Sunday, August 8, 2004

Cyclists create a park for pedaling

Good Sports: Dave Zimmer / Hebron

Click here to e-mail Russell
After six flat tires, Dave Zimmer had had enough.

The fifth-year mountain biker couldn't bear to have his bike ravaged again by the combined equestrian-mountain biking-hiking trail in the Boone County park system. Time and again, horses tangled in thorny vegetation and "wallored up" the paths, which were too small to accommodate the different types of passengers, Zimmer said.

Nearly every time Zimmer's tire deflated, Boone County parks director Ken Hund was nearby.

"I said, 'Ken, we need a better system,' " said Zimmer, 51. "He suggested looking at 100 acres of woods in England-Idlewild park and see if it would be suitable."

Two years later, those woods are home to Boone County's first mountain biking trails. The England-Idlewild Mountain Biking-Hiking Park has 11 miles of single-track trails north of Burlington.

Hund said the property, leased from the Kenton County Airport Board, was only one-third developed by the parks when the bike trail was proposed. Zimmer and fellow biking enthusiast Bill Renner, 47, mapped and flagged the acreage for trails in 2002. After their proposal was approved, the project began.

"And then it got bigger and bigger," Hund said.

Instead of three trails, a four-tier route was designed for riders of all levels. Beginner (half-mile), intermediate (2 1/2-mile) and advanced (5-mile) courses were supplemented with a technical (2 1/2-mile) route. A half-mile table top for jump loop was another bonus.

Thanks to 100 volunteers and $2,000 provided by Boone County for materials, eight creek crossings were built. Eagle Scouts contributed two picnic kiosks, and volunteers added elements such as teeter-totters for advanced riders.

Another perk is the copious signage directing bikers around the course, which helps because "in some trails, you spend half your time lost," Renner said.

The paths are armored with creek rock to prevent erosion. There's not much upkeep, Zimmer said, and the only expense the crew has is for gasoline for weed-whackers.

To celebrate how far the trails have come - and as a precursor to the final finish date in spring of 2005 - the public is invited to Public Lands Day at England-Idlewild on Sept. 18 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The day includes trail maintenance, a dedication, bicycle demonstrations and a tricks contest. Food vendors will be on hand at the free event.

From the governmental offices to the volunteers who have labored a combined 1,000 hours, Zimmer and Renner said the countywide cooperation has made the project a dream. There are still tasks to do, such as finishing the advanced trail, but bikers and hikers already have flocked to the area.

Zimmer, who said he'd "ride in a deer trail" if he could, is thrilled there's a high-level mountain bike system close to home, and enough interest to warrant it. Renner echoed his sentiments.

"I've been blown away by the interest these trails have received," Renner said. "I've gone there on weekday nights and seen 15 cars with bike racks, and that's not including all the trail walkers."


For more information about the England-Idlewild Mountain Biking-Hiking Park, visit For more about Public Lands Day, call (859) 334-2117.

Max Pescovitz / Hyde Park

Max Pescovitz didn't think the U-10 Cincy Baseball Sharks stood a chance. They entered the Simply the Best World Series in Panama City, Fla. as an eight seed - the lowest seed in the tournament. But when they faced No. 1 seed Santa Rosa Bay Sox, they shocked both teams with a 3-0 quarterfinals victory.

Pescovitz, 10, who rotates among pitcher, catcher, short stop and center field, dazzled from the mound, pitching a complete game, one-hit shut out. The Seven Hills student and right-hander struck out 11 batters en route to the win. He also went 3-for-3 at the plate and scored two of the Sharks' three runs.

"After the game my teammates came and carried me off the field. It was a good experience," Pescovitz said.

The Sharks finished their season in the next round, losing 5-3 to Pace Blaze. The Sharks are Michael Baglier, Nathan Brunty, Cody Carroll, Ryan Ferrell, Chris Grable, Spencer Iacovone, Michael Koehlke, Gustavo (Goose) Lopez, Kenneth Rieman, Andrew Shafer and Josh Taylor. Coaches are Ken Rieman, Joe Ferrell, Keith Carroll and Doug Baglier.

Dave Candy / Evendale

Once a Moeller salutatorian, now a national bodybuilder. Candy, 20, was a two-time state qualifier on the Crusaders' wrestling team before graduating in 2002. In March of 2003 he entered in the National Physique Committee's Northern Kentucky Bodybuilding Championships and has competed in five competitions since.

He has won three national titles including the NPC Junior National Championship in Chicago June 19, where he emerged as the top bantamweight.

"After high school I wanted to stay active and be on my own schedule," said Candy, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh. "(Bodybuilding) was definitely a surprise. I never would have expected it."

Candy has bulked up from 119 pounds as a high school senior to 150 pounds through training. Although his bantamweight level is 143 pounds, Candy hopes to advance to the lightweight class and 154 pounds by the time he competes again in mid-2005.

Candy appeared in Flex magazine in January and March. He will finish a degree in athletic training this year and hopes to receive a doctorate in physical therapy.

