Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Calhoun Bike Ride on Saturday; Moore Honored Wednesday

Jim Calhoun is feeling pretty well these days. And why wouldn’t he? Fresh off his third national championship, the UConn men’s basketball coach says he’s as healthy as ever.

“I’ve always worked out,” he pointed out, “but now I’m at a level that I was about 25 years ago.”

One of his favorite modes of exercise is bike riding (“My wife says I’m trying to ride my bike away from age,” said Calhoun, who turned 69 last month), and he’ll be pedaling away on Saturday at the fifth annual Jim Calhoun Cancer Challenge Ride and Walk in Simsbury.

The event will be held at Simsbury Meadows on Iron Horse Blvd. and feature four different bike rides (10, 25, 50 and 75 miles) as well as a 5K walk/run. All proceeds benefit the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, as well as Coaches vs. Cancer, an American Cancer Society program.

“From my position as head coach at UConn, I can do good things,” Calhoun said. “This is really, really special for us. Being a survivor of cancer, losing my college roommate this past fall and my sister-in-law this past winter, (I realize) cancer strikes all of us. It’s very difficult.”

Organizers are expecting over 1,000 riders and walkers, including Calhoun (who says he’ll do either the 25-mile or 50-mile bike ride), assistant coaches Kevin Ollie and Glen Miller and other former players, including Donny Marshall and, possibly, Ray Allen.

“The only time Ray hasn’t done it is when he’s been in the NBA Playoffs,” said event spokesman Peter Gold.

Obviously, that won’t be a problem for Allen this year.

The 75-mile ride begins at 8 a.m., followed by the 50-mile at 9, the 25-mile at 10 and the 10-mile at 10:30. The 5K walk/run will also being at 10 a.m.

All participants will receive a free gift bag and an invitation to a special UConn men’s basketball closed practice in October.

The event also includes a cookout featuring Price Chopper’s famous “House of Barbecue,” live music from the Timmy Maia Band, hot-air balloon rides, children’s activities and more. Also, the UConn Health Center Department of Dermatology will offer free skin cancer screenings from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

And, all three trophies from UConn’s national championship seasons – 1999, 2004 and 2011 – will be on display.

To register, or for more information, visit www.calhounridewalk.com or call Gold, Orluk & Partners at 860-674-1500.

*** Calhoun will also be an honored guest tonight at the Franciscan Sports Banquet and Silent Auction at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Quinnipiac head coach (and former UConn assistant) Tom Moore will receive the Franciscan Life Center’s St. Francis Award and Ollie will receive the Jim Calhoun Community Service Award.

The event starts with a silent auction, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Items include signed jerseys from C.C. Sabathia and Carl Crawford, a signed baseball from Albert Pujols and autographed pictures of Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle.

Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $60 per person (children under 12 $30).

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