She really didn’t want to. Her father insisted.
Five years ago, after the avid runner broke her big toe, Paige Shumskas was signed up for cycling lessons by her father at the Velodrome in Allentown. Her plan was to use cycling as a way to stay in shape until she could get back to running. Then she found she had fallen in love with cycling. She joined a junior development road team that summer. This season she has competed in 50 races.
Come September 11th, Paige will be competing in the women’s pro race Bucks County Classic as the junior development rider of the Fearless Femme pro cycling team. Yes. Pro.
Paige competed in the Bucks County Classic last year, but she said it was at the end of her season, and that she was tired and didn’t fare was well as she would have liked. She then added, “This season I’m more prepared cause I’m racing for a professional team.” She is their junior development rider. She explained that “I mainly work as their domestique” where her basic role is to clog the front of the pack and set the pace for her teammates so they can pull ahead and be in position to win the race. “I do whatever I can to help my teammates win.” said Shumskas.
Paige likes Criterium racing. She is excited about the Doylestown race. “This is like my hometown race. Everyone is going to be there. So I’m really excited for that.” She said last years was different because it wasn’t a pro race. This year the women’s pro race features some of the best women racers in the country.
The season starts between March or May to September. When asked how she manages doing schoolwork during the season, she smiled and said, “I am really good with time management.” Last year she had 3AP classes all with honors. Her instructors will give her work ahead of time so she can manage racing and school work.
The farthest she has traveled for a race was California to compete in Junior Nationals. In that race, someone in front of her purposely took her out of the race, causing her to crash.
She eventually hopes to race internationally in the pro women’s circuit.
She loves Billy Joel, Elton John and Boston.
Today Paige is only doing an hour workout. She’s taking it easy today since she suffered a crash this past weekend when a racer in front of her did something she should’t have and caused a crash from which Paige need 7 stitches. She was happy to report that nothing happened to her bike in the crash and that other then the stitches, she only suffered minor scrapes.
I met Paige at her 14 acre family home in Pipersville. That is the area where she generally trains for races. How can you not? It is beautiful scenery to ride through.
As Paige rides up the road, one doe crosses the road, then another. Further up the road another doe crosses the road following her mother. A car comes closer to Paige. She cautiously waves the vehicle around her. Once past she gets back to work. The Fearless Femme steadily pedals up the scenic hilly road on her way to the next race.
Paige doesn’t want summer to end, saying, “I want to keep racing! It’s so fun!”
September 11, 2016 in Doylestown.
Her hometown race.
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.
For the first time since I started photographing the Danskin Triathlon (formerly the SheRoxTri), the event was postponed due to thunderstorms. As I was exiting the event, I turned to make some images showing the participants and spectators as they walking in the drenching rain.
Two athletes actually wanted to pose as the thunder roared in the background. My camera bag and vest are still not 100% dry. 🙁