There was excitement around each bend during Frederick's Clustered Spires High Wheel Race on Saturday as spectators nearly continuously lined the sidewalks along the 0.4 mile track on Market, Second, Record and Church Streets.
The one-hour race featured 24 riders from nine states.
It is the only race of its kind in the United States, and one of four in the world, organizers said.
For Emily Edwards, of Frederick, it was her first time seeing the event and she set up to watch and take photos near the start line at Brewer's Alley, which sponsored the event.
“It sounded fun and a little different,” she said. A few laps into the race, she got an unexpected shower from a rider who was trying to splash his friends and family, standing nearby, with his water cup. It was all in good fun, Edwards said.
Across the street, a crowd of 20 friends and family cheered on Thomas, W.Va., resident and Brunswick native Rob Stull. Stull was inspired by the race last year to purchase his first high wheel bicycle.
“It's been very exciting. We're so proud,” said his wife, Shannon McCann, as she gathered homemade poster boards at the end of the race.
Around the first turn, Barbara and Fritz Bowers had set up lawn chairs in a shady spot after driving in from Hagerstown to see the event.
“It's great. I like being part of such a new experience,” Fritz Bowers said.
Around the second turn, on Record Street, a group of friends gathered with wine and pretzels on Diane Daugherty's raised front porch. She also held the watch party of sorts last year, she said.
“You just want to share this with everyone because it's such a unique event,” she said. “It's wonderful. The riders are all very friendly and informative.”
Two riders from Frederick took part in the race: Nick Ackermann and Neil Sandler. There were eight other riders from Maryland.
Matt Thomas traveled the farthest, coming from Las Vegas.
Alison Torpey, of Louisville, Ky., wearing a vibrant purple and green shirt and waving to spectators, made a return to the course after having to be flown to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore after a crash during last year's race. Torpey suffered a skull fracture, bleeding on the brain, several fractured ribs and a small fracture to her cheek last year.
This year, one rider, Rick Stumpff of Galena, Mo., was taken by ambulance for medical treatment after a two-person crash at the corner of Record and Church streets. Stumpff, who won the race last year and holds the course record for completing 42 laps in one hour, was in the lead at the time. He likely suffered a broken collar bone, but returned to the course to see the end of the race, organizer Eric Rhodes said.
“He told me, 'I love this race, and I had to see how it ended,'” Rhodes said.
It ended with wins by Brian Caron, of Hagerstown, who completed 40 laps, and Sheryl Kennedy, also of Hagerstown, who completed 38 laps. Kennedy was also the women's winner last year, having completed 37 laps then.
It was also a day of celebration for Justin Iungerich and Amy Rossig. The couple's wedding ceremony was held at Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ at 4 p.m., just as the race began. As Amy Rossig entered the church, she was cheered by the crowd. When she emerged as Amy Iungerich a short time later, she was met with a saber arch by Justin's military colleagues and with cheers and flashbulbs from the crowd.
“We're in tons of photos,” Amy Iungerich laughed.
“It's definitely very memorable,” her new husband added.
Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines.