PHOENIXVILLE - On the heels of West Chester's successful Iron Hill Twilight Criterium, Phoenixville is ready for huge crowds for its own race, the Chesco Grand Prix Phoenixville Criterium.

'Last year there were hundreds of people,' said Borough Councilwoman Jen Mayo, who is set to volunteer in support of the race again. 'This year, we're expecting much more.'

In its second year, the race will bring bikers from across the region and country, according to borough council meetings on the planning.

Mayo said planning for the event has gone on for almost a year, starting shortly after the inaugural race was held.

With multiple races set for Thursday, the Criterium will stand as an unofficial kickoff to the weekend's Blobfest.

'We'll get more local and national recognition from the bikers and riders,' Mayo said.

The first race, the Women's 1/2/3, begins at 5 p.m. and the final race, the Men's 1/2 starts at 7:10 p.m.

Bicyclists will begin at the Kiwanis Club of Phoenixville Children's Plaza on Bridge Street, head down to Starr Street, turn right, move up to Church Street, continue down to Gay Street, then back onto Bridge Street to complete the circuit.

Mayo said she believes the circuit is better this year.

'Even though it will be affecting more of the downtown, I think that the fans will be able to see more of the downtown shops and businesses, especially,' she said.

The race will be a nice shot in the arm for borough businesses.

'It definitely will bring business to town,' Mayo said. 'Hopefully we'll get some folks into the restaurants and the downtown stores on a usual off night.'

Volunteers are critical to the race and Mayo said she's still looking for help.

Those interested can contact her at her through her borough council email at

Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.

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