Police wheel into Inner Harbor for bike, strength competition Officers from 5 states test endurance at annual event


More than 150 well-wheeled officers from five states donned full gear this weekend for the Baltimore Police Second Annual Mountain Bike and Strength Competition at the Inner Harbor's Rash Field.

They raced nearly six miles to Fort McHenry and back, sped through an obstacle course and finished with a dramatic tug-of-war that ended in an upset.

"It's not any harder than every day at work," said one member of the city's bike patrol.

Tug-of-war honors went to a team of recruits from the Baltimore Police Academy, that defeated the Baltimore Tactical Quick Response Team in the finals of Saturday's competition.

But bicycles figured in most events, which drew officers from as far away as Connecticut to test their mettle at skills ranging from dodging traffic cones to hoisting their wheels overhead while running up flights of steps.

A few officers, such as Bob Carman of Baltimore County, came straight from work.

The Central District won the Commissioner's Cup, which goes to the best team in Baltimore City. Central's Jon Washburn and Edward Wolf completed a 5.7-mile road race and a 13-position obstacle course in 46 minutes, 35 seconds -- one second ahead of last year's champions, Lester Rutherford and John Walker of the Southern District.

The bike race also featured two stars of the NBC-TV series, "Homicide: Life on the Street."

"Homicide" newcomer Reed Diamond finished two minutes ahead of co-star Melissa Leo.

"I can see how the bike patrol could be a story line [for the show]," Ms. Leo said. "This is a wonderful way for police to be more mobile and friendly."

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