Archive for Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Traffic concerns tie up plans for bicycle races

May 15, 2002

A bicycling race in and near Tonganoxie is taking some additional time to get rolling.

The Kansas City Orthopedic Institute's Bicycle racing team hopes to conduct three bike races June 15-16 in the Tonganoxie area.

Approval for two races is almost certain, while the third race has stalled.

Local law enforcement and city officials approved a criterium race that would be staged in the Urban Hess Business Center. A proposed time trial on Leavenworth County Road 9 (207th Street) between Leavenworth County Road 5 (Tonganoxie Road) and Leavenworth County Road 8 is also 90 percent approved, said Craig Bissell, KCOI race promotions director.

But the road race is in question. The proposed event would go north on County Road 9, west on County Road 8 (Dempsey Road), back north and east on County Road 10 (Jarbalo Road), then back south on county roads 29 and 5.

Overall, the road race will cover between 40 and 60 miles and last about four hours. The Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department is concerned about traffic safety for that course, so discussion is still under way.

"We're scrambling trying to find some new sites for some races," Bissell said. "Everyone's been really helpful. The Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department is just doing their job. Our main concern is safety, not only for racers, but for the public."

The KCOI team hopes to attract cyclists from Leavenworth, Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka and Wichita. Bissell hopes the event will also lure cyclists from St. Louis, Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma and possibly Texas and Illinois.

"That's a great weekend to have the race because there's no other race that weekend in the area," Bissell said.

He said the date was also ideal because it comes after the rainy spring season and before the hotter days of July and August.

Usually, the three races the criterium, time trial and road race don't take place at the same venue, another plus for this race for Bissell.

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