If you are walking the streets of Doylestown on September 11th, that nice breeze you feel will not be from the wind. The cause will be from hundreds of cyclists speeding past as they circle around the criterium during the Bucks County Classic.
Held in conjunction with the Doylestown Arts Festival, it is billed as The Biggest Weekend in Bucks County.
Considering that this year’s race will take place on September 11th, Race Director John Eustice said they will have, “At the minimum, a moment of silence,” in remembrance of those from the area that lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
This year’s Bucks County Classic, sponsored by The Thompson Organization, will feature six races.
Kicking off the day of racing at 8:30 a.m. is the Cyclosportif, which features either a 31 mile or 60 mile scenic course through Bucks County.
At 9:30 a.m. the Amateur Men’s Race, which is returning for 2016, features cycling stars of the future competing on the same course as the pros.
Children’s races will have youngsters wheeling to the finish line at 10:30 a.m.
High wheel bicycles will be used in the Lenape Scorcher at 11:30 a.m. The race lasts 40 minutes and is limited to only 20 cyclists.
The Doylestown Pro Women’s Race is up after that at 11:45 a.m.
The final race of the day will be the Thompson Criterium of Doylestown Pro Men at 1 p.m.
This race, which was founded in 2003, is part of the US Pro Cycling Tour and features teams riding on the 62 mile course through Doylestown. Total prizes for each Pro mens and Pro womens race is $12,000.
The course itself is designed around the Doylestown Arts Festival, which is taking place September 10 and 11.
Racers will start at the old Bucks County Courthouse, head north on East Court Street and then make a right onto Pine Street, then E. Oakland, Main Street, Ashland, Lafayette, W. Oakland, Clinton and back to Court Street. They will do this for 62 miles until the winner passes the Thompson VIP tent to a checkered flag. Pro men will make 45 laps around the course and pro women about 22 laps, according to Eustice, and 150 pro men, 25 to 30 pro women and about 60 amateurs will compete in the races this year.
The race itself originally started when the Souderton Grand Prix, which took place on a Saturday, left riders with an open Sunday. He convinced the Arts Festival people to give him a corner of town to have the first race. Three years later, Eustice came up with the idea to, “circle the Arts Festival.”
Some of the best places to watch the high speed cycling race is Clinton and Court, Clinton and Mary, Court and Harvey, Court and Pine, Pine and State and Oakland and Pine.
Awards ceremonies are scheduled for Amateur Men 10:40 a.m., Pro Women 12:50 p.m, and Pro Men 3:20 p.m. This time will vary based upon the race finishes.
Streets will be closed on the race course from 8:30 am until 3:30 p.m. If you attend the event, free parking is available in the County Parking Garage, the VIP Lot and Fanny Chapman Park. Shuttles will be available from the garage and Fanny Chapman Park.
When asked what the best aspect of having the race in Doylestown is, Eustice smiled and said, “The people of Doylestown.” He explained that anything he needs to make this race happen, any issue that arises, the community has been there for him in any way they can to help him put on a fabulous race every year.
In the past 14 years since they started that race, it has become “One of the biggest special events in Bucks County,” said Eustice.