Tyler Bicycle Club

Tyler Morning Telegraph April 27, 2002

The Beauty and the Beast Bicycle Tour and Kids Race is taking on a new feature as it readies for its 16th annual "cycle through scenic East Texas" Saturday.

This year's tour includes a race.

"We've had riders in the past who've wanted to turn it into a race, so this year we gave them one," said Bill Cornelius of the Tyler Bicycle Club, the tour's organizer for the past four years.

The new feature of this year's tour is "The Dog/Death Valley Adventure," a 70-mile route patterned after European cycling, Cornelius said, snaking through narrow backroads, bridges and "one of the dog-gone beastly steepest climbs" leading to Love's Lookout near Jacksonville.

Cash prizes will be awarded to racers posting the best times: $100 for first place; $50 for second and $25 for third in both men's and women's categories. Free entry in next year's race will also be awarded to the top three finishers in each category.

The tour begins at 9 a.m., rain or shine, in the parking lot of The University of Texas at Tyler, 3900 University Blvd. The course closes at 3 p.m.

Registration is available up until the moment of the race, and there are no restrictions as to the type of bicycle participants may ride.

Event-day packet pick-up and registration begins at 7 a.m. For more information, call (800) 235-5712, e-mail or register online at www.TylerBicycleClub.com.

The registration fee of $25 covers all related materials, including rest stop snacks, drinks and a post-ride barbecue meal.

All participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt and free helmets will be provided for riders 12-and-under. ANSI- or Snell-approved helmets are required of all riders. Participants under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The event will once gain feature the Kids Race, a supervised race around the UT Tyler parking lot open to children ages 5 to 12. Registration is free, and all participants will receive a complimentary T-shirt as well as an entry in a drawing for one of several new bicycles provided by Tanner Bikes.

Tour route distances range from the short "beginner's" route of 12 miles, up to the 70-mile trail for the more seasoned cyclist. Intermediate distances include 20, 33, 41 and 52 miles. Courses run west of Tyler and include such features as the fabled "Beast," a steep incline off Highway 69 near Mount Selman, dubbed "Killer Hill."

Despite the presence of a cycling race for the first time, Cornelius said the course offers routes and distances accessible to riders of all skill levels, and riders can choose the most difficult leg even if they don't intend to race.

"People shouldn't feel intimidated," he said.

By: HAROLD WILSON, Staff WriterApril 27, 2002


CHASE GROUP: Riders in the chase group turn onto FM 344 near Bullard during Saturday’s 16th Annual Beauty & the Beast bicycle tour. Atlanta’s Manny Samaniego, formerly of Tyler, won the 70-mile race. (Staff Photo By Herb Nygren Jr.)
Amid ideal racing conditions, 615 cyclists pedaled their way through the 16th Annual Beauty & the Beast Bicycle Tour. 

Amid ideal racing conditions, 615 cyclists pedaled their way through the 16th Annual Beauty & the Beast Bicycle Tour. (April 28, 2002)
With temperatures hovering in the mid-80's by the race's conclusion - along with a mix of clouds providing the shade - the event saw an increase of 105 participants from a year ago.

Cyclists from Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and all over Texas converged on Tyler for the ride. 

"Anytime it doesn't rain, that's good," event organizer Bill Cornelius said. "I'm tickled with the weather. Earlier in the week, it looked like it might rain. And with it being overcast (Saturday) wasn't a bad thing either - that kept it cooler. Being dry is the main thing, since water creates safety problems."

The tour, hosted by the University of Texas at Tyler and the Tyler Bicycling Club, upped the distance of its longest course from 64 to 70 miles and included, for the first in years, a race for place in addition to the regular tour run. 

The extra six miles came courtesy of the new feature "Dog/Death Valley Adventure," which organizers patterned after European cycling. The Adventure took riders through narrow backroads, bridges and steep climbs leading right up to Love's Lookout near Jacksonville. 

Former Tylerite Manny Samaniego, representing the Atlanta Cycling Club, finished first in the tightly contested men's 70-mile race. Steve Kidd and Ramond Parker, both of Tyler, came in second and third, respectively. 

"That race was exciting," Cornelius said. "It was very packed with about 20 riders coming up to the finish line."

Ginny King, riding for Trek-Volkswagen, claimed first place on the women's side ahead of Pam Bates, who rode for Bedford Bicycles. Tyler's Elizabeth LeSauvage followed in third.

Samaniego and King each received $100 for their victories, Kidd and Bates won $50 for finishing as runners-up, and Parker and LeSauvage earned $25 for placing third. 

The race, which passes through the scenic beauty of East Texas while battling "beast-like" hills, started out east toward Henderson from the UT Tyler campus and headed south through Troup. After reaching its southernmost spot at the backside of Love's Lookout, the race veered back north up Highway 69 through Bullard and back to its starting spot. 

Other riding distances ranged from 12 miles for beginners to 20, 33, 41 and 52 miles for intermediates and 64 and 70 miles for veteran riders.

"It allowed people who ride bikes to have fun and enjoy a big event and riding with a big group," Cornelius said. "And at the same time, they got to exercise."

For the second consecutive year, the tour held the Kids Race for young cyclists ages 5-12. The 37 kids who entered circled the UT Tyler parking lot, splitting up into four age groups: 5-6; 7-8; 9-10; and 11-12. 

All the kids received T-shirts and trophies, while four won bikes through a raffle.

"We were happy with that and we hope to continue that and see it grow," Cornelius said. 

Other contestants won door prizes for men's and women's Festina watches, a free blue paint job, T-shirts and 10 Tyler Bicycle Club caps and bottles. 

All proceeds from the tour benefit the UT Tyler Athletic Department and the Texas Bicycle Coalition, which advocates rights for cyclists and bike safety education. 

Harold Wilson covers sports. He can be reached at 903.596.6293. e-mail:



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