Coal Cracker Classic to draw hundreds to Tamaqua Saturday
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Organizers Rich Chwastiak, left, and Aaron Berger, along with other volunteers, have spent many months preparing the bicycle paths for the Oct. 19 event.
Hundreds of cyclists are expected to take to the valleys and hills surrounding Tamaqua during the annual Reading Anthracite Coal Cracker Classic planned for next Saturday.
"Our race is unique because the trail is located on old mine land and open to any age," said co-organizer Rich Chwastiak. "This provides a style of riding that is specific to the coal region."
The Coal Cracker Classic is the resurrection of a bike race that was held in Tamaqua seven years ago.
Key organizers Chwastiak, Aaron Berger, Jason Boris and others have spent the last few weeks preparing the course for the single day's race. Chwastiak added that more than 200 hours are put into the trail every year.
"Through the dedication of volunteers and the assistance of many local business and organizations, we have been able to once again bring this unique race back to our community," Chwastiak said.
The wooded course will be held on the mountain behind the Tamaqua Bungalow Park, Catawissa Street, on the Reading Anthracite property.
"Each lap is 7 miles in distance and traverses terrain conducive to Northeastern Pennsylvania," said Berger. The beginner course is 7 miles, while the intermediate lap course is 14 miles and the expert lap course is 21 miles.
"Many people describe the beginner/intermediate course to have a "BMX" style feel and flow, as well as being single speed friendly," Berger said. The expert/endurance course contains large elevation gains and tight, twisty ridge top single track tying back into the famous beginner/intermediate lower loop."
The beginner/intermediate/expert courses, set in laps, are predominately single-track and occasionally combine with some double-track. It has a few sections of short climbing, tight twisty single-track, moderate rocky sections combined with some mud and a few fun drops.
Spectators are also encouraged to come in support or to just watch the racers during Tamaqua's largest annual mountain bike race. The race starts at 10 a.m. at the Tamaqua Bungalow Park, Catawissa Street.
Prizes will also be rewarded following the races.
"These races are huge. And to think, they are held here in Tamaqua," Boris said previously.
Chwastiak added that you don't have to have fancy or expensive bikes to participate.
This is the first year they are working with local supporters, such as Dn'A Bikes in Tamaqua and others.
Berger and Chwastiak both said the goal is to give each racer the best mountain bike race experience in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Organizers said that more information can be found on their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/CoalCrackerClassic), Twitter page (https://twitter.com/TheCoalCracker) or by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.