By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
COXSACKIE — A steady downpour Saturday morning did not deter cyclists from racing through Coxsackie and Athens in the annual Trooper David Brinkerhoff Memorial Race Series.
The two-day race will continue April 23 for its second installment.
Formerly known as the Johnny Cake Lane Spring Series, the race was renamed in 2007 in honor of state Trooper David Brinkerhoff, a Coxsackie resident who died in the line of duty at age 29 from a gunshot wound he sustained in a shootout with a suspect April 25, 2007.
The race is hosted each year by the Capital Bicycle Racing Club. The memorial race series was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was delayed until June in 2021 with the status of the pandemic in flux. The event is typically held in April and is considered one of the premier early-spring racing series in the Northeast. It typically draws cyclists from all over the East Coast and Quebec.
There was steady rain Saturday morning on the first day of the two-day race, but cyclists still hit the course that winds through Coxsackie and Athens for several 12-mile loops.
Field A athletes — the most experienced — compete along a 62-mile route. Field B cyclists complete a 50-mile loop and those in Field C cycle for 38 miles.
Female athletes compete in Field D, a 38-mile loop. The field open to only female athletes was created in 2021 for the first time in the race series’ history to encourage more female entrants.
“Women have sometimes been reluctant to race in these races and felt they would like to compete against each other, so we are trying it out,” race co-organizer Tom Gordon from the Capital Bicycle Racing Club said in June 2021 when the all-female field was created. “There are a lot of women out there who are riding and riding very well. We are hoping this brings more women into racing.”
This year was the second time the all-women’s field competed.
The second day of competition will take place on Saturday, April 23, and is open to all. Registration is required prior to the day of the race at www.bikereg.com. No race-day registration will be permitted.
The race route includes flat areas and hills. Entry fees for adult racers is $50. Junior racers pay a $10 preregistration fee that will be refunded if they start the race.
The starting line is from near the Coxsackie-Athens High School campus and travels south on Johnny Cake Lane and Adams Road in Coxsackie to Route 385, where it heads south toward Union Street in the village of Athens. Racers then travel west on Union Street to Farm-to-Market Road, returning north to the beginning of the route.
Racers complete the 12-mile loop in three to five laps, depending on experience and ability.
Local roads are not closed for the race but traffic is delayed briefly as competitors pass through. Police officers and race officials are stationed along the route at busy or fast intersections to ensure racers’ safety.
Each year the race donates funds to several local charitable organizations including the annual David Brinkerhoff Scholarship Fund at Coxsackie-Athens High School.