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Cyclists ride in thunder in tour's longest day


SANDY SPRING -- A strong summer thunderstorm swept through Montgomery County yesterday, dampening the Cycle Across Maryland Century Day, just one day before the tour will end.

The squall reached Sherwood High School around 5 p.m. and drove participants, tour organizers and hospitality table people into the school with the heavy downpour.

The storm also left several cyclists to battle both the elements and the longest day of cycling for the tour.

Tour organizers scambled their "Sag Cars" to patrol the cycling route for stranded participants.

Many were seen biking into the high school before and after the storm.

Friends and relatives of those still on the road waited under the portico of the school's facade for information on the week-long event.

Yesterday's segment offered participants either a 63-mile or 100-mile (Century) route from Winfield to Olney, before the tour ends today in College Park.

Many cyclists caught in the storm were attempting to complete the Century Route, which can take up to nine hours to finish.

Unrelated to the thunderstorm, Ira Nelson, 46, of Trappe, suffered a broken collar bone and minor abrasions as he tried to return his bicycle to the road after it strayed into the grass.

He was treated and released at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.

Patrick Hickerson of The Baltimore Sun is traveling with the CAM Tour.

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