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2001 RACE CANCELLED DUE TO ATTACKS ON
THE WORLD TRADE CENTER

 

The above sculpture is "Bent Propeller" (also known as the WTC Stabile), by Alexander Calder. This piece was created in 1971 specifically for the World Trade Center as public art, and was displayed in front of the Vesey Street entrance when it originally opened, and was lost in the 2001 attacks. It has special meaning for our Event director, who greatly admired its sheer size (~ 30' tall), pop styling and unique color, and would affectionately refer to it as the "giant potato chip."

Before moving to the SARATOGA SPRINGS area in 1990, our Event director worked in NEW YORK CITY, and for a few years, lived in New Jersey. He usually rode into NYC over the GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE in the morning, then returned home in the evening via the PATH trains, which were located in the basement of the WTC.

On his way home most evenings, he would ride down West Broadway, cross Vesey Street, hop the curb, make a slight detour to his left, ride through the sculpture, dawdling inside for a moment to take it all in, then continue to the building's entrance to catch the PATH train. On days he took the train into NYC in the morning, he would make sure to ride or walk through the sculpture to get the day started on a good note.

About 30 percent of the sculpture survived the attacks, and its remains — four big pieces of steel, reportedly still bent (but probably not as Calder intended) and much darker in color due to the extreme heat it was exposed to — are currently part of the collection at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

The ADIRONDACK 540 is located about 250 miles north of NYC, and the third edition of the race was scheduled for September 14th, 2001, three days after the attacks on the WOLRD TRADE CENTER. Needless to say, the country was thrown into complete disarray, and travel, especially in the NYC Metropolitan area, was brought to a virtual standstill. One rider was driving up from Florida when the attacks occurred, and could not get past the Washington, DC area, which was also attacked, and had to return home.

To complicate matters even more, the race's executive director, who had all of the entry forms and other necessary paperwork, lived three blocks from the WTC and had to evacuate the the area. Fortunately, he was not seriously injured, but was caught in the dust cloud that enveloped the area when the towers collapsed, and access to his apartment was almost immediately limited. Communication was another issue, and it took him more then a day and a half to reach the race director, who by that time feared the worst and already cancelled the race.

But, just like the rest of the country, after we mourned our loses, we pressed onward. We donated the entry fees of pre-registered riders to a 9/11 fund and the ADIRONDACK 540 has gone on to become a well established fixture on the ULTRA CYCLING calendar. A memorial has been created on the footprint of the original towers and a NEW WOLRD TRADE CENTER opened in 2014, proving to the world that our resolve will never waver.

  

  

  

  

  

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