Andrea McAdams used to race, but now she just rides.
The distinction could be lost on those who saw McAdams win her third straight Firecracker 100 Bike Ride and Race under sunny skies Saturday morning.
“I was just concentrating on keeping up with the boys as best I could,” McAdams said.
She did just that, finishing the 100-kilometer race just minutes after the first wave of male riders — and a few hours before a wave of scattered showers hit across the county shortly after noon.
Event organizers said about 430 riders took part in one of the Firecracker’s slate of four races, a decrease from last year at least partially due to weather worries. The majority of riders finished before the rain hit, said Kiwanis Club President David Swearingen.
“If I’m guessing, (this year’s decline in riders) was totally related to the weather, because I’m getting nothing but positive feedback,” Swearingen said.
“Overall, we’re pleased. It went well.”
David Bradfield led the pack of long-distance riders, breaking teammate Nick Kiernan’s lengthy winning streak. Kiernan has still won every time he’s raced, however — he missed due to illness.
“It’s nice to have somebody else finally get to the top of the podium,” Bradfield said. He finished third last year.
He completed the race, which began in the Wisdom Gym parking lot at 7:50 a.m., at about 10:24 a.m. Justin Wallace was second, and Lester Carson was third.
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The Firecracker 100 is “one of our favorite events of all year,” Bradfield said, due in part to the challenge it provides and the scenery.
“It’s a really challenging race,” he said, and it always seems to be hot — Bradfield even hoped for some rain to help keep cool.
He had no such luck — unlike several scattered riders seen around Dublin and Stephenville.
The rains that have blanketed the area of late have thrown a wrench in the scheduling of a wide variety of sports. One group of riders had signed up for five races this summer, with the Firecracker as the finale, Swearingen said.
All four previous events had been canceled due to bad weather, he continued, so those riders found the hilly terrain especially different this weekend.
He and his fellow volunteers — and no doubt many of the riders themselves — were “quite pleased” with the sunny, though steamy, weather that greeted them early Saturday.
“That was a big relief,” Swearingen said.
Kiwanis Club Secretary Andy Anderson said all the riders seemed happy with the way the race was organized.
“Everything was just super,” he said.
The club received compliments on the help they had on the route from area law enforcement.
“(Riders) were impressed with how much police and sheriff-type support we had this year,” Swearingen said.
After the race, many riders stuck around to enjoy a hot dog lunch, a brief swim and a performance from the J.C. Carpenter Band.
McAdams, the female winner, said the people who run the Firecracker and the route itself make the annual race a highlight for her.
“This is definitely one of the best rally races,” she said.