ADAMS, Mass. -- If competitive high school cycling was a thing in this neck of the woods, Evan Arthur might have found the sport sooner.
And he probably would have done quite well for himself.
Instead, all he did in four years at Mount Greylock was help continue the school’s runs of eight straight Western Mass cross country titles and seven straight state Nordic ski crowns.
And in the spring of his senior year, the recent high school graduate found a new athletic pursuit. On Sunday, he joined more than 100 competitors at the 34th annual Pedal & Plod, putting himself to the test against a 4.4-mile running course followed by a 22-mile bike race, all in the hills around the Adams.
“This is my first time ever doing a bike race,” he said after finishing first in the event’s “iron” competition, counting an individual’s time for running and biking. “I’ve done a couple of running races, obviously. But this was fun.
“I got into cycling this spring, and I wanted to try out a race. … It’s a lot more tactical to me then running. It’s just something new.”
Arthur, 17, was one of 22 iron division competitors and posted a combined time of 1 hour, 32 minutes, 35 seconds with a running time of 26:24. Overall, he was the ninth biker across the finish line; the first eight were part of teams.
The top female in the iron division was Lara Denmark, 41, who finished in 2:00:32 (34:51 running).
Kent Lemme and William Caligari teamed up to win the team competition. After Lemme, 50, got them started with a running time of 23:19, Caligari, 54, brought the pair home in 1:18:50, about 2-½ minutes faster than runners-up Abigail Wright, 22, and Josh Lipka, 30, who finished in 1:12:26.
Lemme, who operates the Berkshire Running Center along with his wife Shiobbean, 50, teamed up with her to finish in sixth place overall. The pair used her running time of 32:58, and Kent biked to give the pair a time of 1:31.34.
The top all-female team at the competition was the tandem of Missy Ireland, 51, and Kathy Timpane, 54. Ireland ran a time of 41:34 before passing the baton to Timpane, who brought the team in with a time of 1:51.12.
Last year’s winning team of all-America collegiate runner Scott Carpenter (Georgetown University) and Jonathan Molk did not attempt to defend its title. But Molk, 52, teamed up with another collegian, Northeastern’s Tucker McNinch, to finish third overall and first in their category, male teams 19-30, with a time of 1:22:40.
McNinch was the second runner across the finish line, clocking a time of 23:36, about 16-½ seconds behind Lemme.
The full results are available on the Berkshire Running Center website.
Arthur, who is headed to Colby College, where he will compete in cross country skiing, said that cycling can help him train for his primary sport.
“For me, it's the easiest way to get my heart rate up. I can push my heart more than my legs,” he said. “Usually, in running, my legs will give out before my lungs and my heart do. But here, I'm able to push my cardio-vascular system more.
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