Meidhof wins Smithsburg Road Race on Day 1 of Tour of Washington County

June 15, 2013|By BRETT NIEVES |

SMITHSBURG — Jason Meidhof was able to outlast scores of other riders and took first place in Saturday’s Smithsburg Road Race as part of the 2013 Tour of Washington County.

“It was a competitive field,” Meidhof said after his victory. “This is one of few local stage races that brings out the best guys in the area, so to get a good result here is very exciting.”

Meidhof competed in the Pro I, II, III group that had 100 riders take the road. The group started the race at Smithsburg High School shortly after 1 p.m. and did 10 laps — 64 miles total — around the Smithsburg area before finishing up back at the high school.

This wasn’t Meidhof’s first time competing in the Smithsburg Road Race. He participated last year, with a much less favorable result.

“It didn’t go as well last year,” Meidhof admitted. “But honestly, my goal for last year was to win a Master’s World Championship and when I got there, I won every medal except the one I wanted. So this whole year, anytime I have an opportunity to win, I want to take it.”

A race like this one is bound to have its rigors and Meidhof, a native of Bethesda, Md., who rides for Clean Current by Beyer Kia, had some tough stretches in his win.

He pinpointed the final 100 meters as maybe the toughest stretch of the race because the riders had to pedal up the steep Smithsburg/Leitersburg Road hill, which begins at the entrance of Smithsburg’s Whispering Hills housing development and doesn’t crest until the high school entrance.

In addition to the final hill, Meidhof said getting to the lead group during the course of the race was another tall task.

“There were two breaks up the road with the lead group and a group in between,” Meidhof said. “I left the field to bridge the second group because I had a teammate there. From there, we bridged up to the lead group, which was probably the hardest part.”

Race director Joseph Jefferson said the weather couldn’t have been better for the event.

“You can’t ask for a better day,” said Jefferson. “The temperature is down, the humidity is down and we have the maximum number of racers allowed.”

Jefferson also spoke of the success the event has had over the years and how rare it is to have such a race in the area.

“Other people have tried to put together stage races like we have, but none of them have had the success that we’ve had. We have the elite people here year in and year out and the riders really, really love it,” Jefferson said. “If I were to stop doing this race, people would probably want to set me on fire.”

The Tour of Washington County continues Sunday with the Boonsboro Time Trial at 7 a.m., followed by the Williamsport Criterium, slated to start with the Women’s Open at 11:15 a.m.

The Pro I, II, III group’s Criterium is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

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