Cincinnati Elite / Mason

This 18-and-under fast-pitch softball team finished third in the USSSA World Series in Kansas City July 27 through Aug. 1. The Elite, whose players come from Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, is ranked third nationally by the USSSA and first in the Great Lake division. The team played 11 games during the tournament and at its conclusion, three players were selected to the All World Team: pitchers Carolyn Besl and Lauren Cormican, and first baseman Ashley Clapsaddle. Team members include Besl (Centre College), Katie Cammerer (Mercy High School), Cormican (East Central), Kristina Dennett (Fairfield), Clapsaddle (Wright State), Macki Nieman (Dearborne), Alex Lutes (Fenwick), Katie Lintner (Badin), Sarah Sutter (Talawanda), Marissa Page (Talawanda), and Lindsay Haines (Cincinnati Country Day). Tiffany Brison (Boone County) and Nina Winhuesen (Northwest) were unable to make the trip. The team is coached by Mike Besl and assistants April Besl and Bob Dennett.

Queen City Crossover / Cincinnati

This U-14 girls basketball team qualified for the AAU Division I Nationals in Monroe, La., July 16-22. The Crossover, comprised of players from Anderson, Georgetown, Sycamore, Covington Catholic, Wyoming, Mt. Notre Dame, and St. Ursula, posted the highest finish of any U-14 team from Cincinnati in the AAU Nationals with a 4-2 record. Its last loss was to the Kenner Angels who finished second overall. Team members include Maria Bennett, Casey Donohoo, Kristen Hammergren, Shannon Klei, Karen Nesbitt, Molly O'Brien, Bethany Perry, Sophia Quick, Gabby Smith, Julianne Smith and Stevy Vance. The Crossover's season began in March and its overall record was 39-23. Coaches were Kelly Peek, Fred Johnson III, Holly Schmitmeyer and John Richardson.

Cincinnati State / Cincinnati

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College won the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference All-Sports Award for 2003-2004. The award was given to the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference school with the best overall record among its athletic teams. This is Cincinnati State's first time winning the award. The school has teams in five sports: men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, and golf.




Thumbs up

1. Ben Roethlisberger. The Miami University product figures to back up Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox this season. Nevertheless, Big Ben could collect bonuses of $600,000 (signing bonus, payable immediately), $1,172,000 (roster bonus, payable by Aug. 10) and $7,237,000 (option bonus, payable March 5) even before he starts a game.

2. Barry Sanders and John Elway. Two of the all-time greats entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend. (Sorry Browns fans).

3. The Bengals. Ricky Williams retires from the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys cut starting quarterback Quincy Carter. Both are Bengal opponents.

4. The X Games. Can you believe it? In a final-run charge vert champion Buckey Lasek stomped a switch rodeo to switch heelflip backside 360 combo and edged out Pierre Luc Gagnon for the gold.

Thumbs down

1. The Cleveland Browns.The good news is Paul Warfield is rejoining the organization as a scout and career planning consultant. The bad news: The Brownies have way too many players who should be planning their post-football career.

2. Jimmie Johnson. The driver was fined $10,000 by NASCAR for putting a sign in front of a huge PowerAde bottle in victory lane after winning at Pocono. PowerAde is a NASCAR sponsor. Gatorade is one of Johnson's sponsors.

3. The Reds. Here's a thought: Keep Nux and ship out Cory Lidle, Javier Valentin, Brandon Larson, Phil Norton . . . .

4. The International. The Battle at the Bridges was strong. But this goofy event. Who needs the maureen Stapleton system anyway?

He's a man of great size - and wisdom
Palmer grades himself a 'C' after first weekend of action
Bengals notebook: Ross signs contract with Steelers
Meet the Bengals: Elton Patterson
Manning likes what he sees from Colts' WRs
Browns' Boyer could miss 10 weeks

Coaches, players ready for camps to get going

Wilson not up to form in loss
Reds insider: Has Lindner had enough?
Book signing on deck for Nux
Larkin lessons helping Lopez
Still waiting on Larkin, Griffey
Knight reveals battle with heart condition
Reds chatter
Around the majors: A jersey for a promise
Maddux wins No. 300
Playoff possibility lures Walker to Cards
Seattle manager Melvin ejected before game
NL: Standing ovation for Walker in win
AL: Lawton's homer sends Tribe to 2nd in Central
AAA: Bats, Tides split twin bill

Finally - Andre's back
Agassi wins in one for the ages
Hitting fast forward in evolution of serve
10th-seeded Hewitt gaining momentum
Woodbridge building another dynasty

In for the fight of his life
Lords of the ring
Billy Joiner embodies city's boxing legacy
Olympic boycott unlikely to occur
Edwards suspension merited, IAAF finds
Olympics special section
Photo gallery: A look at local Olympians
Editorial: Congratulations to our local Olympians
2004 Summer Olympics schedule
Olympics guide, multimedia

Watanabe looking for another shot at title
Good Sports: Cyclists create a park for pedaling
What's up with that?
Sports digest
Sports this weekend on TV, radio