BRL track cycling registrations open now

Who cares that it was 19 degrees at 7 a.m. on Thursday?

Marty Nothstein, the Olympic gold medalist and executive director for the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, was generating enough heat with his enthusiasm to power the soon-to-open PPL Arena in downtown Allentown.

The World Series of Bicycling, the venue's international professional track cycling series, doesn't start until June 6, but there are other events on the horizon that warm Nothstein's heart each time they take place.

The Red Robin Marty Nothstein Bicycle Racing League for budding cyclists ages 9-16 has extended its registration deadline to Friday, April 11. Introductory practices for new riders begin the week of April 7, and team practices begin the week of April 14.

"The program has been increasing in popularity every year," said Nothstein, who joins in on coaching the five teams that practice, compete in scrimmages against each other, and then compete as teams against each other in standings. The culmination of the spring league is competing in the Red Robin Marty Nothstein BRL All-Star Finals under the Saturday night lights on June 28 as part of the international professional racing.

"It's important to sign up early and pick your time slots because there is a limited amount of equipment to go around," said Nothstein. "We're really focused on beginners, and there is no doubt this is the best introduction to track cycling racing in the country."

The program, which caps out at 150 participants for safety and equipment reasons, has produced U.S. Olympians for the past several Olympics, including Lauren Franges Tamayo, who won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Nothstein, who is also a product of BRL, said he that participants receive USA Cycling-certified coaching from people like Bob Biese and current racer Colleen Hayduk.

Registration is $75 per rider with a maximum of $150 per family, and includes professional certified coaching, track time, use of track bikes and helmets, a pro-style team jersey and a $25 Red Robin gift card at the program's conclusion.

You can register online at http://www.bikereg.com/2014-spring-brl or call the velodrome at 610-395-7000 for more information.

The popular Spring Velofest has changed its date from a Saturday to a Sunday this year. The event, one of the largest cycling and fitness-related product festivals in the country, will take place Sunday, May 4.

People can buy everything from new and used bikes and clothing to shoes, helmets, hear rate monitors and more.

"What it came down to is that we kept hearing from the major manufacturers and our vendors is that Saturdays in the spring are huge days for them, and they count on that business," Nothstein explained. "It was hard for them to justify shutting down on a Saturday to commit to VeloFest.

"The Sunday idea seems to be a popular one for the manufacturers and vendors,"

he said, adding that the facility expects more than 200 vendors and 3,000 people to attend, no matter the weather.

The VPCC will also be hosting the Philadelphia region's SHAPE Diva Dash women's 5K obstacle course race 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13. It is the first-ever Diva Dash in Pennsylvania.

For more information and to register, go online to http://www.divadash.com. Click on "Cities," to select Philadelphia.

Emmaus Run Inn chips in: The Emmaus Run Inn (formerly Finish Line) is trying to help out its HOKA shoe rep, Jerome Myers, whose family lost all their possessions in a recent house fire.

Through April 12, the store is collecting clothing and toys for the family, which includes a girl, 6, and boys ages 2, 4 and 8. The little girl loves princesses while the boys prefer superheroes and action figures.

There are other promotions in the store as well, but the shop will also host a prediction run Saturday, April 12 after the shop closes at 5:30, with the donations going to the Myers family. Prizes for the runner include Emmaus Run Inn gift cards. The race will begin and end at Volpe's restaurant in Emmaus.

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