It seems that there is something so right about beer and road racing here in southeastern PA. If you have ever been out to “The Wall” in Manayunk, or even Lemon Hill, you have witnessed the rabid crowds of fans that would make the American Cyclocross crowd look like a bunch of prohibitionists. In West Chester, things are a bit more tame, but the college town still knows how to throw a party, with a beer garden. Enter…the Iron Hill Twilight Crit.
In it’s 7th year, the Iron Hill Twilight Crit brings speed and excitement to the streets of West Chester, PA. The course is a straightforward, 4 corner, 1 km crit on tight downtown roads. Corners 1 and 2 are your typical, flat, 90 degree turns to the left, but corner three should be known as “the danger zone.” (Thank you Austin Carroll for using that quote lately in your vlogs.) After a 3 block run down Market Street, you hit the 90 degree, off camber turn to the left. Riders will all bomb down this stretch to try to be the first into the corner. If you see hay bails, you’re in the right spot. The exit of turn 3 also starts the false flat run up to the line. It’s not a leg breaker, but after 40 laps at speed, even Jens Voigt’s legs might start talking. The block long false flat leads to turn 4, then a 2 block incline sprint up to the finish line at the Iron Hill Brewery.
The night kicks off with the kids race at 5 PM, with 3/4 men at 6 PM, Elite Women at 6:45 PM, and Pro/1/2 at 7:45 PM. Last year, the men’s podium was dominated by the locals. 4 of the 5 top finishers were from PA, including Clayton Barrows, Bobby Lea, Scott Zwizanski, and Ryan DeWald. Guido Palma of North Carolina, snuck in for 3rd place.
Don’t think of this as a local race though. Domestic and international riders will try to collect points in the USA CRITS series. Last year’s women’s race proved this, with Kiwi Lauren Ellis taking the win, and American Erica Allar coming in second. Allar (RideClean presented by Patentit.com) currently sits in second
place in the overall standings, and with a repeat performance, could vault herself into the series lead. The mens race also could shake up the standings with last year’s winner, Clayton Barrows (Stan’s NoTubes / AXA Equitable) sitting in 3rd, only 89 points behind the newly crowned series leader, Luke Keough (Team Mountain Khakis), and 9 points behind Christian Helmig (Elbowz Racing) in 2nd.
Pictures and a race recap to follow after the race.