from left: team Tolsdorf Oil Lube Express (left to right): Maia Tolsdorf, Chris Tolsdorf, Steve Johnson and Vince Zimmerman. Seated on trike: Rob Johnson; Team Kelly’s Sports (left to right): Steven Kelly, Jeff DiSciullo, Jamie Cashin and Erin Diskin. Seated on trike: Jesse Baldwin.//photos by Karl Richeson and Robyn Wood
“I’m still a little suspicious about the event sponsor winning last year,” jokes Steven Kelly, Jr., vice president of Kelly’s Sports. “I definitely think it was a fix.”
Last year, Tolsdorf Oil Lube Express took the victory in the first running of the Twilight Trike Challenge at the 10th Annual Iron Hill Twilight Race Series.
Chris Tolsdorf was having none of it.
“As the champions I guess we should have expected those sorts of accusations,” kids Tolsdorf, president of Tolsdorf Oil Lube Express. “Our victory was hard fought and well earned. I guess some people just look for any excuse to excuse their loss.”
With the gauntlet thrown down, expect some serious racing and good-natured fun as many local businesses and organizations field five-person teams in a series of eliminations on oversized tricycles. Participation has nearly doubled since last, from 13 teams to 24 set to compete this year.
While the desire for victory between these two teams is real, the trash talking is all in good fun.
“We’re out for blood this year,” says Kelly, who had an emphatic warning for anyone entering this year’s race. “You better avoid going head-to-head with Kelly’s Sports because it’s a guaranteed loss for you!”
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Both Tolsdorf and Kelly were amazed at just how demanding the trike race proved to be. “It was surprisingly hard,” says Tolsdorf, “because you find your knees up in the handlebars.” Of course, his 6-foot-7-inch stature may have also been a contributing factor.
“I thought we were going to be riding Big Wheels,” says Kelly, who was surprised by the heft of the adult-sized trikes. “Those things are really heavy. And once they got moving, it was hard to slow them down, which made the hand-off a real challenge.”
Like any relay race, it is in the hand-off that victory is often decided. Both teams had their own approach to this critical area. “A good hand-off is one that doesn’t involve swinging the trike into the shins of your teammate,” suggests Tolsdorf. Kelly’s team incorporated a bit more choreography: “We had the rider get off on the left side of the bike, with the next rider standing on the right, ready to immediately jump on. Once we started doing that, we became a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, it took the first three races to come up with that strategy, so it cost us big time,” says Kelly.
While most riders have their own special dietary regimen on the day of an important race, trike racing seems to instill a much more cavalier attitude among its participants. “One of our guys claims he eats nothing but animal crackers before the competition,” says Kelly. “But not me. After the race last year, I was so hungry I ate a big juicy burger.”
Tolsdorf is more concerned with becoming re-hydrated after his ride. “Since the Iron Hill Twilight Race Day Series is sponsored by our local brewery, that’s where I plan to head. It’s also a great place to catch the rest of the day’s racing excitement.”
If you want to challenge these trash-talking teams, time is still on your side. Go to ironhilltwilightcriterium.com and sign up.