Thursday, February 15, 2007

Should Susan Be in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame?

Is Long Distance Cycling a Sport or Not?

The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is a first class facility located in Springfield, Missouri. There are over 200 Missouri Athletes, Coaches and Sports Personalities who have been inducted. The Hall of Fame has two floors of interesting displays and presentations about famous sports stars who were either born or played sports in Missouri.

Each autumn the Missouri Hall of Fame Nomination Committee reviews the new applications for possible Hall of Fame Honorees. In November about 8 to 12 people are selected and inducted into the Hall of Fame. The nomination process requests a letter of recommendation from three people who are familiar with the applicant and their history in the sport.

Susan Notorangelo grew up in Ferguson, Missouri located in north St. Louis. In 2006 Susan was nominated for the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame for her career in cross country cycling and contributions to the sport of cycling. Susan had received letters of support from John Hughes; Director of the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association, Jim Pitre; Director of the Race Across America, and Lon Haldeman; Susan’s husband and participant in many of Susan’s cross county record setting rides.

Susan’s nomination was rejected because “she did not fit the demographic profile of the type of athlete the Missouri Sports Hall Fame was honoring this year”. (Translation = long distance cycling is not a sport).

The director of the nomination process said they would review Susan’s application again next year. If there was support and proof that Susan should be chosen for the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame they would make the proper decision. The director said what carries a lot of weight (literally), is how many letters of support each nominee receives (even though they originally only asked for three letters).

If you think Susan Notorangelo is worthy of being selected to the Missouri Hall of Fame you are encouraged to write a one page letter and show your support of Susan. Any personal perspective you could give about Susan as an athlete would add extra credibility to her accomplishments.

Some of Susan’s history includes:

Test of Time
Susan’s 1986 Cross County Tandem Record of 9 days, 20 hours and 1989 Women’s Record from Los Angeles to New York City 9 days, 9 hours have stood as records for over 20 years and are still records today. Susan was the First Woman to bicycle across the United States in under 12 days, under 11 days and under 10 days. She is the first woman to average more than 300 miles per day across the country.

Susan was one of the pioneers of long distance cycling. Many of her records were set during the evolution of liquid diets and composite equipment. Many of the prototype ideas Susan tested are now standard equipment. During Susan 1982 Women’s Transcontinental Record she rode the final 650 miles nonstop across Ohio and West Virginia into New York City. Her nonstop format proved riders could go multiple days without rest while setting a new standard for future Race Across America riders. Her time of 11 days, 16 hours was only 17 hours slower than the men’s record at that time.

Susan has raced across America 8 times. During five of those events Susan has either won the Race Across America or set new transcontinental records.

Comparing Big Apples to Big Apples
Susan’s 1989 cross county record of 9 days, 9 hours from Los Angles to New York would have beat all the men during the first Race Across America on that same route to New York in 1982. Her time on that route is over 25 hours faster than John Howard who was elected the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

Giving Back to the Sport
Susan has introduced and influenced countless cyclists to begin long distance cycling. She has organized over 70 cross county cycling tours for over 2,000 riders. During 25 years she has worked to make sure all riders have been successful in their dream of riding across America.

Additional Hall of Fame Honors
Susan was selected in 1985 to the Italian Sports Hall of Fame located in Chicago. They made a full show case display with Susan’s bike, posters, jerseys and other photos. Baseball player Joe DiMaggio, gymnast May Lou Retton and many more athletes are also honored with fascinating displays. Susan was inducted into the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association Hall of Fame in 2004.

If you think Susan’s history is worthy of being considered for the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, please send a letter to:

Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
c/o Athlete Nomination Committee
3861 East Stan Musial Drive
Springfield, MO 65809

Letters should be mailed (not e-mailed).

Letters must be received by August 2007.

Selections will be announced in December 2007.

What ABC Wide World of Sports and HBO Commentator Jim Lampley remembers about Susan and the Race Across America.

It’s a question I have been asked a dozen times: the interviewer or reporter invites me to look back at all the things I’ve seen in television sports and says, “What’s the most memorable event?”

Should be a tough answer. I’ve been to seven Olympics, to Super Bowls, World series, NBA Finals, Wimbledons, Indy 500s, Kentucky Derbys, and the Grand Prix de Monte Carlo. But invariably, that questions takes me back to a highway overpass on Interstate 10 near Blythe, on the California-Arizona border. Sometime just past midnight, the morning of Thursday, August 5, 1982, fifteen hours into the first American transcontinental bicycle race.

I am standing on that overpass with Susan Notorangelo from Ferguson, Missouri, whom I’d met at a small dinner gathering two nights before. As her fiancé’, Lon Haldeman pedaled underneath and past us on the highway, bearing down on a 300 mile opening burst that put him more than an hour in front of his three competitors, I turned and asked what seemed to me a logical question.

“When is Lon going to stop and get some rest, Susan?”

“Rest? What are you talking about? We’re going to New York.” And then in mocking sincerity, “Aren’t you going to New York?”

I always think of that moment as my spiritual introduction to the smallest and most intriguing sports cultures I have ever joined. We had been assigned to cover the Great American Bicycle Race- producer and director Larry Kamm, Diana Nyad, and myself.

I had the best seat in America, a lawn chair strapped to the bed of a pickup truck, for the first five transcontinental races in history. Eric Heiden was on a few telecasts, and his presence lit us up along the way.

In 1986, we shot the last edition of the Race Across America to have aired on “ABC Wide World of Sports”. When management changed at ABC Sports that year, it wasn’t because they were looking to sustain the tradition of quality to organization had built. RAAM telecasts won various film and television awards, including special programming achievement Emmys. They built a devoted following. They were too good to be associated with what followed them at “Wide World”

Now enjoy this book. It tells a story like no other I know.

From the book
“Race Across America”
by Michael Shermer

To contact Lon by e-mail use:


Post a Comment

<< Home