Breaking Away in the Big Apple
A popular sport in Europe, competitive cycling has only begun to catch on stateside, in large part due to the popularity of the 1979 film Breaking Away. Among the competitors were 20-year-old triplets—Robert, Charles and John Whalen—and a married couple, Leonard and Leslie Nitz, who were runners-up in their respective men's and women's divisions. Leonard was less than 40 feet behind the overall winner, Steve Pyle, 24. His time: one hour, 49 minutes and one second.
After they had pedaled down the homestretch, many of the cylists strapped their bikes onto the roofs of their cars and sped off to compete in another event 90 miles away in Kingston, N.Y. Pyle, who was an alternate on the 1980 U.S. Olympic squad, hopes to make the 1984 team. Meantime, he says his $200 portion of the prize money (the rest goes to his bike club and allows him to retain amateur status) will "help me get to the next race. It goes right back into racing equipment, things like that. I'm not," he notes ruefully, "getting rich doing this."