Tour de Clarendon Careens Around Corners in Arlington

Tour de Clarendon Careens Around Corners in Arlington

Brendon Rhim wins Sunday’s Clarendon Cup 2024

Sharp curves felled a number of riders on Sunday in the Tour de Clarendon.

Sharp curves felled a number of riders on Sunday in the Tour de Clarendon. Photo by Eden Brown.

It’s a short one kilometer route that turns sharp corners at Clarendon, Wilson, and Washington Boulevards — one hundred times. That is what makes the Armed Forces Cycling Classic (AFCC) so challenging. The 100 km race goes around 300 corners, each time potentially ending in a crash, as happened a few times on Sunday.

“It’s a race for sprinters,” said one passer-by who had just come out of church to find a full fledged “Tour” happening on the busy street corner near Northside Social and the Clarendon Ballroom. He stayed for the whole race. 

The Armed Forces Cycling Classic’s Clarendon Cup is now 23 years old. It is the Washington DC region’s premier Pro/Am race, held in Clarendon, near the Metro stop. The classic includes the Crystal Cup held on Saturday. Each race showcases a form of cycling involving a series of high-speed turns on the one-kilometer-per-lap course on city streets. The Clarendon Cup is known as one of the most difficult criterium races in the U.S. due to technical demands of the course and the quality of the participants.

Brendan Rhim won Sunday’s Clarendon Cup, racing 100km in 2:14:58. He is a professional rider for Team Project Echelon/UAL/Aon. The 28 year old shot out at the beginning of the race and stayed a comfortable distance in front consistently. A second pack of about 10 riders attempted to overtake him with no success. A third main pack of riders trailed significantly behind, to the extent that at times, it appeared the first cyclist might catch up with the last cyclist — the course is that short. The “pack” was where most of the accidents happened because of the proximity of many riders around corners causing collisions. 

The AFCC is sponsored by Boeing and includes women’s races and children’s fun rides. A non-competitive Corporate Challenge sponsored by Amazon featured teams from Amazon, Boeing, United Airlines, Deloitte, Mitre, and other corporate offices in the area.

The Armed Forces Cycling Classic weekend of events donated all funds raised to Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the national nonprofit organization providing compassionate care and comprehensive resources for all those grieving the death of a military or veteran loved one.