2019 Rodale Corporate Challenge Set for Friday, August 9 in Trexlertown, PA
Valley Preferred is sponsoring the 2019 Rodale Corporate Challenge, and two teams bearing its name will be racing. The teams include Populytics and Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) riders. That gives the August 9 bicycle race at the nationally known Velodrome in Trexlertown, PA three organizational dimensions.
If you’re wondering why anyone would even get on a bike without brakes, and speed around the sloping concrete track at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, Sallie Urffer, co-captain for this year’s two Valley Preferred cycling teams, has an answer. It’s all about “communication, keeping your head up, and letting go of fear,” she says. That’s what worked for her when she rode with the first team in 2007.
“Participating in the Corporate Challenge the first year launched my career,” says Urffer. “I now coach all the teams at Valley Preferred Cycling Center, and travel the nation working high-level track events. It all started with having the opportunity to race in the Corporate Challenge.”
Riding with Valley Preferred amateur teams is a substantial commitment. Throughout July and August, the teams test themselves in practices two hours at a time, twice a week. Co-captain Angelo Procaccino, who has been in the race every year since inception (his wife Kimberly for nine out of 10 years), says that staying with it has just helped him ride better every time.
Valley Preferred's cycling team won first place in the 2018 Rodale Corporate Challenge. Accepting their award, team riders from left are: Jed Detrick, Debra Gerow, Scott Higgins, Carrie Olsen, Aaron Czysz, and Angelo Procaccino.
“Every race is different,” says Procaccino. “The dynamics and skills of the riders, the weather, the crowd – it all comes together to create a unique experience. For that reason, and the fact that we’re going maybe 30 miles-per-hour on a bike, keeps it exciting every year.”
As is the usual format for the Corporate Challenge, local company employees compete against one another in a six-lap relay. Team times are recorded and the top two teams meet in the final showdown. As the sun sets on race night and bright lights illuminate the circling riders in a blur of color, fellow colleagues, family, and friends cheer them on, raising adrenalin to a fever pitch. This event will mark the 13th year Valley Preferred has participated, and riders have a sterling record of bringing home prizes every year so far. In 2018, they came in first!
If you’ve never seen a bicycle race, make sure this is the year you do. Track racing is a thrill a second and a great way to spend a summer evening. If you know what it’s like it is to watch a race, come out and reinforce the cycling center in its continuing commitment to local, national, and international bicycle racing.
Note: This year, professional riders are gathering points for the 2020 Olympic Games, to be held in Tokyo. Visit the races and you may see a champion in the making!