Being There: 2018 Doylestown Health Women’s Classic Pro 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.
It was arguably the strongest field to line up for the women’s race at the Thompson Bucks County Classic for 2018. To say Lily Williams of Hagens Berman/ Supermint walked away with the win would do the race a disservice in brevity. When it takes around three minutes to complete a lap at Doylestown, it is agreed upon that a one-minute solo lead is impressive.
More than thirty pro women along with categories one and two racers took on the 1.3-mile loop for this year’s Doylestown Women’s Classic. More than five teams had three or more riders start the one-hour race. The start temperature was a hardly-relaxing 50 degrees and rain. With the start of the professional caliber racers, fans began to wonder if some of the faster corners would prove an undoing or a heroic follow through.
Almost immediately two riders went off the front, one being Lily Williams of Hagens Berman/ Supermint out of Asheville, NC. They amassed a sizeable lead because of perfect conditions within the race. It looked like the women were waiting for the strongest team in the field, ISCorp Pro Cycling, to take the front and bring the leaders back. More specifically, it looked as if the riders expected the Schneider sisters, Skylar and Samantha, fresh off their European sojourn, to accept the task of dragging everyone else back into contention. It also did not help ISCorp Pro Cycling to have one of their riders in the pits in the first few laps.
Each lap Williams’ lead grew until it reached beyond the one-minute mark. It stabilized for the remainder of the race as it became obvious the race for second was the new focus. I argued that Williams would stay away the moment she went out of sight of the riders. The pursuit of the peloton slackened once they turned up the homestretch to reveal an empty stretch of road. Each lap the pace and cold whittled riders off the back, eventually sending a total of twenty to the line for the finale.
After an hour of racing Lily Williams would win by nearly a minute over the rest of the field. Rebecca Wiasak (Fearless Femme Racing) would pip Samantha Scheider (ISCorp Pro Cycling) who rounded out the podium and Harriet Owen (Hagens Berman/ Supermint). Twenty-one riders would finish the race on the lead lap. There were no immediate reports of riders getting tangled along the 1.3-mile course, making it two races in a row without major incidences. The course was getting the respect it deserved.
Fearless Femme Racing could claim home turf advantage being based out of Lambertville, NJ. Women from ten states, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia competed for the equal pay out of the $10,000 purse. Of the fields that buzzed around Doylestown, this was the most diverse field of the day. As precipitation became heavier, the women immersed themselves in the season-ending criterium race. With two riders lapped it was obvious this was a race everyone wanted to continue well past the finishing sprint. Lily Williams may still be riding right now if they didn’t stop her at the finish line.