Bicyclists set for Tamaqua Coal Cracker Classic Sunday
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Pictured pausing for a quick photo while working late to prep the trails are from left are key organizers Aaron Berger, Jason Boris and Rich Chwastiak.
Hundreds of bicyclists are expected to converge in Tamaqua for tomorrow's annual Coal Cracker Classic.
This year's race is incorporated in the Mid-Atlantic Super Series circuit, which makes it the largest bike race in the mid-Atlantic region
"This year's race will be like no other, because for the first time ever, the Coal Cracker Classic is part of the Mid-Atlantic Super Series race circuit," said Jason Boris, executive director of the Eastern Schuylkill Recreation Committee. "ESRC and its volunteers have been doing bike races on an off for the past 12 or so years."
Over 100 riders participated in last year's Coal Cracker Classic in the mountain near Tamaqua. Attendance this year is expected to attract 300-350 races due to its Super Series designation.
Boris said that in addition to local riders, there will be riders from as far as New York to Virginia.
The race course will be held on the mountain behind the Bungalow Park, on the Reading Anthracite property.
The classic will consist of a number of races, including a 40-mile endurance/two-lap 15-mile sport race which starts at 9 a.m.; a 22-mile expert race which starts at 11 a.m.; and a 7.5 mile beginner race which starts at 1 p.m.
Each races will begin on North Lehigh Street towards Jerome Street and then travel up into the mountains.
Race directors and key volunteers, Aaron Berger, a Tamaqua 2007 grad, and Rich Chwastiak, a Tamaqua 2005 graduate, have spent almost 290 combined manhours over the past months preparing 25 miles of trails for the race.
"Who would have thought just one year later, we'd be hosting a Mid-Atlantic Super Series Race in the coal region of Schuylkill County?" Berger remarked.
Boris said the Tamaqua Borough Police department and fire police are working together to ensure the safety of all the riders and visitors.
Among the key sponsors and supporters are ESRC, Reading Anthracite Coal Company, the Rich family, Tamaqua Area School District, Green Mountain Cyclery, Thorn's Cycles, Tamaqua M and S True Value.
"We are making it happen by giving back to the sport and community," said Berger. "This race will show all the riders what Tamaqua has to offer with its miles of maintained mountain biking trails."
"The race will provide a greater impression on Tamaqua by taking the event to a whole new level," Boris added.
"Last year, we had a vision to bring bike racing back to Tamaqua. We did," Chwastiak said.
Boris is encouraging the community to come out and take part in this event by cheering on their favorite riders or just to show your support.
"It's going to be huge. And to think, it's coming to Tamaqua," Boris stated.
For more information visit their website at masuperseries.com or their facebook page at www.facebook.com/CoalCrackerClassic.
Registration this year will be held at the Tamaqua Sports Stadium, instead of the Bungalow Park. Racers are also asked to arrive an hour prior to each race to register.
Registrations can also be taken online by clicking Coal Cracker Classic on bikereg.com. Registration online is $30 or $40 the day of the event.