Bobby Lea knows it wasn't the best of finishes for him at the 2012 Tour of Somerville on Monday.
"The result wasn't that great, but I think the race itself was pretty good for me," the cyclist from Topton said as he pondered an 84th-place finish overall in the 50-mile Kugler-Anderson Memorial Tour of Somerville, often referred to as the Kentucky Derby of cycling. "I managed to slip into a small group that broke away with 17 [laps] to go, and we weren't caught until three to go. Fitness-wise, it was a good indicator that I'm on track for the Games."
"The Games," of course, are the 2012 London Olympic Games. Lea is expecting to be officially nominated to the U.S. team — for the second straight Olympics — on June 15, coincidently the same night the World Series of Bicycling kicks off at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown.
The 28-year-old Lea, who rides for Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA, has been trying to train smartly on the road to London, not wanting to peak too early or too often. He competed in the USA Crits series in Wilmington, N.C., earlier this month, and in the Speed Week series at the end of April and beginning of May in Georgia and South Carolina.
On Sunday, he'll be competing in the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship along with Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA teammate Mike Chauner, joining forces with Sweden's Cykelcity.SE pro team.
After that, he plans to race exclusively in Pennsylvania and at the Valley preferred Cycling Center as he tapers toward the Games in August.
"It's always fun to race in Philly," Lea said. "It's more or less my hometown race. The years I missed it have been kind of a bummer. I've been watching that race every year since 1996 or 1997, so it's always something special to line up and do that race."
The Swedish team arrived in the U.S. on Tuesday night, and Lea isn't meeting with them until Friday.
"I don't really know what to expect for my role," he admitted. "Those guys have been banking some pretty impressive results in Europe, so I'm sure they'll have a pretty detailed game plan as to what they want Mike and me to do. For me, I'm happy to do anything to help the team. It's a great opportunity for Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA.
Somerville stars: Laura Van Gilder, the 48-year-old cyclist from Cresco, continues to add to her amazing racing legend. She finished second in the women's race at the Tour of Somerville, ahead of such regional stars as 21-year-old Mary Costelloe (Alliance Environmental) of Emmaus (sixth), 21-year-old Colleen Gulick (Pure Air Cycling-ProAirHFA) of Spring City (seventh), 17-year-old Melissa Garcia (Alliance Environmental) of Bethlehem (11th) and 21-year-old Mandy Marquardt (Team Type 1-SANOFI) of Breinigsville (17th).
Greg Ratzell, a 17-year-old from Blandon racing for the local Young Medalists/Team Rothrock, won the junior men's race, with teammate Christopher Meachem of Jamison fourth. Team Alliance Environmental's Tyler Nothstein of Orefield, 17, placed 11th, the highest of any Cat. 4 rider in the junior race. Zachary Houlik, a 17-year-old from Bethlehem also riding for Young Medalists, placed 15th.
Philly fun on Sunday: The 28th annual TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship features not only the men's race, but the women's Liberty Classic, and Van Gilder has always been a threat in that race, despite concentrating more on cyclo-cross the last few years.
The Liberty Classic is a 57.6-mile race with laps over two different layouts along the men's main course. A total of 163 of the world's top pro women cyclists are registered for the race, which kicks off at 10:55 a.m.
The men's race commences at 10:45 a.m. on a shorter version of the original, traditional race in order to make room for the new Bicycling Magazine Open for amateurs and non-racing cycling enthusiasts, whose ride through the course, including the famed Manayunk Wall, begins at 7 a.m.
Alex's Lemonade ride: There aren't many among us who haven't been touched by the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation's campaign started by four-year-old Alexandra "Alex" Scott with her front-yard lemonade stand in 2000 to help raise money to find a cure for pediatric cancer. Alex died as an eight-year-old in 2004, but her cause lives on in the foundation and the annual nationwide three-day Lemonade Days, which will be held June 8-10 this year, and an annual 5K run, which will be held Nov. 11 this year.
New this year, however, is the first annual Lemon Ride Bicycle tour from Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown at 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday, July 22. The family-friendly event includes rides of 12, 26 and 50 miles.
"With the success of our annual Lemon Run 5K and our Team Lemon athletic program, we felt it was only a matter of time before we delved into cycling events," said Jay Scott, Alex's father and the co-executive director of the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. "We are thrilled to host the first annual Lemon Ride this summer to further the opportunities for athletes to join the battle against childhood cancer."
The ride is $65 per person, but just $34 for children under 12. The day's events include lunch, snacks and a limited edition T-shirt, along with SAG (support and gear) support on the ride.
For more information on the ride, or to volunteer, go online to http://www.alexslemonade.org/lemonRide.