By Eric Devlin, The Mercury
POTTSTOWN >> Hundreds of cyclists are gearing up for the return of a huge event in the borough. The Pottstown Bike Race is making a come back and athletes from across the sport are set to pedal through town.
The race gets underway July 10 from noon-8 p.m. Organizers are expecting over 300 athletes to compete in the competition, which features a 0.9 mile course throughout borough streets.
Dawn Gulick, who’s organizing the event, said the popular race, which hasn’t been held in years, is sure to draw a crowd cheering along the sidelines.
“It was very successful race,” she said. “People came back year after year.”
Each race will begin at High Street and Charlotte Street. Athletes will turn onto North Hanover Street before turning again on to Walnut Street and then North Evans Street back to High Street for a series of laps.
The competition will feature eight categories: two women’s races and six men’s races. Athletes will enter the race ranked on a scale of one to five for men and one to four for women, with number ones ranked the best based on their ability. The objective is to move to a higher category because the racing quality and prize money is greater, Gulick said. The bike race is sanctioned by USA Cycling and is part of what’s known Pennsylvania Best All Around Rider, where participants accumulate points to get additional distinction in their category.
Additionally, athletes will compete in smaller competitions within the race called premes, which are additional prizes like a gift card designed to kick up the pace of a race and create a shuffle of the field of racers, Gulick said.
“Main thing about cycling driven by sponsorship,” she said. “Every rider wants their sponsor to be announced or recognized. It’s a pay back to the sponsor. If they can’t win race the go for a preme. Some are so strong they can go for multiple premes and still win race.”
Riders can sign up for the event at https://www.bikereg.com/30206.
The event will also hold a free kids race designed to get children interesting in the sport of cycling.
The Bike Race will also feature a beer garden provided by Sly Fox Brewing Company in the parking lot where the Hippodrome Theatre once stood, where spectators can relax and drink while the actions passes them by. The incoming Asian fusion restaurant “Azie” will provide samples of its food.
“Stop by and grab a beer,” Gulick said.
Other local businesses have also agreed to say open late Sunday night to reap the benefits of hundreds of people in town for the race. Additionally, Red Bull representatives will be on hand carry backpacks full of free samples and other freebies for the crowd.