The Wheel. - San Francisco Chronicle, 09 Jul 1888
[Official Organ L. A. W.]
The time for closing the election of division officers has been extended to August 15th. When it was decided to postpone the election last spring the time selected was from the 1stt to 15th July, but at the meeting of the national body in Baltimore in June last it was decided to hold the election so provided in the new constitution then adopted, namely, from July 15th to August 15th.
It was supposed in California that the election would be held as originally provided - from July 1st to 15th - and preparations were made accordingly. Nominations were inade and ballots sent out by candidates. The only effect of the change, however, will be to postpone the counting of the vote until the 15th of August.
The division racing board has accepted the two-mile record of 6:10 4-5, made by F. D. Elwell at Oakland on 9th June last. Scarcely has this decision been reached when the board is called upon to consider a new record at this distance, made at Stockton on July 4th.
Rarely has there been an opportunity to enjoy a more satisfactory day's sport than that offered by the races held in connection with the annual meet of the California Division, League of American Wheelmen, at Stockton on July 4th last. The great 'cycling tournaments of England and America have at times brought together men of greater renown, but never were races contested in more sportsmanlike manner, or with such assurance that in every case it was the best man who won. Four existing coast records, namely, the half, the one, the two and the three-mile, were lowered, and it was shown that we have a number of men able to ride the mile under three minutes.
The first event on the programme, a quarter-mile dash, brought out Allen of the Los Angeles Wheelmen, Ireland of the Alameda Scorchers and Smythe of the Bay City Wheelmen. Allen won very handily in 40 1-5 seconds, failing, however, to reduce the existing Pacific coast record for that distance, 37 2-5 seconds, made by F. R. Cook at San Jose, May 16, 1885.
For the one-mile novices, O. C. Haslett, Alameda Scorchers, J. E. Hickenbotham, A. L. Wulff and J. H. Read, all of the Oak Leaf Wheelmen, come to the scratch. Hickenbotham won in 2:58, with Wulff second and Haslett third.
Next came the one-mile state championship. This is regarded by wheelmen much us the Derby is by horsemen - the blue ribbon event of the year. It is always reserved for the division meet, for then it is assured that the best men will be brought together, and the man who wins can clearly lay claim to the title of champion at this distance. Out of a field of six entries Elwell of the Bay City Wheelmen, Davis of the San Francisco Bicycle Club, Wing of the Los Angeles Wheelmen, and Toll of the Capital City Wheelmen, faced the starter. Toll was soon out of the race, while the other three rode weil bunched, with Wing setting a good, hot pace. When the bell rang signalling the last lap, the pace grow hotter, until, on entering the homestretch, a terrific struggle for supremacy ensued. Elwell shot to the front, closely pressed by Davis with Wing right behind, the club men frantically yelling and cheering them on. As Elwell and Davis crossed the tape neck and neck, the track immediately swarmed with Wheelman, some claiming the race for Elwell and others for Davis. The decision of the judges was unanimous, however, that Elwell had won, and the time was announced as 2:48 1/2, lowering the Pacific coast record from 2:50 1-5, where it was put at Santa Cruz July 4, 1887. Instantly there was a scene of the wildest excitement. The Bay Citys threw their caps in the air, cheered, danced, hugged each other, and picking Elwelt up, bore him shoulder high from the track.
For the three-mile handicap there were but two starters - Ireland of the Alameda Scorchers and Hickenbotham of the Oak Leaf Wheelmen, both scratch men. Ireland announced that be would go for a record, and succeeded in lowering it from 9:28 3-5, made by him at Santa Cruz July 4, 1887, to 9:07 2-5.
in the half mile dash another record went, Allen of the Los Angeles Wheelmen winning in 1:22 1/5, with Wheaton of the San Francisco Bicycle Club second in 1:23 1/4. The previous record was 1:27 3/4, made by W. G. Davis at Oakland, November 24, 1887.
In the one mile for safeties of the rover type Fonda, San Francisco Bicycle Club and Off, Los Angeles Wheelmen, started. Fonda won in 3:11, being a quarter of a second slower than when he lost to Robinson at Oakland, June 9th last. It was a matter of regret that Robinson was not on hand to either defend his laurels or give Fonda his revenge.
