SANATOGA PA – Mike Foltz’s legs were pumping wildly at times Sunday (July 28, 2013), and his muscles ached as a result. His heart raced a little, particularly at the start of the chase. He gulped both air and water as he ran and he kept up a torrid pace, not for a block or two, but for 65 intense miles.
Criminals on the lam would have wilted after, at most, a couple of football fields’ worth of asphalt. But Foltz, chief of the Lower Pottsgrove Township Police Department, sought something bigger: a personal best. Collared it, too.
The chief was among hundreds of participants in the weekend’s Irish Pub Tour de Shore bicycle fund-raising event. He rode his 2008 Cannondale Synapse road bike – a high-tech model with 27 gears, lightweight aluminum frame, and stem and forks made of carbon fiber to dampen road vibration – from Center City Philadelphia to the Atlantic City NJ boardwalk in 4 hours and 20 minutes. That’s 45 minutes faster than his same trip last year.
Just as important to Foltz, though, was another milestone. Thanks to community sponsors and donors, his efforts raised $1,305 for the Irish Pub Foundation’s programs to benefit charitable organizations. Many of them provide assistance to police officers and their families across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
The sum placed him as this year’s fourth-highest fund-raiser among members of the “Wheels of Justice Team” supported by Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and her office. As a whole, the county team raised more than $67,000 during the ride.
“It was an enjoyable day with friends and colleagues,” Foltz said Monday (July 29), with the trip behind him. “I am proud to be associated with the members of the Montco DA’s office and this team,” which Ferman organized several years ago. The district attorney, he added, “is to be commended on the support she gives to this cause and the members of the Wheels of Justice.”
The day officially began at 7 a.m., when riders pedaled off in waves from outside the pub located at 20th and Walnut Streets. The cyclists were awake much earlier, of course, preparing themselves for the course and making last-minute equipment checks.
The pub’s website describes the run as one that “continues over the Ben Franklin Bridge, through scenic South Jersey, and comes to a celebratory finish” at the boardwalk. It only sounds easy; 65 miles is no piece of cake for even the fittest of riders. “The headwinds were a little bit of challenge,” Foltz acknowledges, and concedes, “I am a little sore.”
The training time he put in paid off, though; “I performed beyond my expectations,” the chief said.
Mother Nature could not have been more cooperative. Foltz reported that riders successfully avoided the “extreme heat and the heavy rains” that plagued much of western Montgomery County the same day.
The chief expressed his appreciation to all those who made the ride a success, and local donors who helped boost the fund-raising level. “I enjoy the challenge and the camaraderie of fellow riders on the way, but most of all I am inspired by the charities (the foundation) supports. I also stay motivated by the fact I have so many people behind me as supporters.”
With luck, the chief hopes, next year’s Tour de Shore will see the return of his wife as his riding companion. She joined him on the road last year, and this year volunteered with logistics support at the finish line.
Photos from Chief Michael Foltz and the Irish Pub Foundation