KEKAHA — Thirteen was a lucky number for Eric Lau Sunday during the third running of the Pedal to the Meadow uphill bicycle run.
Lau, crossing first on a record-setting 1:03:47 pedal over the 15.75 mile trek with an elevation gain of 3,835 feet, wore 13 as his bib number, crossing the line to the excitement of the Banana Poka Festival at the Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow.
Lau’s uphill run bested the best run set in the inaugural year of the race when Rick Beach of Kapa‘a made the climb in 1:05 and Ray Brust of Honolulu crossed the line in 1:07 during the 2011 running.
Mary Williamson, who along with her husband Binny and the Tradewind Cycling Team staged the race, said the runs by the leaders were not much slower than an average sight-seeing automobile over the same distance.
Anthony Lang filled in the overall second place at 1:07:40, just 12 seconds faster than Beach (1:07:52) with Joe Funk (1:10:31) filling in the top four positions of the senior men 1,2,3 and the master men 1,2,3 category.
Brust, the top finisher in the 2011 ride, filled in fifth place on a 1:10:31 pedal, topping the golden masters men 50-plus category.
Roberta Hickman, crossing the line 17th overall, was the first woman finisher on a 1:20:11 pedal with Katy Ortiz (25th overall, 1:30:03) and Monique Van der Aa (26th overall, 1:30:03) filling in the top three spots of the women category.
Williamson said she and her husband Binney combined their talents — him as a bicyclist and her as an organizer — to form this event, which she described as a “mom-and-pop” type race.
However she describes it, there were more than 85 riders registered with 17 riders coming in from the Neighbor Islands, 11 from the U.S. Mainland including riders from Oregon, Idaho, California, Washington, Colorado and Austin, Texas, where Michael and Amie Smith came from for a honeymoon on Kaua‘i and decided to join the race.
The Smiths finished with a combined time of 3:45:51 for third place in the newlywed category, a new division established this year when Williamson discovered at least four couples involved in the race.
Katy Ortiz, finishing second in the women category, teamed with her husband Lou to take top honors in the new category on a combined time of 2:44:12.
They were followed by Troy and Randi (Arinaga) Kiepper filling in the runner-up spot on a combined ride of 3:27:24 and Lisabeth and Steve Layne filling in the fourth spot on a 4:46:12 combined ride.
Michael Angove topped the senior men 4,5 and master men 4,5 on a 1:10:33, followed by Joe Kennedy (1:13:55) and Lou Ortiz (1:14:09) in the top three spots of that division.
“How about tandems as the new category for next year?” Williamson said in an email. “The Yees and Fongs might join…”
Tommy Noyes, finishing the ride at 2:16:47, said Kaua‘i Path is hosting a “Bike Koke‘e Fun Ride 2012” on July 7.
“This ride is not a climb,” Noyes said. “You need to figure out a way to get up the mountain.”
The ride allows riders to explore the Contour Road in Koke‘e on a mountain bike and is for adventurous cyclists of all ages and skill levels.
The ride is limited to 75 riders and is subject to the issuance of permits by the State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources for the cyclists to enter a controlled hunting area, states the Kaua‘i Path release.
Riders will also be required to wear a high visibility orange garment and remain on the designated Contour Road course.
Visit www.kauaipath.org for more information.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.