Friday, May 18, 2012

The 2012 El Roble Bike Marathon...

If the end of the school year is fast approaching, then it must be time for the El Roble Intermediate School Bike Marathon. This was the 35th year of the annual event which raises funds to support programs of the Claremont Chapter of the Red Cross. As mentioned in past years, the students (8th grade) who participate in the Marathon, either as riders or lap counters, must meet certain academic requirements, write an essay on why they should be allowed to participate, get the approval of all their teachers, and attend a series of meetings and practices during the weeks leading up to the event.

It is fun to sit and watch, even for a short while, and you will notice differences in the attitudes of the kids; those who are there for fun, for the competition to ride the most laps, or raise the most donations. More likely, a combination of all those is true. Of course, I think there is also a sense of pride of accomplishment, in doing something to benefit the community, that is woven into the whole event. 

The Marathon is a 24-hour event, taking place from noon on Thursday to noon on Friday. The kids are split into four groups of ten riders; two groups ride laps of the track for an hour and then take an hour rest. So, it is one hour on, one hour off, throughout the twenty-four hours. The same applies to the lap counters, who each have assigned riders that they have to keep track of. It takes some stamina, especially if you are aiming for the school record. A ton of pizza and other food and snacks, gallons of water and gatorade, and more are required to fuel the riders as they circle around throughout the night. The teachers don't exactly take it easy either - I saw both Mr. Gonzalez and Ms. Foster out spinning with the students, and will work to keep the wheels rolling though the dark hours.

As I left for the evening, the sun was nearing the horizon, and it wouldn't be long before the lights came on. The cheering had been going strong for several hours by then with little, if any, decline in enthusiasm, and I wondered how long into the early morning hours it could continue. Well, it's all in fun, and since the son is riding this year, I am sure I will hear all about those early hours this afternoon.

Link to slideshow of all photos (now updated with awards). For the record, the top boy rode 632 laps, the top girl rode 578. Pretty darn good; I would sign them up for my team anytime.

the aftermath: after 535 laps = 133.75 miles of a dirt track (good enough for 3rd place, boys), your bike too may start to look like it has survived Paris-Roubaix during a dry year, or perhaps the Strada Bianca. 


  1. Thank you for sharing the pictures and for the nice write up of the event. The kids did such a wonderful job and had great attitudes throughout the event--even in the wee hours of the morning. Outstanding job El Roble!

  2. I think it is a pretty cool joint effort between the students and teachers to have kept it going so many years. It is an outstanding job.

  3. Having ridden in the Bike Marathon (this year), I must say, it was one of the best experiences i've ever had. I'm unimaginably glad that i deiced to ride in it, and if given the chance, i would do it again without hesitation!! Great job, El Roble riders and counters!!

  4. Helene, I imagine the participants will remember their time at the Bike Marathon for a long time. Congratulations on all the effort you put into it.

  5. I am thrilled to hear that the Bike Marathon is still an annual event. I was the top female rider in 1993, and it no doubt left an impact, as I am now a Ironman triathlete. This is such a special time for these students, and for the community, good luck this year!!

    Taryn Spates

  6. It is indeed a special time, and as it did with you, will no doubt set the stage for future endeavors, not only from a healthy living standpoint, but also community involvement. Cheers, and thanks for commenting.


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