It took six months, four separate versions of the course, and a few sleepless nights, but it’s finally settled: Phoenixville is getting a bike race.
On June 30 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Phoenixville Criterium–the third leg of the inaugural Chesco Grand Prix cycling series–is coming to the borough, the council unanimously decided at its regular meeting on Tuesday night. The final sticking point the body resolved was the race's course.
Middle ward representative Jennifer Mayo–who’s been a vocal advocate of bringing the criterium to Phoenixville, calling the race “her baby”–said the new course is a win for all parties.
“We heard some concerns from local businesses about access from the northside and also some concerns from businesses on the south of Main Street,” she said, in reference to at its May 29 special meeting.
“But this is a better course and allows better traffic flow in and out.”
The design is this: the looping, 1.3 mile track begins (and ends) at 220 W. Bridge Street, hooks left on Main Street, makes a sharp left onto Vanderslice Street, hangs right onto Franklin Avenue before making another right onto High Street, turns right back onto Main Street, then goes right on Church, right on Gay, and right on Bridge.
“This is actually quite close to one of of the first iterations of the original course,” Mayo said of the map mayor Leo Scoda, police chief William Mossman, and borough manager E. Jean Krack designed.
The race will also feature, as planned, a VIP tent and expo area, as well as a fenced off beer garden sponsored by Downingtown's Victory Brewery.
Mayo said she expects the event will have a spirit similar to Manayunk’s annual bike race.
“We’re already expecting 5,000 people,” she said, going as far as to compare a feature of the Phoenixville course to Manayunk’s infamous “wall.”
“When the racers turn on to Vanderslice, it’s a very steep and narrow turn. It should be a challenge.”
For some, it already has been.
The race day schedule is below:
- 11 a.m.: The borough will start dropping fencing at the corners. Roads will remain open.
- 12 p.m.: Bridge Street between Gay and Main will be closed to setup the finish line. The 100 block of Bridge will be close to setup the VIP tent.
- 1 p.m.: The borough will begin closing the course and opening detours.
- 2 p.m.: Racing begins
- 7:45 p.m.: Racing ends. The borough will open up the course to traffic, except the finish line area.
- 7:50 p.m.: Awards ceremony
- 9 p.m.: All of Bridge Street will be reopened.