The five-mile national bicycle championship of the League of American Wheelmen was next announced amid great excitement, for the big men were to again meet in a struggle for championship honors. Elwell, Davis and Wing, as they appeared on the track were each received with enthusiastic cheers. From the start it was evident it would be a slow race with a hot finish, and as lap after lap was reeled off, the men riding easily, joking and laughing as they passed the grand stand, the referee was urged to warn then against being disqualified. When half way around on the last lap the spurt commenced. Suddenly a great roar went up from the spectators as Elwell seemed to jump away from his competitors. Davis appeared to lose both himself and his pedals, while Wing, recovering from his astonishment, chased after Elwell and secured second place. Time, 16:56 2-5 more than a minute slower than the coast record held by Davis, 15:49. The excitement and joy of Elwell's admirers were even more extravagant than at the close of the mile championship.
The mile handicap brought out a large field of starters. Wheaton of the San Francisco Bicycle Club was the only scratch man, with Toll of the Capital City Wheelmen at 15 yards and Baker of the Los Angeles Wheelmen and Wulff, Reed and Southworth of the Oak Leaf Wheelmen at 35 yards. Wheaton caught his limit men soon after passing the first quarter, and riding a gamey race won in 2:52; Wulff second; Reed third.
Happily the half-mile obstruction did not fill, and so the dignity of the occasion escaped being marred by horse play.
The two-mile handicap brought out Ireland of the Alameda Scorchers at the scratch, Wheaton of the San Francisco Bicycle Club at 35 yards, and Haslett of the Alameda Scorchers at 75 yards. It was too soon for Wheaton after his hard work in the mile handicap, and he chucked it after the second lap. Ireland, although intent on another record, did not readily overhaul Haslett, and when he did Haslett kept in his company. It was not until nearing the finish that Ireland left him on a spurt, winning in 6 minutes even, and lowering Elwell's record of 6:10 4-5, made on the 9th of June last.
Time not allowing, the twenty-mile championship had to be indefinitely postponed.
The following comparative table gives the Pacific Coast records and World's records, amateur and professional, both English and American. It will be noticed that Rowe made all the American Amateur records before be turned professional.
The above table refers to ordinary bicycles only. The safety records are at some distances lower. At Coventry, June 13th last, A. P. Engleheart, on a rear-driving safety, covered a mlle in 2:33. This is lower than Howell's ordinary bicycle record. The same day Oxborrow, also on a safety, lowered all the ordinary professional records from five to ten miles. The five was put at 13:48 and the ten at 27:38 4-5. The only safety record on the Pacific coast is for one mile - 3:10 3/4 - held by N. A. Robinson.
The person who represented one of the San Francisco morning dailies at Stockton was evidently disgruntled at the defeat of Davis, since he had the bad taste to impose on his journal an insinuation against the fairness of the decision of the judges in the mile championship, and also gave to his report a tone belittling Elwell's performances. In view of this attempt to place the champion in a unfair light belore the public, the opinions of leading wheelmen have been gathered, with the following result:
Captain George H. Strong says: "Elwell beat Davis fairly in the mile by six inches."
Percy Haslett, one of the judges, says: "I was a friend of the San Francisco club. Now I suppose I have made enemies of them for life: but right is right - Elwell won the mile."
J. E. Clifford, another of the judges: "I wanted to see Davis win, because he rode the wheel I represent at Stockton, but he lost the race."
Fred Russ Cook: "There is no man on the track who has the tactics of racing down as fine as Davis. In the mile he played to win and came very near it. When Elwell spurted at the beginning of the home stretch, Davis seemed to fail to respond. This threw Elwell off his guard, and before he knew it, Davis was on to him with a rush that made the race uncomfortably close. In that fraction of a second Elwell learned something to his advantage."
H. C. Finkler: "I expected to see Davis win. He had had every advantage in the way of preparation. Elwell is a good man, but I have yet to see him what I consider fit. He has the crudest ideas as to training."
A. W. Allen of Los Angeles: "I have seen a good deal of racing on Eastern tracks and I have done some myself. Elwell's muscles were in very poor condition for a contest. They were clogged with fat/ He should have weighed at least fifteen pounds less. He has the making of a world-beater in him."
W. S. Wing of Los Angeles: "It is no discredit to ride second to a man like Elwell. I cannot beat him. I hope he will go to the World's Tournament at Buffalo in September. If he will be tractable and allow himself to be properly handled he will make good showing."
