SPEEDING WHEELMEN. - San Francisco Chronicle, 29 Apr 1894

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Auspicious Opening of the Meeting.

Exciting Races on the New Track.
Zeigler, the "Little Demon,” Wins the Quarter Dash Handily.

The opening of the Midwinter Fair bicycle track at the Recreation Grounds yesterday afternoon was an event that will long be remembered as one of the most successful and interesting bicycle race meetings ever held on the Pacific Coast. The track is one of the best ever built, and the racers declared themselves delighted with it. They say that many a record will be broken before the series of races inaugurated yesterday is over. The slopes on the turns were built on strictly scientific principles, so that when rounding them at a high speed the rider is balanced practically the same as he would be on a straight-away course, and in consequence he does not have to slow up a particle, nor does he have occasion to fear a fall.

The programme prepared for yesterday was a good one all through, and brought together the very best riders on the coast. Out of the 127 entries, fully 100 of them appeared in the lists and rode for glory and medals. While no records were broken some very fast time was made and some hot and exciting races ridden. A rather heavy west wind prevailed during the early part of the afternoon, which held the riders down on the starts and finishes, and this was probably the only thing that saved some of the records. All of the athletes showed up in splendid form, particularly the San Jose contingent. Little Zeigler, the Garden City "demon," turned up in his usual fine racing condition, and carried off the quarter-mile in good style. Fox, the Los Angeles wonder, was rather unlucky during the day. He invariably got into a bad place in his races, and in one instance was somewhat over-handicapped.

Previous to the races the bicycle contingent had a street parade on their wheels. They formed in line on New Montgomery street in front of the Palace and then proceeded in double column up Market street. There were over 200 of them in line, all in uniform and with their wheels gayly decorated presenting quite an attractive appearance. The procession turned out Golden Gate avenue and went thence to the Park and Exposition grounds. After some pretty maneuvering about the Grand Court the wheelmen proceeded to the Recreation Grounds, where the day's sport soon began.


The first event on the programme was a mile novice race. Five racers lined up for the first heat, Fred Day and G. A. Nissen of the Bay City Wheelmen; C. H. Williams, unattached; A. Theisen of the California Cycling Club and F. C. Heinemann of the Young Men's Christian Association. At the crack of Starter Plummer's pistol Heinemann went to the the front and took the pole, with Nissen close behind him and the other three on even terms at Nissen's rear wheel. The men kept in these positions without indulging in any spurting throughout the first and second laps. It was on the last lap however that the struggle began. Heinemann tried to maintain his lead, but found Nissen too fast and had to give way to him, but not to the others. At the finish Heinemann was in second place. The time of the heat was 2:43 4-5.

The second and third heats were merged into one, the following riders coming to the scratch: A. W. Small and G. W. Simpson of the Bay Citys; C. Emlay of the Reliance Club; Lester Cotton and J. A. Howard, Acme Club; John Scully, San Jose Road Club; and William H. Haley of the Olympics. This heat was a slower one than the first, but it was infinitely more exciting. Haley, the Olympic beginner, was a great favorite, and he was cheered lustily when he put on a spurt now and then during the race. On the last lap he rushed by the other contestants with a tremendous burst of speed that rattled one of them so badly that he fell off his wheel. Howard, the Acme rider, happened to be behind the one who fell, and, caroming on him, executed a lofty somersault. Both were considerably bruised and scratched, and were taken to the emergency hospital for treatment. Haley continued his spurt to the finishing mark, winning the race easily. Scully came in second and Cotton third. Time, 2:52 2-5

The final heat of the novices was the best of the three. The starters were Haley, Heinemann, Scully, Nissen, Cotton and Emlay. The boys "soldiered" during the first two laps, each intent upon saving himself for a Garrison finish. Heinemann led the way, with the others bunched close behind him, until the last half of the last lap was reached. Then there was a simultaneous burst of speed by all. Haley dashed to the front and the others tried their utmost to overtake him, but in vain. It was a very close finish, Haley winning the heat and the race by about a foot from Heinemann, and the latter getting second place by scarcely more than an inch from Nissen. The time of the heat was 2:54 1-5.

The quarter-mile dash was the next event, and proved one of the best features of the programme. This is the distance that always brings about an exciting race, as it is so short that the riders do not dare to hold back for the finish, but, on the contrary, must do their utmost from the crack of the pistol. The first heat brought W. A. Terrill and Emile Languetin of the Bay Citys, J. E. Alexander of the Garden Citys, Lou C. Putnam of the Humboldt County Wheelmen, and Oscar Osen of the San Jose Road Club. The men went off in a bunch with little advantage to any of them. Every head was lowered and every pedal was going as fast as it could be revolved. Terrill showed his old-time speed again, and went to the front before the eighth pole was reached. He was never headed after that. He even slowed up when nearing the finish, and passed over the tape grinning. Alexander got second place. The time made by Terrill was 33 3-5 seconds.

