H. W. Squires
When Foster, the Olympic, started on the tenth and last relay he had a lead of 1 min. 8 sec. over H. W. Squires, Acme, 1:48 over Wells, Bay City, 2:48 over Ziegler Jr., Garden City, and 6:24 over McFarland, San Jose Road Club. He was off like a shot from the starting point, near San Leandro, and it seemed to be all over with the other clubs; surely the other riders could not catch the mighty Foster, who had been champion of the coast for so many years and who was said to be in splendid racing condition.
But they did catch him - four of them - and he was a beaten man when he and Squires fell near the tape, Wells left the ninth relay ten seconds behind Squires and caught him in no time.
Ziegler had them in sight when he started and kept them there, gradually gaining until he caught up. Then they set out for Foster, and how they flew over the ground, past San Leandro and along the county road, beside the electric road tracks. They aided each other by exchanging pace continually, a great advantage over Foster, who was riding alone and unpaced.
Soon they had him in sight and kept drawing nearer and nearer. Foster must have thought he was further ahead than he actually was, for he did not ride at his top speed any of the time.
Just as he was passing the electric road power-house he heard a whirr of wheels behind him. What was his astonishment on glancing around to see Wells, Ziegler and Squires. It must have surprised him greatly. They were badly winded and dead tired, but they were there, nevertheless, and he realized he could never leave such riders as they behind; he would have to depend on beating them out in a spurt at the finish.
From that point on the pace was very slow. Foster would not set a hot pace - it would not be advisable - and the other three were too tired to do much more than hang on just then. They were playing for time to rest and catch their breaths, as it were, and so the four loafed along turning down High street, at Fruitvale, toward Alameda.
As they turned into Central avenue, Alameda, McFarland caught up to them. He had made a grand ride all the way, and their slow pace toward the end had enabled him to join the leaders.
He would have been a big factor at the finish, but his chain slipped off his wheel about a mile from the finish, and he was out of it. He borrowed another wheel from a gentleman named Thompson of THE CALL Bicycle Club, who was nearby, but could not catch the leaders before they finished, though he was only a few seconds behind.
Central avenue, Alameda, offers a splendid course for the finish of such an event as the annual relay race. For two miles from where the turn is made into it down to the crossing of Grand street, the finishing point, it is level, smooth and perfectly straight. Down this elegant boulevard Foster, Wells, Squires and Ziegler flew, neck and neck, racing like mad, for all desire to loaf had left them, now that the finish was near, and they rode as if for their lives.
Down the avenue they came, cheered by the thousands upon thousands of people who lined the roadway. About two blocks from the finish the positions were: Ziegler leading, Squires to his right a few inches back, Wells to his left, and Foster back of them all, very close up. He decided to steal a march on the other three, and, thinking there was room to pass between Ziegler and Squires, started to do so. His front wheel showed through all right, but his pedals would not pass. They clinched with Squires' rear wheel, and in a second both went down with a terrible crash. Their wheels were wrecked and both riders were terribly bruised. Ziegler was ahead and escaped the smashup, and Wells on the outside got clear in time. These two never slackened their pace, and Wells, gradually gaining on Ziegler, beat him a couple of feet at the finish in as pretty and close a ride as has ever been seen in California.
Rider. Club. Time. Actual
1 C. S. Wells Bay City 1:56:12 35:24 2 Otto Ziegler Jr. Garden C 1:56:13 34:25 3 F. A. McFarland San Jose 1:56:25 31:01 4 William Yeoman Reliance 2:00:16 32:32 5 F. M. Byrne Imperial 2:03:04 32:52 6 George Hamlin San Fran 2:03:13 32:25 7 H. Egeberg California 2:05:09 33:45 8 C. A. Park Alameda Did not finish. 9 W. F. Foster Olympic collid'd nr tape 10 H. W. Squires Acme and did not fin. Fastest time - 1894, 32:05; 1895, 28:01.
What the result would have been had Squires and Foster not fallen, may be in doubt, but it is probable that as Wells beat out Ziegler, he could have done the same to them, for they are surely no faster, if as fast as the little San Jose champion.
Foster and Squires were carried to the clubrooms of the Alameda cyclers, where their bruises were dressed, and they then went home. Wells was carried high on the shoulders of his delighted clubmates down the avenue, while the enthusiastic crowd cheered the popular Bay City rider again and again.
McFarland finished soon after Wells, and Yeoman, Reliance, next. The others came straggling in several minutes later.
The Acme Club of Oakland will protest against awarding the race to the Bay City Club, A meeting was held last night and it was decided that a protest should be made on account of the foul between Squires and Foster. Captain Swain of the Acme Wheelmen states the matter thus:
"Within two blocks of the finish Foster fouled Squires, and there are a good many who think it was not altogether accidental. According to the rules, Foster should have attempted to pass Squires on the outside, and should not have attempted to go between him and Ziegler. When Foster struck Squires, the Acme man was leading, and as Foster was completely used up, the race was a possibility for Squires. As soon as the foul occurred the crowd swarmed around and Squires could not remount or do anything. I have been told that it looked as though Foster had reckoned on Squires falling the other way and fouling Ziegler, leaving the route clear for himself, but Squires fell to the right and upset Foster."
The Garden City cyclers will also protest the race and the awarding of the trophy to the Bay City Wheelmen, for two reasons, first: The alleged faulty exchange of the Bay City packet without the prescribed limits, at the end of the sixth relay, and second: on the grounds that Krafts who rode the second relay for the Bay Citys, has not been a member of that club sixty days, a provision of the Associated Club's by-laws. The first ground of protest is untenable, and the second the Bay Citys claim they can satisfactorily established. But the fact remains that their men won the great race on their own speed and ability, and protests worry them but little. The association road racing committee will hear the protests this week. The Olympics claim to have a complaint against Squires, Acme, for fooling Foster, but they are too sportsmanlike to file it.