Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 Bilenky Junkyard Cross - Its a wrap

What started a company party has transformed into one of the première and unique regional cyclocross races. No longer a local Philadelphia event; there were cars, vans, and SUV's with license plates from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Indiana parked at Bilenky Cycle Works. This race attracts everyone from competitive racers to people who come out to try their luck; as one racer put it, “I just want to finish”. While not everyone can win their were some crowd favorites; the guy who rode all of his heats in a unicorn mask and the young lady in the women’s division wearing black Uggs.
The Mighty Unicorn

Nothing about the Bilenky Junkyard Cyclocross can be described as standard or regulation. The barriers include cars as hurdles, a mini van as a tunnel, and the narrow pathways where parts are stored become a maze. The surface of the course includes dirt, concrete, and gravel with a mix of oil, transmission fluid, metal fragments, and pebbles of safety glass. 
A tight squeeze  
What Hurdle?

The spectators often have as much fun as the riders and in some small ways influence the race. In two incidents at the car hurdles riders experienced major mechanical failures, spontaneous pit crews from the spectators got them back into the race. They also redesign the course by adding ramps at the car hurdles in time for the bmx/alternate bikes and men’s finals. In one instance when a racer squeezed between the edge of the course and a car hurdle, only to find on the next lap that tires barricaded the hole.

Spontaneous Pit Crew

Catching big air
They don't look like soccer mom's.

There were plenty of cyclocross and mountain bikes and every year there is a growing mount of BMX and single speed bikes. Along with tandems, and modified beach cruisers. This year one rider brought a Pugsley, with tires close to 4 inches wide tires this bicycle was like a steamroller on the course. Some of the fastest and most aggressive riding came in the BMX/alternate bike heats, were the two car hurdles were bunny hopped instead of being hurdled. One BMX racer was a big crowd pleaser as he did wheelies through the start/finish zone during each lap. 
Pugsley in the pit 

King of the Wheelies

Another factor that makes the Bilenky Junkyard Cyclocross are the prizes for the winner each category. This year crowns for the men and tiaras for the women were designed by Bilenky Cycle Works employee Isis Shiffer. With their unique design and Steam Punk esthetic these are the type awards that will make this memorable to the winners more so than any trophy. 

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