U.S. MARINE CORPS BASE KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii --
In partnership with the Athletic Branch of Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS), Marine Corps Air Facility drew a herd of cyclists to the Marine Corps Base Hawaii flight line for the MCAF Criterium Bike Race Feb. 8.
The second of a five-race series this year, the Criterium Bike Race is a new addition to the Commanding Officer’s Semper Fitness Series and is open to the general public.
Held at the approach-end of Runway 22 on the flight line, the competition consists of a 0.08-mile oval loop that cyclists pedal around for a set period of time.
“This is an amazingly safe and fun course,” said Mike Proffit, sales manager at Island Triathlon and Bike, (IT&B), who won first place in the seniors division. “Today the winds were outrageous, but it was fun.”
The race begins with a neutral lap, with competitors instructed to stay together until the second lap when they can then take off and begin the contest of speed.
“I love the competition,” Proffit said after racing Sunday as part of the IT&B team. “At first I thought cycling was very individualized, but I’ve learned it’s very team-oriented and group-oriented. So, I like working with other cyclists and pushing the limits.”
Proffit said he rides with many cycling clubs throughout the island in preparation for races like the Criterium Bike Race.
The Devil Dog training group from MCBH and the Pacific Bellows cycling club, both currently sponsored by IT&B, were two of the several biking clubs to come to MCBH and participate in the race together.
“I’m swimming, biking and running whenever possible,” said Jason Luke, member of the Devil Dog training group and IT&B team.
Growing up racing in triathlons, Luke competed in his first criterium bike race Sunday and is currently training for future cycling events.
“I really like the environment and being around the kind of people who care about their [fitness],” Luke said. “I like to keep myself in peak shape.”
Monique Vanderra, another long-time triathlete, said she also enjoys being around other athletes and sees races as a fun way to meet new friends.
“Its fun meeting other cyclists who are as crazy about cycling as I am,” Vanderaa said, after competing in the women’s race as part of the Tradewind Cycling team.
While the race attracted many long-time triathlon or biathlon competitors like Luke and Vanderaa, the MCAF Criterium Bike race also drew quite a few participants new to competing in public races.
Terrish Bilbrey, first-time public race competitor, said it’s the runway’s closed-off location and extremely safe course that made the race ideal for new participants.
“It was super fun,” Bilbrey said after competing in the Women’s race as part of the Quick Release team Sunday.
For the past three months Bilbrey said she’s been enjoying the camaraderie of cycling from her Boca Cycling training group and Quick Release teammates.
“I don’t take [racing] seriously,” Bilbrey said. “It’s more just for fun times and to get a good workout.”
After all the races were completed, awards were given to the top three competitors in each of the race categories: expert, seniors, and public for each event.
At the end of the five-race series, the top three cyclists for the overall series will receive awards as well.
The next three MCAF Criterium races are scheduled to take place 9 a.m. March 15, April 5, and May 17.
Registration is $15 for all participants and may be turned in at the Semper Fitness Center aboard MCB Hawaii, at the Fitness Center (Building 2C) aboard Camp H. M. Smith.
You can contact the race coordinator, Master Chief Petty Officer Jeff Mathis, at 257-8442 and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or the MCCS, Varsity Sports Coordinator, Tina Lui, at 254-7590 and by e-mail at email@example.com.