The second heat brought the celebrities. Those who lined up were Otto Zeigler, the San Jose "demon"; W. J. Edwards of the Garden Citys, L. W. Fox, the Los Angeles crack and Bob Long of the Olympic Club. Everybody looked for a great race between Zeigler and Fox in this heat, for there has been a question for some time as to which of them is the faster rider. In this heat the "little demon" certainly demonstrated that he is a star quarter-mile man. Fox did not show to advantage at all, getting off badly and being unable to leave the rear rank all the way to the finish. Edwards took the lead at the start and held it about half way. At this point little Zeigler laid over his handle bar and inaugurated a spurt that made the others appear to have let up. He went by Edwards like a shot on the east bank and widened the breach considerably coming down the homestretch. It was a sensational performance and thoroughly characteristic of this celebrated little racer. His time was 32 4-5 seconds, Edwards Was second. Fox came in fourth.

The final heat was done in much slower time than the second, but was not devoid of interest. The race from start to finish was between Zeigler and Terrill, the Others not cutting a great figure in the contest. Both the "Demon" and Terrill got off behind the others, but in a twinkling they had passed them, Zeigler cutting the pace. He did not repeat the exhibition speed he had given in the previous heat, but gauged himself at a speed he considered sufficient to beat Terrili out. He came near making a mistake on this proposition, however. In the homestretch Terrill went after the San Jose man like a shot, and came very near passing him. Had he but inaugurated his spurt a couple of seconds earlier, he might have won the race, although Zeigler is not the kind to be caught napping in that manner as a general rule. Zeigler's time was 34 seconds. Terrill was awarded the second prize, which his friends considered quite a winning, when it is remembered that the local rider went against the very best men in the State.

The mile handicap, which was next on the programme, was another good race all through the four heats that were run. In the first heat the contestants were Oscar Osen and J. Scully of the San Jose Road Club, J. Sampson of the Acmes, C. F. Gates and E. Bellman of the California Cycling Club, Edwards of the Garden Cities. Wells of the Bay Cities and C. Gilbert of the Oakland Young Mens Christian Association. Edwards was the scratch man, but he found himself unequal to the task of overhauling the racers that were strung out ahead of him, and quit after riding half a mile. There was a close finish between Osen and Gilbert for first place, the former winning by a foot. He was given a handicap of eighty-five yards, while Gilbert had 175 yards. The time of the heat 2:28 1-5.

Foster, the Olympic Club crack, Terrill, Languetin and Needham of the Garden Citys, Pickard of the Acmes, Hall of the Bay Citys And Simpson, unattached, lined up for the second heat. Foster was the scratch man and did some great work, heading off all but Pickard, Terrill and Hall. The latter proved a little too strong for him. Pickard came in first, Terril second and Hall third. Time, 2:20 4-5.

In the third heat Zeigler was to have been the scratch man, but he withdrew. C. F. Lemmon of the [[Oakland Young Men's Christian Association]], who had a 175-yard handicap, won the heat in 2:24; H. V. Ready of the Bay Citys, with 125 yards, came in second and J. W. Harvey of the Californias, with 160 yards, was third.


For the final heat Wells, Terrill, Languetin, Gilbert, Osen and Hall took their respective places, according to the original handicaps. Terrill was looked upon as a sure winner and made a beautiful race, but the best be could do was to get third place. Languetin, at 90 yards, and Gilbert at 175, rode a dead heat for first place. They were ordered out for another heat for first and second places, and to the surprise of every body tied once more. Again were they ordered to try conclusions. Languetin, although considerably handicapped, quickly closed the gap between them and at the beginning of the last lap made a spurt which landed him ten yards in advance of Gilbert. But be did not take into consideration that the latter had bis share of strength left. Gilbert indulged in a burst of speed which placed him on even terms with his competitor, then the prettiest struggle of the meeting took place in the homestretch. It looked as if there was to be another dead heat, but just as the tape was reached Gilbert with a desperate effort threw his wheel forward and won the race by less than five inches. There was considerable excitement over this match and great cheering followed Gilbert's victory.

The two-mile handicap was not divided into heats, as had been originally intended. Zeigler, Fox and Foster went on the scratch, and the others were strung out ahead of them at distances varying from ninety to 290 yards. Foster did the best work of the scratch nen, but he could not do better than capture third place. Osen, who had 160 yards start, came in first, and T. A. Griffiths, 115 yards, second. This was the fastest race of the day, the time made being 5:01 2-5. The Coast record is 5:01.

There was a race for boys under 16 years of age during the day, which was won by Ernest P. Therein; Thomas Hazelton was second. A long-legged youth who looked to be 19 years of age squeezed into the race and came in last. The attendance at the grounds was larger even than was expected, the grandstand being well filled, and Festival Hall steps, as well as other points of vantage, crowded.