, slightly more than 100 kilometers, follows the same route of the shorter distance for the first half. Riders tack on additional distance on the return trip, heading up Rocky Gap Road into Rocky Gap State Park. Riders later will travel along Flintstone Creek Road, “with Buckhannon State Forest on one side and a lovely babbling creek on the other,” Annonio said.

Once bound for Cumberland, “we’ll have that wonderful climb (up Martins Mountain) that everyone will be looking forward to,” Annonio said.

Registration opens Sunday beginning at 8 a.m. at Canal Place in downtown Cumberland. The location also serves as the finish line of both rides, where organizers have live entertainment and a picnic planned.

For more information, call Annonio at (240) 580-4494 or log on to www.wmwonline.org or www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

Contact Kevin Spradlin at kspradlin@times-news.com.