Being There: Thompson Bucks County Classic 2017 Doylestown Health Women’s Pro 1/2 Race
All photos are courtesy of Mike Maney Photography. Be sure to check out his work; he is a fellow cyclist in the Bucks County cycling community with multiple KOMs to his name.
(2017) Just before the start of the race weekend in Doylestown, the Schneider sisters sent out a video on their social media stating they had cleared Holland and Belgium and were on a flight to Doylestown. As a resident of the town for multiple years, this was a slight shock to hear the small Bucks County town listed at the end of three cycling destinations.
This year’s Doylestown Health Women’s Pro 1/2 race saw thirty-two riders line up for the season ending criterium around Doylestown and its own Arts Festival. Riders came from all over the country, one coming from outside of the US, Harriet Owen from Great Britain racing for Veloclassic powered by Stan’s NoTubes. The field was larger than last year, all chasing the matching purse of $12,000, same as the men’s race.
The team to beat this year was ISCorp p/b Progress who set the race alight in the 2016 edition. Josie Talbot led nearly the entire race of 25 miles only to have her teammate, Skylar Schneider, go on to victory. Her sister, Samantha, rounded out the podium in third. The next largest team for the 2017 edition was the aforementioned Veloclassic p/b Stan’s NoTubes with five riders. The teams present were a noticeable change from last year.
This year I spectated from two locations. For the first few laps I stood near the neutral pits to watch the women’s field navigate the wavy uphill portion through the residential area. It was a beautiful sight to behold with the Lexus pace car leading the way, the women’s peloton close behind as they rode amongst the large trees lining Oakland Street. They came roaring by with countenance hinting this was not going to be an easy pace.
I moved to the high-speed corner, the Main Street onto Ashland Street right-hander I had enjoyed earlier in the day. The women zipped through the turn. It was an impressive sight as well as the line moved past in single file. For a handful of laps I stood there, next to a cyclist who clearly knew some of the racers. Either that or he was strangely yelling at people by their first names and telling them to, “…move your ass up!”
The humidity of the day began creeping up. The morning that was so comfortable for the 2/3 race had begun cooking stationary spectators. Yet the women persisted.
As I stated in the opening paragraph, the Schneider sisters were certainly attracting a lot of attention in the race as the defending podium owners. This year the podium was reversed. Samantha Schneider soloed to victory, six seconds ahead of Emily Newson of Fearless Femme Racing. Rounding out the podium was Skylar Schneider eighteen seconds behind.
With the race open to pro as well as category one and two racers, this race has great potential to grow. The women put on a remarkable show and each year the race gets more impressive. With the matching purse it certainly helps to attract up-and-coming riders. And if the winning Schneider sisters list Doylestown as a race destination right after Belgium and Holland and are willing to jump on a trans-Atlantic flight to make it, good things could be coming in future editions of the Doylestown Health Women’s pro race.