National Championship Races Bring America’s Finest Amateur Bicycle Racers to Hagerstown, Maryland

Monday, October 1, 2018

National Championship Races Bring America’s Finest Amateur Bicycle Racers to Hagerstown, Maryland

USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships – July 26-29, 2018 – Boonsboro, Clear Spring & Hagerstown, MD

David T. Whitaker

August 1, 2018

Running toward the finish line, family members and cycling fans hastily reached open spots along the finishing straight and stared at the final turn.  Was there a leading rider or two or would it be a field sprint?  Less than a minute later, in the distance, a large group of young cyclists came into view heading toward the finish line. One could feel intense anticipation rise in the crowd as the racing peloton rapidly approached in this fiercely contested national championship race.

As families and racing fans from across the U.S. loudly pounded the barriers and clanged cowbells, the pack of young racers pedaled faster and faster as they approached the finish line. The speed and intensity of the whirring bicycles reached a crescendo that culminated in all-out sprint to the finish line – as hard-fought as the pros.

Kicking forward from the hotly contested field sprint was Megan Jastrab of Apple Valley, CA. Megan expertly threw her bike forward toward the finish line at the last possible moment, just a wheel ahead of nearby sprinters. Megan was quickly proclaimed winner of the 15/16 year old Women’s National Champion Road Race adding a coveted Stars-and-Stripes National Jersey to her growing collection of bicycle racing awards. As Megan was escorted back to the announcer’s platform by local promoter Joe Jefferson, the thunderous applause was a fitting salute to her sprint victory. Each racer had traveled many miles and spent countless training hours for this unique opportunity to win a National Championship. To finish this race was the culmination of many hours of training to compete for one of cycling’s highest honors; a Stars-and-Stripes Jersey.

Here in sight of the scenic mountain overlooking Clear Spring, MD, the future of road bicycle racing in the United States had added a new chapter. Megan and the other contestants who came to Maryland to race in the National Championships are the next generation of American bicycle road racers. They are carrying on a tradition of top level American cycling and many of these racers are bound for future cycling glory.

Over four days in late July, Hagerstown staged the prestigious USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championship Races showcasing the best amateur road racers in the United States. Men and women from 11 to 25+ years of age competed at the highest level for prestigious Stars-and Stripes National Jerseys along with medals for top finishers at spectacular three race venues across Washington County.

Titles were awarded for Individual Time Trial, Criterium, and Road Race in various age divisions and race categories. Race events were held over a four-day period beginning with a Time Trial in Boonsboro on Thursday, July 26th; Friday and Saturday Road Races in Clear Spring on July 27th and July 28th; and wrapping up on Sunday, July 29th with criterium races on a superb 0.8 mile course in the heart of historic downtown Hagerstown.

If you missed it, don’t fret. USA Cycling has a two-year commitment with Washington County. The USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships will return to Hagerstown and Washington County in June 2019.   

“Everyone who bicycles in Maryland and the greater four state region owes it to their sport to come and make these National Championships even bigger and better in 2019! – Joe Jefferson, Director of Local Operations for the USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships in Washington County 

So how do these races work? -- USA Cycling sets the standards and parameters for the races. The host cities secure the race venues and set up the logistics that make the races successful. The Hagerstown/Washington County event organizers established a high bar for these National Championship races and the many related events that will be difficult for other competing cities to surpass.

Over 650 racers competed in the four-day race event with over 1,400 race registrations. Attendees came from over 40 states, often accompanied by families and team support personnel. Local tourism and event organizers estimate that the four-day event brought in over $1.5 million to Hagertown’s regional economy.

“I call it a breakthrough moment for us. …  If we get high marks for this event, we’ll be stronger candidates for future events.” – Dan Spedden, Vice President of Visit Hagerstown

Results of the four days of National Championship racing in Washington County can be found at USA Cycling:

So, how exactly did the USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships come to Hagerstown and Washington County, a location better known for its Civil War heritage, C&O Canal towpath, historic stone bridges and rustic rural villages? No event on this scale happens without extensive planning and local and state support, coordination and sponsorships. This is quite a task for large cities with extensive sports event planning experience. What did Hagerstown and Washington County bring to the table to be awarded this prestigious national event for two years?

The recently completed four-day USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships was the culmination of a couple years of hard work, commitments, marketing, course planning and innovative event management by a team of committed local bicycling racing enthusiasts and tourism professionals. The very capable staff of the Hagerstown & Washington County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau worked with the Maryland Sports Commission to prepare and submit a winning proposal to USA Cycling.    

“Hagerstown beat out Las Vegas and San Diego for the Amateur National Championships…  The best racers in the country came to Washington County for the opportunity to win a National Championship.” – Joe Jefferson

Nothing on this scale happens without countless hours of planning by committed local individuals. Over 200 volunteers participated in race day activities in a range of activities from course marshals, motor support, feed zone assistance, ambulance and emergency aid, and local police and fire department support each of the four days.  

These folks deserve special recognition for the extensive time, effort and resources they dedicated to planning, securing, funding and managing this highly successful National Championship race series: Tim Lung, Joe Jefferson, Dan Spedden, Audrey Jane, and Betsy Starrett Devore. They and many other highly motivated volunteers and elected officials helped pull it all together, fund it, market it, and lay out the individual courses as well as promote the races to regional sponsors in and around Washington County.  

“I think this opens up Washington County for a lot more larger events. We have established ourselves as a venue who has the capabilities of hosting a national championship, which means that other national championship-caliber events can come to Washington County because we have shown that we have the logistical support to make it happen.” – Joe Jefferson

Mark your calendars for June 20-23, 2019 when National Championship road racing returns to scenic Washington County. Bring your family to these races. You may be introducing the next Megan Jastrab to the lifelong thrill of a successful bicycle sprint to the finish line!

“The bicycle has a soul. If you succeed to love it, it will give you emotions that you never will forget.” – Mario Cipollini, cyclist, former world champion


# # # # #


A Thank You to Our Sponsors!