Chief Consul Welch: "Elwell has fairly earned the title of champion of California and the Pacific coast, and no one possessed of the faintest spark of manliness will begrudge him that distinction. He deserves a great deal of consideration. He is dependent on his own exertions and has prepared himself for his races at a great disadvantage and to the neglect of his business interests."
Frank D. Elwell, the amateur champion of California and the Pacific coast, was born in San Francisco, November 27, 1866, and is therefore now in his twenty second year. He is nearly six feet in height and weighs about 175 pounds. He commenced riding in the fall of 1885 when he joined the Bay City Wheelmen. In January, 1886, he went into the league with his club. His first attempt at racing was on February 22, 1886, when in a fifty mile road race from Gilroy to Menlo Park, between three of his club and three Oakland riders, he finished first in 3h., 30m., 59 4-5s., the next man being seven minutes behind him.
On the 31st of May following he made his first appearance on the track at a joint meeting of the Bay City Wheelmen and Albion Athletic Club. He had disregarded all advice to prepare himself for the event and went to the track wholly untrained. He won the half mile in 1:33 1/2, and the two mile in 6:59, but lost the mile to Davis of the San Francisco Bicycle Club in 3:10.
At the annual race meet of the California division, September 9, 1886, at the Bay District track, he won the three-mile national championship and the one-mile State championship. At Sacramento, September 15th, following, he took the two-mile state championship, the mile handicap from scratch over Browning at 100 yards, and also the the five-mile handicap from scratch.
Owing to the effects of an indiscretion he was prevented from riding during the season of 1887, but promptly with the opening of the present season of 1888 he again commenced a series of triumphs. On February 22d he finished first in a twenty-five-mile race of the Inter-Club Road Racing Association. Five teams of three men each rode, his own team winning first, second and third place. This performance he repeated on June 2d in the next of the series of road races promoted by the association. On June 5th, at the postponed meeting of the Olympic Club and Bay City Wheelmen, he won the two-mile state championship in 6:10 4-5, what was then record time, and also the one-mile handicap from scratch over a strong field of starters. In the three-mile lap race, owing to a header, he tied with R. A. Smythe of his own club. His greatest performances are those at Stockton on Wednesday last, and these he can readily eclipse if he continues his career as a racing man.
The bicycle races at Stockton on the Fourth of July attracted no little attention. A. N. Smyth states, in communication to the CHRONICLE, that never in the history of bicycle racing on this coast was such interest taken as that shown at Stockton on this occasion. It was the first time that three representative riders met in one tace, and the excitement of the spectators at the finish of the mile championship race will never be forgotten by them. Frank D. Elwell had the one opportunity of his racing career to prove what his friends have always claimed, that he was undoubtedly the greatest rider who ever crossed a wheel in California, and that he did not have to exert himself in the one mile, even on the final spurt shows what he is capable of when made to ride his best. His record of twenty races in a year and a half, of which he won nineteen firsts and one recond, stands out above all others as the best individual record. The race in which he suffered his only defeat was won on a foul. It is only necessary to say that the referee rendered three decisions on this race to prove to all athletes that foul riding beat him.
Elwell is not a record-breaker, except when he has to win. His tactics are similar to those of Furnivall, the invincible English amateur, who always rides to win by a few feet. Elwell holds only the coast record for one mile at the present time, but all other records are within his reach if he could only be pushed by the man be races against.
He has always raced under the colors of the Bay City Wheelmen, and their clubrooms bear evidence of the prowess of their champion in the massive silver bowl, the prize of the California Road Racing Association, for which he has won two of the three road races, and also the handsome silver pitcher presented by the Oakland Ramblers for their twenty-five-mile road race.
Elwell has never been properly trained, so that it is impossible to know what he is capable of. In the annals of racing in this stale, his final spurt at the finish of the five-nile championship at Stockton will always be remembered as the finest piece of riding ever seen here, and it is doubtful it could be duplicated at the fountain-head of 'cycle racing -England.
W. S. Wing, the Los Angeles champion, has made a host of friends by his pleasant, unassuming ways and plucky riding. The track at Stockton was not suitable for his wheel, as he could not speed, and it is on a long sprint that be would show to best advantage. He takes home with him the second prize in the three-mile national championship. His defeat by Elwell was an honorable one, and he may well feel proud of his riding.
