STORY WRITTEN BY CANDICE MONHOLLAN
@CMonhollanDLN on Twitter
WEST CHESTER >> The big Iron Hill Twilight Race Series is coming to West Chester Saturday evening.
The event focuses mainly on the three big criterium races — the amateur men’s race, the pro women’s race and the Iron Hill Twilight race.
However, there is also some more light-hearted fun before the criteriums with the kid’s race and the Trike Challenge and things for the spectators, such as a kid’s zone, a community festival and a block party.
No matter which part the crowd or participants are coming out for, the one thing everyone knows for sure is that thousands are expected to be in attendance.
“We usually estimate around 15,000 to 20,000 attendees,” said Mark Yoder, president of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce (GWCCC). “From a participant’s standpoint, we have around 300 kids in the West Chester Dental Arts Kid’s Race, usually 12 teams participate in the Tolsforf Trike Challenge, 95 amateur riders in the Rothman Amateur Race, 40 to 50 women in the Brumbaugh Wealth Management Women’s Pro Criterium and around 125 men in the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium.”
The Kid’s Zone will be located in the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot on East Gay Street and will be open from 3 to 7 p.m. Children of all ages are welcome and it is completely free. Children can enjoy an inflatable obstacle course, a giant slide, Hawaiian-style shaved ice and other kid-centered vendor tents.
The Benchmark Community Festival will be located on High Street, between Gay and Market streets, and will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Attendees can interact with the multiple events sponsors and other regional companies in this area, which will also have booths such as health and fitness offerings, home improvement and service providers, nonprofit agencies, faith-based organizations and more. There will also be plenty of food and treats available.
The Market Street Block Party will be located along Market Street, of course, between Church and Darlington streets, and will open starting at 4 p.m. The block party will be a way for the local businesses to welcome all the attendees and involve face painting, sidewalk chalk, food, live music and more.
West Chester Dental Arts Kid’s Race >> Children ages 3 to 10 can race each other on their Big Wheels, tricycles or two-wheelers. The race will be broken down into four age categories (3 to 4, 5 to 6, 7 to 8 and 9 to 10) and the race distances depend on the age and ability of the rider. In order to participate, the child must wear a helmet, have their bike of choice and permission from their parent or guardian. Parents of children younger than 6 years old may accompany their child on foot. All participants will receive an official Iron Hill Criterium medal and an “overstuffed gift bag” from West Chester Dental Arts.
Registration: 2:45 to 3:15 p.m.
Race time: 3:30 p.m.
Tolsdorf Trike Challenge >> Teams of adults can race each other in a series of heats down Gay Street on tricycles with the victorious team receiving VIP passes to Crit Club, where they can enjoy a buffet and a prime view of the racing action following the challenge. The winners will also receive the Twilight Trike Challenge Trophy, complete with an engraving of the team’s name. A portion of the proceeds benefit West Chester’s Fame Fire Company. Each team must be made up of five members with at least one member of the opposite sex and all participants must be 18 or older. All participants will receive a free T-shirt.
Registration: 3:45 to 4:15 p.m.
Race time: 4:30 p.m.
Rothman Institute Amateur Men’s Criterium >> The amateur race is a USA Cycling sanctioned event and a racing license is required of participants. All USAC rules will apply in the race and all finishing racers are factored in the PAC BAR point scoring. The top Category 2, 3 and 4 riders from the Race Trials held earlier in the day will be able to compete in the race.
Race time: 5:45 p.m.
Brumbaugh Wealth Management Pro Women’s Criterium >> The race is the 2016 TUFMED USA CRITS Women’s Championship Series Finals and one of the most important women’s bicycle races in USA Cycling.
Race time: 6:45 p.m.
Iron Hill Twilight Criterium >> Top national professional bicycle racers take part in this 2016 TUFMED USA CRITS Championship Final, with some racers hitting speeds if 35 mph on the course.
Race time: 8 p.m.
All three criterium races will follow the same 0.6-mile course, which starts and ends next to the Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant at the intersection of Gay and High streets. The course spans eight blocks through downtown West Chester with four 90-degree turns and one short rise. It begins on Gay Street, turning left onto Church Street, left onto Market Street, left onto Matlack Street and a final left back onto Gay Street.
For more information on the Iron Hill Twilight Race Series, visit http://greaterwestchester.com/ihtrs/.