By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun
On Saturday, about 300 bicyclists will come to town for the weekend to participate in a series of races in and around Corsicana known as the Corsicana Stage Race. This is their second year to base the races here.
The Dallas Racing bike club will once again host the event, which is sponsored by Sun and Ski Sports and Park Place dealerships in Dallas.
“The first year, it was just a good fit after talking to the Chamber of Commerce and working with them. They were really able to roll out the red carpet for us and made it a really great city to come to,” explained Zac Lytle, race director. “All the racers were really impressed with all the great volunteers. The whole event was really a good success.”
The race is actually three events, starting with a timed five-mile trial, where riders compete only against the clock. The second is a one-mile race on a loop around downtown, with 12 different categories, such as professional men, professional women, amateur men, amateur women and juniors. The third race is the long one set for Sunday morning on rolling hills near Pursley. The professional competitors in that race will go 88 miles.
The downtown brick streets and Pursley hills won’t be an obstacle for these riders, though.
“They like a challenge like that,” Lytle said. “It’s something different, so it’s exciting. Some of the popular races in Europe are run on really rough cobblestone streets like that. It’s like racing a European race.”
The hills in the road race aren’t bad as compared with mountains in Europe or even the gentle slopes around Austin, but the wind can be merciless.
“If there’s any wind, there’s just no windbreak of any sort,” Lytle said. “So it can make for a difficult race if you have to go against strong winds.”
Helping to coordinate the race locally is Mike Frankos, who lives in Navarro County and who is also an avid cyclist. Coralling enough volunteers was hard because it’s Mother’s Day weekend, but since this was the only date available on the racing calendar they’re making it work, Frankos said.
“This year, it’s a little bit more organized. I think it’s going to be more focused than it was last year, especially with the Second Saturday.”
Corsicana is a great site for the race because it’s central to riders in the Metroplex, Houston, Austin, and East Texas, Frankos said.
“It’s a great location, geographically, to draw from the entire state, and Louisiana and Oklahoma. And we’ve got the panache of brick streets.”
Dave Wenger is bringing a team of seven riders to this weekend’s race. At least one of the team members is bringing along the entire family, so they can all spend Mother’s Day together in a nice hotel, Wenger said.
“We can’t wait,” he said. “Corsicana is a town we’ve traveled through on our way to other bike races. This is our chance to get to know it.”
Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com