The Spaghetti 100
by Pete Butler
There are a lot of bike races worth winning, but if you live in the Panhandle, the big kahuna of events is The Spaghetti 100. It’s so important to the cycling community that it’s billed as the World Championship of Tallahassee. For roadies, this is the season ending event that provides the last available bragging rights of the year. The winner is decided after 100 miles through North Florida and South Georgia roads. It’s fast, it’s grueling, and it consistently comes down to a very small selection of bicycle racers who turn themselves inside out for the world championship crown.
How big is it? If you ask Bryan Dertine, it’s enormous. He has a plane ticket from Colorado to come back to his hometown for the competition.
“There’s one jersey,” says Derstine. “There’s no money on the line, and there’s rarely team strategies. It’s a ride that pits every contender against each other.”
Long time participants will tell you it’s highly competitive. This is one of those rare events that brings in people from all levels of fitness. There is a fast group of riders who show up to race, with a plan to kill each for 100 miles. When it’s over, there is time to visit, eat spaghetti and enjoy each other’s company.
“It’s a great opportunity to come together and hang out with your friends,” said Ed Picolo, who finished once in 4 hours and 13 minutes. “It’s always fast. But if you get a group of guys working together, it’s even more fun. The competitive nature of this ride brings the best out in folks.
That explains why cyclists are willing travel to compete in the event.
“It’s a strong bunch, and they are riding hard on amazing and beautiful roads,” said Chris Mojock, who lives in Athens, GA. “The Tallahassee racing community has such a playful approach. These are fierce competitors, but they are also really super chill and fun to be around. When it’s finished, we all agree it was a really good time. We always look forward to this ride.”
Mojock clearly loves this event. He even won it in 2014 by attacking a breakaway group of five in the last six miles of the ride. His attack was so explosive that he blew the race apart. His fierce effort unseated two-time Spaghetti winner Donnie Autore, who won the event solo in 2012 and 2013. In last year’s event, Mojock was followed over the line by local Category 1 phenom Jamey Thompson, and a visiting racer from Destin. It was exhausting, but super satisfying for Mojock.
“Jamey put in a huge dig that really turned the screws, and then I counter-attacked him to win it!” said Mojock.
The riders who are successful at Spaghetti have learned that there won’t be any rest stops for the leaders. Quite simply, you must carry everything you need.
“You better have at least four bottles of fluid,” says Picolo.
What about food?
“You can’t count on any stops,” said Autore. “I always eat a big dinner the night before. I carry gels and food and lots of liquid.”
Sound interesting? Start preparing and training. It’ll all be settled on November 7. The field will feature the some of best junior racers in the country, as well as a deep roster of wily and crafty adult cyclists from around the southeast. If tradition holds true, it will be a cyclist from the Tallahassee community that comes out the winner.
“Tallahassee is one of those places filled with strong bike racers,” says Mojock. “If you can go into their house and win, it means something. You are in for a fight. If you come out the winner, you beat people with skill.”
The 2015 Spaghetti 100
Start Date: November 7th, 2015
Location: Miccossukee Community Center
Register Online: http://cccyclists.org/spaghetti100/
Register before October 10th to receive a free event t-shirt.