All week long, members of bicycling team Route 1 Velo have been prepping for the annual Hyattsville CX (short for cyclocross) race. Part of that prep includes clearing the wooded trail of dangerous debris like trash, loose sticks and dangerous rocks.
The Hyattsville CX is on Sunday, Oct. 7 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Magruder Park in Hyattsville off of Hamilton Street. The Hyattsville CX raises money for the Prince George's County Special Olympics cycling team. Last year's event raised $7,000 for the organization.
But last night, after race officials had already swept the course, they returned to find glass from broken bottles hidden along several portions of the trail.
"It wasn't just a couple of broken bottles," said Hyattsville Communications Manager Abby Sandel in an interview. "It appeared to be strategically placed."
Race officials debated wether or not to alert police, according to Chris Millitello, co-owner of Arrow Bicycles and Route 1 Velo.
"I wasn't worried about people getting flats," said Militello in an interview. "I was worried about people crashing and landing on the glass. It's frustrating."
According to Militello, large amounts of glass were found hidden under leaves and dirt at one end of a wooden bridge which leads to the wooded, technical section of the course. Another section further back in the woods also had glass apparently planted there.
Militello said that while some people nearby might not like the hubub caused by the annual race, now in its fifth year, race organizers take every effort to be good neighbors, improve the park and leave a light footprint.
"We do a lot to set up, and that includes cleaning the park," said Militello. "We carried out eight full wheelbarrows of beer bottles, hypodermic needles and trash out of the woods getting ready for this race."
The glass has been removed and Sandel said that local police are increasing patrols in the area. Race organizers also have gotten permission to leave the Magruder Park field lights on overnight on Saturday into Sunday morning to try and deter any would be saboteurs.