Author Topic: Chilly Challenge Trivia  (Read 2269 times)

Lone Rider

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Chilly Challenge Trivia
« on: December 16, 2012, 04:20:45 PM »
January 1st 2013 will be the 18th annual Chilly Challenge. The 1996 inaugural Chilly Challenge started at Franke Park. The ride was a Phil Snider designed route (~20 miles)  to 12 city parks including a stop at Johnny Appleseed Park to watch the Polar Bear swim . At the end of the ride chili and hot drinks were served from the back of Stan Whitterns station wagon. The temperature was 34 degrees and there were 60 riders.

The 1997 Chilly Challenge moved the after ride snack to in the Franke park pavilion. There were 90 riders. Mountain bikers Steve Sours, Joe Bartels and Dave Borkenstein took a dip in the river along with the polar bears. Some recall that bikes went into the St. Joe with them.  TV  channels 21 and 15 began covering the ride for local news casts.

The 1999 Chilly Challenge moved the start to the present location at the Psi Ote Barn North Side Park. We had so many crock pots of chili that we blew the fuses in the Psi Ote Barn. That year the temperature was 18 degrees with sleet. There were 100 riders

The 2010 Chilly Challenge may have had the worst weather. It was 16 degrees with snow and sleet at start time. 92 riders started and 10 were able to “go all the way”. (1999 and 2001 had similar mean temperatures of ~16 degrees)

The 2011 Chilly Challenge set an attendance record of 254 riders. The temperature at start was 51 degrees.

Prior to creation of the Chilly Challenge Ft. Wayne riders had to travel to the Polar Bear Run at Kokomo for a New Years Day group ride. The announcement in the December 1995 Velo newsletter states “The Chilly Challenge will start from Franke Park and has been planned for those who would rather freeze their buns locally rather than going to the Polar Bear Run at Kokomo. Exact time will be determined and announced on Velo voicemailbox (telephone).”

A big thanks goes to all those who have volunteered to make this such a great tradition. Special thanks to Phil Snider who has planned the routes and been the starter for all 17 rides. Also thanks to Susan Hunt for may years of being the after ride food planner and host.

Anyone care to share Chilly stories with the forum ? Who else has ridden in all 17 Challenges?


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Re: Chilly Challenge Trivia
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2012, 03:33:42 AM »
I remember sitting in Kathi's kitchen with Phil discussing plans for the first Chilly Challenge. Having the ride here was fairly controversial at the time, and there were some hard feelings from the folks who put on the original Polar Bear ride. We weren't sure how many riders would be crazy enough to come out, but we were thinking maybe 25 or so. We were in for a surprise!

As the cars kept coming and coming to the parking lot at Franke, it was obvious that the one (or two, I forget) pot(s) of chili weren't going to be enough to feed everybody. Fortunately Karen Walker was there, and she and some others drove down to Wendy's and bought additional chili to feed the hordes. It was a cold day, but everyone was happy with the chili being served from the back of Stan's pickup.

The other vivid memory I have was when we had the first Chilly Challenge Chili Cookoff at Psi Ote Barn. I was a judge, along with Cheryl Mathews and another woman, I forget her name. But she insisted that we "clean our palettes" by eating a cracker and drinking some water between contestant chili's. There were 26 pots of chili I believe. By the time we got to 15 or so, I had abandoned the cracker and water nonsense so I wouldn't explode. Winners were decided, and I didn't eat chili for another year.

It's been several years since I've ridden on the ride, but Kathi and I usually show up on the Harley before we head out to the Park. It's our tradition now. So if you're looking for us, we'll be on the side of the hill in leathers watching with our (other) fellow riders.


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Re: Chilly Challenge Trivia
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2012, 04:09:05 AM »
I've ridden most of the Chili Challenges since I learned about the ride ten or twelve years ago. In 2011 and 2012, I road my unicycle. Most years I've added an extra ten miles by riding to and from North Side. 2010 was cold, but if I remember correctly, 2008 was the year that felt the coldest. It wasn't as cold as 2010, but I was so wet from the slush on the roads after the Polar Bear swim, that it felt much colder. I think only 8-12 of us finished the full slippery-slidy ride that year. That was the second coldest I've ever been in my life.