Bike racers will wind through West Marlborough on Tuesday and Wednesday
For decades, the late Nancy Penn Smith Hannum presided as master of the Cheshire Hunt from Brooklawn, her stately Unionville
estate. Next week, the property will host bicycles rather than horses, serving as the starting and finishing line for two segments of the inaugural Chesco Grand Prix.
The Chesco Time Trial will take place Tuesday evening, and the Chesco Road Race will be held on Wednesday.
“The time trial is known as the race of truth,” said Crosby Wood of the Chesco Grand Prix. “It is one rider at a time riding a course as fast as he can. The rider in each category with the quickest time is the winner.”
The Chesco Time Trial is a 10.2-mile loop of rolling hills and flat roads through horse country. The time trial features beginning riders to professionals and ages from 13 to over 65. The first race begins at 5 p.m., and the featured professional men’s race is slated for a 7:20 p.m. start.
The field of professional riders is expected to include Bobby Lea, a member of the United States’ 2012 Olympic Cycling Team. Lea, 28, of Berks County, has won track and road races throughout the nation and is a multi-national champion. After 18 months and 12 qualifying races in nine countries on five continents, Lea qualified to represent U.S.A. track cycling in London this summer. He will use the Chesco Grand Prix to sharpen his form before he leaves for England.
Lea will captain a five-man squad from the Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA. The grand prix is both a team and individual competition with up to 90 riders expected to compete in each race. Another top-ranked rider taking part in the Grand Prix is West Chester’s Mike Chauner.
The July 4th Chesco Road Race, with a 13.2-mile lap through West Marlborough Township, will also serve as the Pennsylvania State Road Cycling Championships, Wood said. The first race of the day starts at 8 a.m. The professional men’s race is 92 miles long and starts at 10:40 a.m. and should finish shortly after 2 p.m.
“A great place to watch the race is at the last climb of each lap as the riders turn off of Route 82 south onto Newark Road towards the finish line,” Wood said. “There will be ample parking at the start and finish line: 1825 Newark Road.”
On Thursday, the race moves to Parkesburg; Kennett Square will host the finals on Friday. On Sunday, cyclists of all levels will be able to choose a 20-mile, 40-mile or 75-mile route, starting and finishing in Marshallton
The professional races will be for registered elite level and professional teams and riders. Points will be awarded for the top finishers in each race toward overall team and individual prizes. A total of at least $30,000 in prize money will be awarded throughout the series. For more information on the Chesco Grand Prix, see www.chescograndprix.com.