Events: Winter Goldsprints Hosted by Doylestown Bike Works – Round Two
(2016) I am Jack’s complete desire to suffer on a bike.
I can’t help talk about it, thus breaking its theoretical first rule. For some whose names were shouted amongst the crowd or passed back to the bar, it was their first night (You have to ride). It was an event that was on the tip of everyone’s tongue; Bike Works just gave it a name. Maxwell’s on Main gave it a venue.
The Goldsprints were back for a second round. This time the rollers were relocated out of the subterranean bar of Doylestown Brewing Company and unfolded them on the second floor of Maxwell’s on Main. This round saw things get bigger. There was more space. With the extra space came more spectators. There were more participants as well as more categories. More participants meant more suffering.
The new venue was still in the suburbs with its exposed brick and downtown Philly feel. The ambiance of Maxwell’s was alluring. Its dimly- lit second floor bar has creaky wooden floors, yawning wooden windows, and a brilliant glow from the clutch of flat screen televisions covering the hockey game. The occasional fire truck added a bit of flare to the atmosphere as did the stoplight just outside the second floor window. Its downstairs restaurant and original bar complemented the beer selection. The brews are hard to beat anywhere else in town, and Free Will Brewing was promoting the event. It was the perfect place to put the second round of roller races.
The local riders welcomed Round Two. In all there were forty-five entries for the second running. With that many participants came larger cheering sections and more curious onlookers. The wooden floors bounced and creaked under the quick movements. Riders were called up for their chance to spin, or sprinted a hasty departure off the bike straight to the bathroom. The audience had its own life. Waiting for my race I stood in the back only to naturally swirl to the front, then off to the side. Everyone tried to catch a glimpse of the downward facing sprinters and their blurry legs. The bikes sounded like locomotives on the old wood floors.
The event moved beyond the men and women’s categories. Added was a roller trick division as well as the Boldsprint division. Roller tricks speak for themselves but the Boldsprints were a natural progression. It saw the removal of the fork mount and allowed two riders to slug it out track-style. Boldsprints would end out the night.
With the start time of 7:00pm, Bike Works made quick work of moving the divisions through the 300-meter course. Immediately starting out was the roller trick category. Riders went for the passing the tubular trick or the clipped-in roller mount attempt, but the real winner, by a crowd vote, was a young woman named Ella Henderson. She beat out two grown men to win.
The Goldsprints started immediately thereafter. The men and women’s divisions cycled through. Amidst the audience pleasantries were exchanged as local cyclists caught up with each other. The previous favorites were eliminated quickly. Jim Ludwig, from Mad Princes' Brewing , and round one's overall winner, was eliminated in the first round. Mike, despite his entourage, was eliminated quickly by Greg. These guys all race together. A shake-up on the men's side was unavoidable. On the women’s side the round one champion, Jamie, pulled off another victory.
Greg, who also donned a Mad Princes’ Brewing shirt managed to move on through the rounds. He managed to take the overall victory in round two. Zach Shearon came in second. Greg stated he started feeling sick after his victory. This was a common feeling for each rider to go from static to sprint back to static in twenty seconds.
The fork mounts were packed up and the rollers were left solitary as the Boldsprints began. I was in the first pairing to go. I had carefully selected my gearing by watching Jim swap out (and recommend each gearing combination) a cog and chain ring. He decided to switch a 15-tooth for a 14-tooth in the back and to ramp up from a 49-tooth chain ring to a 53-tooth. I agreed with him only to act like I knew what was going on. I would be a slow start but the distance of 500 meters should be easier.
The first attempt had a hitch. The rider next to me went off the rollers and we started over. On the second attempt I was out to an early lead (By the way this is all from Mike’s cheering as he was next to me in case I went rogue). He yelled I was in the lead, but my bike teetered on the left edge of the rollers. I lost momentum to regain composure. Then I heard the dreaded sound next to me: the unfortunate advantage of a geared bicycle shifting gears. Greg mentioned afterward he was confused how the rider next to me shot ahead in speed. My rear wheel was bouncing along the rollers the final two-thirds of the race. “Did I lose?” “Yeah he got you in the last few seconds,” Mike said. I was busted.
Nate Burns would go on to win the Boldsprints. I was frustrated by my twenty-odd second performance. I was hoping to have at least moved on to the next round.
This mayhem project (where there are no names) has brought a competitive spirit to the weeknights of Doylestown cyclists. The heavy efforts bring forth double takes by those waiting to go or waiting for the next round. It’s an expanding club that has taken pride in slugging it out with one other person for a handful of seconds. Those who met each other last night might have nodded in code at work today. The Goldsprints became the reason to shave your legs and do speed work in early winter. This is your roller race chance at victory and it’s slipping away one second at a time.
All photos courtesy of Chuck Rudy.