Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

May 4, 2012

Bike race thrills First Friday crowd

GOSHEN — When you think about Goshen, one of the first things that comes to mind is bicycling — a product of the miles and miles of bike trails snaking their way through the Maple City.

So, when it’s time to plan an event as part of First Fridays — what better event than a bike race?

The “I Love Goshen Bicycle Criterium” was divided into three separate races of increasing duration and difficulty: 30 minutes, 45 minutes and 60 minutes to culminate the evening.

The event attracted more than 160 cyclists of all ages and skill levels — and one family from Niles, Mich. who have made what started out as a hobby into something a bit more serious.

The Pratt family has a team, “Cyclin’ Pratt,” complete with specially designed racing uniforms and a corporate sponsor, Pro Forma, a franchised promotional goods company based in Granger.

Tom Pratt, patriarch of the family, was stationed along Fifth Street near the start-finish line filming the action. Four of his children — David, 21; Tony, 15; Maria, 12; and Gregory, 10 — were in the first race.

The family has been biking for several years, Tom Pratt said. “It’s a great family activity and a way for us to do something together,” he said.

David Pratt — a junior at Notre Dame studying mechanical engineering — won the first race.

He was third last year, and very pleased to win this time out.

And instead of parking his bike and resting on his laurels for the night, David Pratt planned to tackle the second race, which began about 15 minutes after the first one ended.

“We’ll see how that goes,” David Pratt said with a smile.

He also competes with the Notre Dame cycling team. Cycling is a club sport at Notre Dame; another Pratt sibling was unable to be in Goshen due to a race in Idaho.

David concurs with his father that cycling is a great way for the family to spend time together.

And while winning is nice, getting to spend time together is what it’s all about, he added.

Joseph Martin won the 45-minute race, and the culmination of the evening — the 60-minute race — was taken in a photo finish by Matt Light of Warsaw and the “Racing for Riley” team.

Light said the team, in a twist, actually “sponsors” Riley Hospital for Children, donating race winnings to the Indianapolis children’s hospital.

Team members also participate in fundraisers and spend time at Riley visiting with the children there.

“That’s when we realize what it’s all about,” Light said. “Helping these kids.”

The team is sponsored by Alderfer Bergen and Company of Warsaw, a financial planning firm.

Co-owner Alan Alderfer is involved with fundraising for Riley for a special reason: His 5-year-old daughter Katherine is a Riley kid.

“We send these guys out to about 60 races a year,” Alderfer said.

“It’s all about getting the word out about Riley and the great things they do for children there.”

Light’s winning portion of the $1,200 purse added up to $400 for Riley.

 

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