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Cyclists battle it out in honor of Chris Thater

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Cyclists battle it out in honor of Chris Thater
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The weather was perfect this weekend for an annual event held in honor of a cyclist killed by a drunk driver. The 30th Annual Chris Thater Memorial Race had amateur and elite cyclists fighting for first in their categories, but some rules were different this year. YNN's Elyse Mickalonis reports.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- “I'm going to try as hard as I can, absolutely bury myself, 100 percent,” said Ryan DeWald, a Pennsylvania resident. “See where I end up against some of the best in the world, some of the best in the world are here."

Day two of the Chris Thater Memorial Race offered up lots of twists and turns during the men's professional race.

"It's really fun to watch the racers especially when they go on turns,” said John Ruehlman, an Endwell resident.

Jeff Poulin, Cycling Director, added, "They're elbow to elbow, leaning over so far you can't believe the bikes stay upright. When they go by you it's like a tractor trailer, with all the wind they carry with them."

Cyclists took on 61 laps, amounting to a little over 50 miles around Recreation Park in Binghamton. Together they honored Chris Thater who was killed by a drunk driver 30 years ago. But this year’s event had some different rules.

"When we had a chance to partner with USA Cycling to implement the Clean Race Program and the New York State Bicycle Racing Association to test the amateurs, it goes hand-in-hand with our program's message, which is chemical-free, substance-free lifestyles,” said Chris Marion, Broome County STOP DWI Coordinator.

Poulin added, "Prevent alcohol abuse, drinking and driving. The message of the US Anti-Doping Association is pretty much the same. We want a level playing field for all the riders and not just for the professionals, but the amateurs too.”

Cyclists said they're glad to see the testing, but think more needs to be done in cycling overall.

"It'll turn a donkey into a race horse. It's just not fair and then the technology is ahead of the testing. But around here, I'm not too worried around here you know? All these guys are good dudes,” said DeWald.

Allan Rego, a New York City resident, added, "You shouldn't be doing it in sports. Sports are all based on agreements, basically, and the agreement is that you're doing it clean. "

Officials said they’re proud to honor Chris Thater by not only holding the event, but by also showing the importance of preventing substance abuse.

And even if you weren't a cyclist, there was plenty to keep you entertained. There was a moutain bike stunt show, a 5K that brought in 600 runners, and an expo.

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