Cyclists endure long rides and cold temperatures at Wausau 24 - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Cyclists endure long rides and cold temperatures at Wausau 24

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Cold weather didn't stop hundreds from competing in a grueling marathon bike race.

Wausau's 24-hour bike race kicked of Saturday morning.

"It's tough, I think it's harder than some people think," said Paul Elertson, Saukville.

Paul Elertson is one of the many cyclists putting their skills to the test at Nine Mile Forest.

His wish: to survive his first Wausau 24 bike race.

We caught up with him after his first lap.

"I'm pretty happy with my first time, I'm just happy I made it through without breaking my bike or myself," said Elertson.

He's not alone.

There are plenty of fellow cyclists, spectators and vendors at the course, for the race's 15th year.

Organizers said more than 600 cyclists are competing, some for as long as 24 hours.

"We've had a great turnout this year, we're up about a hundred riders," said Adam Schmidt, Race Director.

Although those numbers are up, the temperature is down.

Forecasters said more than 15 degree drop from last year.

But, race coordinators said the cooler weather isn't a bad thing.

"It's going to keep them from overheating, less sweat issues, they'll certainly still need to drink a lot of water," said Schmidt.

Cyclists have the option of racing for 6, 12, or 24 hours.

Elertson is on a team riding for 24 hours.

He said staying mentally tough is key, whether it's 55 or 75.

"You can't tell yourself you're tired, you can't tell yourself you're almost there, unless you really are," said Elertson.

Elertson is on a team of four.

He said each member switches off after every loop, which is about 10 miles.

"In a couple of hours I bet I'll feel a little sore, and once I go out for that second and third loop, I'm sure I'll be tired," said Elertson.

But he said the pain is well worth the ride.

Organizers said the 24-hour race wraps up at 10 a.m. Sunday.

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