When he crashed early on in his first attempt at the Bucks County Classic two years ago, CB West sophomore Alden Weinhold never envisioned it would take two years for a shot at redemption in the cycling race that takes place every year in the heart of Doylestown.
While the event celebrated its 17th season this time around, last year, it was forced into virtual status due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Back in the saddle and coming off his best cycling season yet, Weinhold – the youngest finisher in the race at 15 – took third place in the Amateur Men’s Race, riding for Doylestown Bike Works presented by Fred Beans, a Major Sponsor of the event. Finishing with a blazing mark of 45:52 in the 18.2-mile race, he’s the first Doylestown native ever to stand on the podium in the history of the Classic.
“I couldn’t believe it, at first,” said Weinhold. “I came out of that last turn in 10th position and I knew I needed to start my sprint to the finish.
“Two guys (on my team) went and I went with them and I came straight across the (finish) line.
“It was kind of shocking, at first.”
Sprinting forward from 10th in the pack to a third-place finish, while he knew he was passing the competition, Weinhold says he was engrossed in his own performance.
“I was focused on how efficient I could be and how long I could hold that,” he said. “The amount of power I could hold to that line and have the most successful race.”
Though he knew he finished strong in the event, it was another hour before Classic organizers confirmed the results of the race and Weinhold’s bronze medal finish.
Riding with junior racer Steve Szabo along with senior cyclists Joey Kubushefski and Zak Andrews, the latter two cyclists actually helped Weinhold to his third-place sprint.
“We had a plan going into the race and Joey and Zak capitalized on it and it got me third,” Weinhold explained.
“In the beginning of the race, they attacked and they helped chase really high and I kind of just sat in.
“At the end, they pulled me up to the front and they pulled off and that gave me a good sprint to the finish.”
Still basking in the glow of this year’s victory, Weinhold described what went wrong two years ago.
“It was my first time racing my hometown race,” he explained. “I was only 13 at the time and I went in a little too hot – the first and second corner. I dug a peddle (into the asphalt) on the turn and it caused me to crash and I slipped six or seven feet on the pavement.”
No other cyclists were hurt when Weinhold took a tumble in the 2019 race. That was by design, Weinhold said.
“I intentionally took the outside line so that if I did crash, I wouldn’t take anyone with me,” he explained.
Weinhold made a quick stop in the pits, brushed himself off and got back on the horse, as it were. A lap or two later however, banged up and bruised, he knew he was finished.