SERIOUS CYCLING115 cyclists pedal into city for Bricks & Spokes

Published 11:40 pm Saturday, October 6, 2012

Claudette Gilman traveled more than 400 miles to ride 50.

A Vicksburg native, Gilman lives in Cape Girardeau, Mo., 422 miles north of Vicksburg. She decided to come home and ride in the city’s third annual Bricks & Spokes ride after seeing information about it on Facebook.

“I had joined a triathalon team where I live, and saw the bike ride on Facebook,” she said. “I said, ‘My city has a bike race, I’ve got to got to go do that.’ I wasn’t working this weekend, so I decided to enter. I forgot about the hills.”

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Gilman was one of 115 riders who participated in Bricks & Spokes, which gives participants a choice of riding 10-, 30- and 50-mile courses. All of them include a trip across the Mississippi River on the old U.S. 80 bridge into Delta, La., and back.

A check of the BancoropSouth parking lot and the parking spots around it, offered a geographic lesson on the state, with cars and pickups showing tags from Adams, Madison, Washington, Hinds, DeSoto and Lauderdale counties. At least one rider was from Tennessee.

Riders were attired in all manner of clothing from spandex riding shorts with spiked bicycle shoes to shorts, T-shirts and athletic shoes. All riders wore helmets.

“We had a total of 125 people register,” said Vicksburg Main Street executive director Kim Hopkins said Saturday. “We had 200 last year, but we had some competition this year ,and that may have reduced participation.”

She said Bike MS, a 150-mile bike ride which included a portion of Warren County, was also Saturday, “and there were other events, like soccer, swim meets and football games.”

She added the weather might have also played a part, as overcast skies and a temperature in the mid- to upper 50s accompanied by stiff winds, greeted the riders and stayed with them during the ride. There were no injuries, she said.

Gilman was one of the last riders to finish the course, approaching the finish at the Vicksburg Senior Center saying, “I hate hills, I hate hills.”

“It was a lot of fun,” she said after catching her breath.

She pointed to Carol Kossman from Madison, another rider who finished with her.

“I had some help,” she said.

“We met about halfway, after about 20 miles,” Kossman said. “She didn’t have a way to tell her mileage, and I kept her informed where we were. We pushed each other. We had a police officer and another guy on a motorcycle behind us. They stayed with us the whole way and blocked the intersections as we went by. We appreciated that.”