Events: 2018 Goldsprints Presented by Doylestown Bike Works
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.
When the Doylestown Pump Track opens later this year, I hope many of the riders railing the corners know the effort that went into its fundraising. The third year for the Goldsprints presented by Doylestown Bike Works hosted by Puck Live benefited all proceeds to the work in progress. The cycling community of Doylestown as well as neighboring riders from as far as Trenton, NJ, and Sea Girt, NJ, all pitched in by suffering for 300 meters at a time.
It was a festive atmosphere at Puck Live for the Goldsprints, an event featuring fork-mounted roller racing. The venue was full up prior to the first pairing as the warm weather hobbyists yearned for some action. It was raining and cold outside, driving participants and spectators into the event and even seeing some volunteer a race when needed. There were several categories for the crowd to watch: Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Men’s Elite, and Pro Track. Pro Track deviated from the fork-mount racing by requiring riders to go full roller, full track bike, and a fuller distance of 1000 meters. There were also costume contests and a heavy dosage of heckling, most notably from Gary Thornton of Velorambling, the announcer for the evening.
With forty-six total online entries the pairings rolled through simply and remarkably. The main focus of race start times was the avoidance of back-to-back races for winners. About midway through the event, it was discussed the lack of dead heats. There was a belief it would be impossible with timing dragged out to the thousandths of a second. If it works for luge, why not for Goldsprints? We got what we secretly hoped for later in the night when several races, notably semi-final and final races had to go a second time to settle a winner.
And while waiting to be called up to race, the crowd was frequently pelted with swag such as water bottles, t-shirts, and stuffed sling bags. If you walked away empty-handed you did something wrong. Losers for each race left the stage with a Kermesse Sport swag collection of a Hell of Hunterdon Ass-Saver mudguard and event cycling cap. At one point Jun Walker of Funky Town Velo based in Trenton, NJ, donated a 56 cm Surly Cross Check frame and fork for $10 a raffle ticket. If racing and free stuff wasn’t your gig, you could luckily slide onto one of the stools at Puck’s bar and heckle from the back. It looked as if the regulars embraced the racing at Puck Live. Every person inside the venue had paid to be there, either the five dollars to race or the ten dollars to spectate. All the proceeds went to benefiting the pump track located near the Fanny Chapman pool near East State Street.
Doylestown Bike Works’ Dan and Zane Turner were in charge of scoring while riders mounted the single speed bikes, spun for a few moments for warmup, then hammered for 300 meters. A few competitors had to be tapped to stop when the race was over. I can say from experience 300 meters - or nearly once around the Trexlertown velodrome - feels like an eternity. Winners would eventually materialize. Sean Rimmer won the men’s open category with a time of 14:542, edging out Zak Andrews. They had to resort to a second race after tying in the first. Similarly Katelyn Hillbert won the women’s open category with a time of 16:827, beating Melissa Palermo in a second race after a tie. David Bozak – who beat yours truly earlier in the night – flew to a win with a time of 13:040 or nearly fifty miles per hour, edging out Colin Kelly, a freshman at Penn State University and Bike Works employee.
The Pro Track race served two purposes: The first purpose was the Doylestown Bike Works Pro/Am team and kit reveal for the 2018 race season. Several of the riders for Doylestown Bike Works Pro/ Am were present to display the team kit including Jason Wood, Colin Kelly, Chris Meacham, and Wes Kline. Otherwise the race was a nod to the old-time style of roller races with track bikes and rollers. Chris Meacham would win the competition ahead of Gui Nelessen of Van Dessel Factory Team with a remarkable time of 43:416 over one kilometer. Gearing was everything.
The evening’s ultimate showdown came in the form of a rivalry spanning decades. Two riders who have known each other since high school squared off while audience members pledged more pump track funding for their efforts in showmanship. Bike Works’ own Brian Boger donned a sparkly kayak helmet and next-to-no clothing to square off against Extreme Gene, a man who tried to get skipping into the X Games. The showdown was perfectly timed in the sequence of events to get the crowd whooped up for the final showdowns. If you were in attendance, you will certainly remember what you were wearing that night forever. Pump track donations were tossed out liberally because of this spectacle.
Doylestown Bike Works’ effort for the Goldsprints pulled in a remarkable $800 dollars toward the pump track. With sponsors including Giant/ Liv Bicycles, Cannondale Bicycles, Shimano, Vie13, Kermesse Sport, CycleOps, Doylestown Brewing Company, Central Bucks Bicycle Club, and Full Spin Studio, the Goldsprints at Puck Live showcased how the cycling community can come together for a social that happens to include a competition that features vomit buckets ‘just in case.’ While there were many great moments last night at the Goldsprints, I keep coming back to DJ Shael Fisher’s face during Extreme Gene’s race versus Brian Boger. It summed up the night simply in one facial expression than one online article can do. The only explanation I would come up with would be, “Some of us really want that pump track.”