In less than two weeks, numerous riders from around the country will be racing their penny farthing bicycles in a first annual criterium (a closed-course, timed race) around Frederick, Maryland - just 50 miles from the capital of the USA. It’s interesting the competitiveness that the Olympics kind of creates just before this race occurs. No event quite like this has occurred in the US since the end of the 19th century. England has Knutsford once every ten years; a famous antique bike race that started in 1980. The Southwest Pacific (Australia, NZ, Tasmania) has the Evandale National Penny Farthing Championships yearly, since 1983. Beginning this year, America will have its own reoccurring race, the Frederick Clustered Spire High Wheel Race.
While most riders are indeed from the Maryland area, some are traveling from as far as Texas, Missouri, and Arizona. I think it goes without saying who the rider from Arizona is.
All that said, as much as I’d like to win the race, I haven’t been on an ordinary in three years, and I haven’t been on the Eagle since April. Additionally, I have not been training, besides my four-mile to-and-fro work five times a week. It should be fun, but it makes me sad to have missed RAGBRAI this year in exchange for competing in this first annual high-wheel race.