Events: Thompson Bucks County Classic 2019 Spotters Guide
Cover photo 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.
The road cycling calendar has dwindled to next-to-no remaining chances for the 2019 season. That means there are few valuable lap primes remaining and even fewer victories to be handed over. Over the past month there have been several Pennsylvania-specific road races that have brought communities together. The final event, the Thompson Bucks County Classic, an all-day cycling fest in the heart of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, will feature a long list of races and celebration this Sunday, September 8. Come and race or come and spectate. There will be too much to do in one day.
Coinciding with the Bucks County Classic, the Doylestown is celebrating its 28th year of featuring art vendors along the main streets of downtown. Running Saturday and Sunday, the Doylestown Arts Festival is everything a fan of the Cottage Industry is looking for. Rows and rows of white tents stretch for dozens of blocks shading paintings and sculptures. The larger tents at the end of the streets feature music performers. Food tents dot the landscape while the Doylestown restaurant scene is more than eager to get you off your feet and sling a cold one your way. For cyclists around the Delaware Valley, the Sunday racing is what we want to see.
Early Sunday morning come out and watch the rising stars of cycling as the men’s cat 3/4 field circle the pro circuit for 45 minutes. The 9:15am start will begin the spectating as young as 14 years of age will get a taste of the furious course. With laps ticking away around the three-minute mark, figure at least fifteen laps of racing for local glory. Be prepared for the first lap leader as any of the local riders will try to obtain bragging rights for a year. This is the first year for the category 3/4 race.
Likewise for the women, a category 3/4 race has been added to the schedule for 2019. Women will zip along the same course as the pros. Racing begins at 10:15 am and is timed for 35 minutes. Currently numerous local riders have populated the field; be prepared to recognize some of the racers as people from the community. Perhaps next year they will be racing in the pro race.
Following the women’s amateur race is the bike parade at 11am. Riders from the community will take a lap around the course handing out cycling goodies, especially the all-important cowbells. A few years ago the local bike shop – Doylestown Bike Works – executed a high wheel race along the front stretch of the pro course. Be on the lookout for some of the same participants to take some of the technical turns from five feet high. Others on bikes are event sponsors who want a chance to see the course from behind bars.
The Doylestown Health Professional Women’s race, in its sixth year, rolls out at 11:40 for a 25-mile hammerfest. Kicking off the afternoon festivities, the women’s race prides itself on equal payout as the men’s race, a unique feature to the Thompson Bucks County Classic. The race is open to pro, cat 1, and cat 2 racers and have featured local, national, and international racers over the years. The action is fast and technical and shouldn’t be missed.
In between pro races, the racers of the future take to the finishing chute to have a go at speed. Kids as young as three and as old as ten will take on races of varying distances determined by age. This has always been an enjoyable event to watch as some of the pro racers run along their own kids after having raced or are preparing to race. There is always a couple kids who are super competitive offset by the kids who are smiling and looking around as they loosely pilot their bikes to the finish. It is a great way to find a spot along the finish area for the later race.
The sixteenth edition of the Thompson Bucks County Classic rolls away at 1:20 pm at the intersection of Main Street and Court Street. The fifty-mile race is perfectly timed for our approach, which is to see the start and then walk clockwise around the course. Without skipping any locations, we have arrived at the finish with some ten laps remaining. This approach allows every speed section and sneaky climbing section to be highlighted and enjoyed. Feel free to experience the block parties taking place on the western side of Oakland Avenue near the feedzone.
So there it is. The 2019 Thompson Bucks County Classic schedule is action-packed. You might feel like you have raced come Sunday night when the barriers are being broken down, the kids are asleep in the stroller, and restaurant servers are at their own bar cheersing to a busy weekend. Go ahead and take Monday off. Say you were exhausted. Then go out and ride. We won’t say anything. We’ll see you Sunday.