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Riding up the mountain

CHESTERTOWN Imagine riding your bicycle up Whiteface Mountain.

Thats what Bob Olden of Chestertown and 250 other cyclists did on June 14 in the sixth annual Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race.

I lived in Utah for four years, 1990-1994, and raced mountain bikes semi-professionally, Olden said. He moved back to the Adirondacks where he met his wife Kim, and they live in Chestertown with their three children.

Olden is 39 years old and works for Lincoln Logs, which also sponsors him in his bicycle racing along with Rocky Mountain Bicycles of British Columbia.

I train year-round by commuting to and from Warrensburg, Olden said. The coldest day I rode was 25 below zero.

Olden placed 29th in the Whiteface Uphill Bike Race, but he led the pack for the first three of the eight mile race.

I made the mistake of leading early on, and I learned my lesson, he said. Its a very competitive race and everyone wants to win.

He said his goal was to make the top 10.

It hurts really bad, he said of the ride. My legs can handle it pretty good, but my lungs were burning.

Despite the physical discomfort, Olden says he enjoys the challenge.

Its really rewarding, that I can accomplish something like this and be a role model to my children, Olden said. I want them and other young people to know there are other wholesome and healthy things to do. Ultimately, I want to be in the best shape that I can.

He enters other races, but the Whiteface race is his favorite.

Whiteface is my favorite event, due to the sheer punishment of climbing 3,500 feet in under one hour, he said. In 2005 I placed eighth overall.

Olden also pulls his children in tagalong trailers to show them the rewards of biking and the beauty of the area, as well as to train.

Its such a beautiful place, I always encourage young people to get out there and appreciate what we have.

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