While the University of Maryland Cycling Team hosted its second annual “Route One Rampage” on April 1 in downtown Hyattsville, the first day of the weekend was much more than a collegiate sporting event.
Saturday included 12 races throughout the day for riders with different experience levels, allowing collegiate athletes, residents and youth to be active as a community. Hyattsville is one of 27 Maryland cities that participate in the Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) campaign.
“As a city we promote healthy events and healthy eating for not only our staff but all of our residents,” said Cheri Everhart, Hyattsville’s events and recreation supervisor. “Any type of physical activities we can promote as a city, we’re going to take advantage of that.”
Everhart, who helped plan the event with other Hyattsville staff members and the UMD Cycling Team, was responsible for coordinating road closures around the 1-mile course. The race closed four main roads, altered bus routes and prohibited parking along many streets. This allowed the community to come to the heart of the city to support the event.
While the race made getting in and out of the city tough for residents, it allowed many people to participate in the event, as either a rider or as a fan. The Race Village, an area with food, music and other local businesses, was set up at the intersection of Route 1 and Gallatin Street, the location of both the starting and finish line.
— Maryland Triathlon (@md_triathlon) April 3, 2017
“To have [local businesses] and the entire cycling community was really special,” said Chris Keosian, vice president of the cycling team. “Our friends and family came down to watch this race and it’s really a special event to help embed cycling in the local community.”
The University of Maryland is one of 11 schools in the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference (ACCC). The ACCC includes college cycling teams from Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.
Route One Rampage was just one event in a seven-weekend regular season that occurs from February to mid-April before conference championships at the end of the month. The season wraps up with the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships in the first week of May.
“I’m glad we, as a city, were able to host this event for the second straight year,” Everhart said. “To host a college event is worth basically closing down the middle of town for a day.”
The event featured more collegiate riders than the first year, according to Keosian. Teams from the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC) also came down to Maryland for the event because their weekend race in Vermont was cancelled because of snow.
“We hosted two collegiate conference and open races [for the public],” Keosian said. “The good weather, good course and all of the extra riders made for really competitive and really big races.”
However, expectations weren’t too high entering the weekend.
Between hosting the event and having more teams than usual in attendance, there were plenty off-the-course stresses on the team’s mind.
“Typically teams that host events don’t do so well because they’re so busy volunteering and organizing,” Keosian said. “And shutting down Route 1 for a bike race isn’t an easy task.”
But Maryland was able to overcome this to exceed expectations, as two Terrapins won races over the course of the weekend. Freshman Thomas Humphries won the criterium on Saturday and Bruno Neto, a graduate student, won the road race on Sunday.
“That was just a testament to our team’s strength and our teamwork. Winning a bike race isn’t a single person’s task,” Keosian said. “It’s a team effort. Our team managed to find our legs at the end of the weekend to win on our home turf which was really special.”
Since Route One Rampage, Humphries finished third in the Men’s A season, the most competitive group in the conference, while Owen Thomas finished second in the Men’s D omnium. The team as a whole, finished fourth in the conference.
While Maryland had a successful event in Hyattsville and now looks forward to the national competition in Colorado in early May, Keosian wants cycling to have long-lasting impression on the university and the community.
“As we train throughout the year, we get these funny looks on campus walking around in spandex,” he said. “It was really cool to bring visibility to our team to let everyone know that we’re more than just a bunch of goofballs.”
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