Being an avid cyclist myself, I found watching the inaugural weekly race of the Cobblestone Criterium Twilight Series absolutely fascinating. Not only was the course impressive (and scary), the speeds traveled were downright incredible. To witness the cyclists take the turns without slowing… wheel to wheel… the blur of bikes made it difficult to even capture them in a photo… I felt privileged to be there, catching the action.
I ended up staying for the majority of both races, as not even the Thursday at the Square could drag me away from this newfound thrilling event. For much of the time, I stood between the renovated Elk Street Terminal Lofts and the hulking steel frames of the stalled Seneca Casino. The setting made the race even better – it was the last thing many people would expect to see in this district. From race organizer Frank Grillo:
“The BBC kicked off the Cobblestone Criterium Twilight Series Thursday night in Buffalo’s historic Cobblestone district. 50 racers were on hand for the inaugural race. The series started with the 21 riders going off at 6:30 PM. The 35-lap race was fast from the start with Brian Rohr, Wells Fargo Advisors, Lance Johnson, Tom’s Pro Bike/Plan2Peak and Bob Patterson, Managed Care Network, breaking off the front after 3 laps. The field was strung out over the whole course for most of the race. Brian and Lance pulled away from Bob and were never seen again. Brian Rohr, Wells Fargo Advisors took the honors on the line for the win.
“The feature race went off at 7:30 with 29 racers. The 50-lap race was dominated by local fast man Jason Skalski, Handlebars. A good part of the field stayed together for most of the race, but Jason was able to pull away and was not seen again till he lapped the field. The pace was fast and furious with many attacks and counter attacks. Jason took the honors easily.
“We had top racers Garnett Abbey, D’Ornellas from Ontario Canada and Todd Scheske, MVP from Rochester come out to race. The consensus from the racers was, this is a true crit course, fast and challenging, which is what a crit course should be.
“We have a few tweaks to make for next week but it really went off without difficulty. The response from the people who live on the course was very positive. People from the Elk Terminal told me “it’s about time something is happening down here” they were truly happy to see us and welcomed us. I was really happy about that.”