His friend A. W. Allen has also left a pleasant impression among the local riders. He returns home with the half-mile State record. He won his two races quite handily, and then stood down from the other race for which he was entered and could have undoubtedly won, saying: "One person should not try to win everything."
A. S. Ireland, the record-breaker, has two more records to his credit - the two and three miles. His riding is a revelation to persons who look for speed in only large-sized persons."
One of the best performances of the day was that of C. B. Wheaton in the one mile handicap, which he won from scratch in 2:52. This on a road wheel was a splendid piece of riding, and his fellow members of the San Francisco Bicycle Club deserve censure for the lack of enthusiasm displayed by them when be finished.
The riders sympathized with Fred Hood, who went to Stockton in the finest condition a week before the races to put the finishing touches on his preparations. He reached there on a warm day and drank too freely of water. It upset him entirely, so he wisely concluded not to start in the condition in which he found himself.
|W. G. Davis||half-mile||1:27 2-5|
|C. A. Biederman||one mile||2:50 1-5|
|Elwell||two miles||6:10 4-5|
|A. S. Ireland||three miles||9:28 3-5|
|A. W. Allen||half-mile||1:21 1/2|
|F. D. Elwell||one mile||2:48 1/2|
|A. S. Ireland||two miles||6:00|
|A. S. Ireland||three miles||9:07|
Mohrig's friends are most confident of his being elected to the chief consul's chair at the coming league election. They feel that he is the right man for the place, and that he will administer the affairs of the league in a manner advantageous to all league members rather than for his own personal advantage or pecuniary advancement, as might not be the case were another elected.
The Bay City Wheelmen regret sincerely Robinson's inability to attend the meet at Stockton, as it would have been so easy to have another league medal in the club; 3:10 beats 3:11 1-5, and Birdie can more faster than that it he is pushed.
In a number of articles appearing in the papers lately mention has been made of Davis holding the one-mile record for the Pacific coast on the strength of his 2:52 mile at Santa Cruz last year. The fact is that be held it about half an hour, for about that long after he made it C. A. Beiderman ran his mile in 2:50 1/2, and has since held the record until Elwell made his wonderful spurt al Stockton and finished in 2:48 2-5.
The Bay City Wheelmen bad a very enjoyable jollification at their clubrooms, on Van Ness avenue, Thursday evening, July 5th. This was in honor of Messrs. Wing, Allen and Off, the three Los Angeles wheelmen, who showed such good Speed at the division meet at Stockton on the Fourth, and who are three jolly good fellows and great favorites with the wheelmen in this vicinity. It was also to celebrate the recent victories of the Bay City Wheelmen at Stockton.
The champion Elwell was present and about forty members of the club, including Chief Consul Welch, besides the visitors. The entertainment commenced by letting off immense quantities of firecrackers and bombs in front of the clubroom, which caused a deafening roar that attracted a number of spectators. The noise was overlooked, by the city officials, it is presumed, in view of the festive nature of the season. Afterward there was an excellent impromptu repast, provided with the assistance of those energetic members, Bauer, James, Pearson, Thompson and Milroy, which was, it seened, the more enjoyable by reason of its Bohemian nature. Very fine music was furnished during the evening by those excellent banjoists, Messrs. Kelly and Gallagher, and Mr. Searles, one of the club's members, also treated the company to some well-executed pianoforte playing. Some neat speeches were made in response to the several toasts, and about midnight the young men separated, after a most enjoyable evening.
There is an editorial in last week's Bicycling World on the subject of the rowdy actions which some wheelmen display in their thoughtless moments on occasions when they think they are having a good time. Some of the young riders of our own clubs will do well to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest these remarks, though we are happy to say no flagrant cases of rowdyism have had to be chronicled here. A wheelman has no more right to indulge in loud talk, singing or other noisy acts at any hotel or on any boats, cars or other means of transportation than have any other class of people. The fact of his riding a wheel is no excuse whatever for a wheelman's indulging in a noisy spree, to the discomfort and quiet of orderly people, and to the disrepute of wheelmen generally. Is is believed that the majority of wheelmen are at heart gentlemen, and is is only necessary that those who are at times thoughtless should think over these matters to have them corrected.