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Special Olympians bike and bowl

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Special Olympians cycled around a hot asphalt race course, and bowled bocce balls on the cool grass, at the 8th annual Special Olympics Colorado Cycling and Bocce Ball Summer Classic.

The event was held Saturday at Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley Campus.

About 75 Special Olympians in 10 teams competed this year in bocce ball or a bike race. Teams came from all over the Western Slope and New Mexico.



For many of the athletes, the day is a competitive event and helps them qualify for the state meet in Denver, said Special Olympics area manager Julie Fite.

Chris Juay of Vail competed in the 5- and 10-kilometer bike races, and said he rides about 15 miles, five days a week, to get ready for competition.



Though Juay is a serious athlete, he enjoys the camaraderie, like other athletes.

The best part for Juay, he said, is “just to have fun and do my best in the races.”

“I just like being with other friends,” and winning, said Zach Marolf of Grand Junction.

For Michael Chamberlain, also of Grand Junction, the bike races were all about the speed.

“Just the speed,” he said.

Both Chamberlain and Marolf competed in the 1k and 5k unified races, where another cyclist rode with them through the course and gave them encouragement along the way.

The bocce players played with the same enthusiasm as the bicyclists.

Allan Jacobs of Glenwood Springs competed in bocce ball for the first time. He had a close match.

Jacobs just plays to have fun. He also plays softball and basketball in the Special Olympics.

Everyone involved in the competition had something good to say about the event.

“He can compete on an even scale with everyone else,” said Matt Chamberlain of his son, Michael.

“It’s awesome,” said coach Scott Beckstead of Grand Junction, who recently went to the Special Olympics International Games in Ireland.

“These guys get to compete against people of their own abilities. You’re not putting them against Lance Armstrongs,” he said.

Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 535

rgraff@postindependent.com


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