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Although he didn't rate among the top finishers in his race, Scott Slivka said he still felt like a winner after competing in the men's Category 4/5 race at the 2017 Tour de Grandview Cycling Classic.
"I just started racing again this year after taking about 15 years off," he said. "I was busy raising my family and dropped out for awhile. It was hard to keep up with training.
"It just feels good to be out there competing again," Slivka said. "It's a thrilling experience when you're bunched together going at such speed. If you don't get into a crash, you feel like a success."
That sense of excitement is what led him to cycling in the first place, he said.
"I went to my first bike race when I was a student at the University of Cincinnati, and watching the cyclists as they kind of leaned in on their bikes going by at 30 miles an hour, I was hooked," the Hamilton resident said.
The last time he participated in the Tour de Grandview, the event was held during the daytime and had a different route.
"It's still a great event," Slivka said. "The course is still challenging and when you combine the race with the street party, it's just a great atmosphere. Having so many people cheering you on really motivates a rider."
This year's event began at 6 p.m. June 16; cyclists in several men's and women's races sped around a loop that began on First Avenue and proceeded counterclockwise to Willard Avenue, Second Avenue, Grandview Avenue and back to First.
One rider in the men's Category 1/2/3 race had his own cheering section.
Shawna Mangeot of Fairfield and her children -- Ali, 6, and Wade, 9 -- set up chairs along Grandview Avenue to watch their husband/father, Chad, zoom by.
"It's fun to watch him race as a family," Shawna said. "We watch his races as often as we can."
"We yell out, 'Go, Daddy!' " Ali said. "Mom says, 'Go, Chad!' "
"He looks pretty cool out there," Wade said.
Shawna said her husband claims he can hear his family cheer him on as he passes.
"It can make you a little nervous, how fast they're going," she said. "Chad's a smart rider, though, and he usually knows how to avoid a collision."
"We've had a few crashes," Ali said.
Kathleen Neff of Cincinnati was competing for the second time in the Tour de Grandview.
"It's such a lovely setting for a race," she said. "The thing I like is how many people are having yard parties watching the race."
Neff competed in the women's Category 1/2/3 race.
"I'm over 50 and it was fun because there I was riding right alongside a 16-year-old," she said. "It helps push yourself harder when you're competing against such a wide range of riders."
Winners in each race category are:
* Men's Category Pro 1/2/3 -- Robert Sroka of North Royalton, First Internet Bank Cycling
* Women's Category 1/2/3 and Masters 40-plus -- Briana Clark of Carmel, Indiana, First Internet Bank Cycling
* Men's Category 3/4 Masters 40-plus -- Bob Riess of Dayton, Team Logik
* Men's Category 3/4 -- Tom Corrigan of Columbus
* Men's Category 4/5 -- Danny Alarcon of Westerville, Audi Cycling Team
* Women's Category 4/5 -- Aurora Brnicevic of Cleveland Heights.
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