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BTR Park hosts community cycling event

Sept. 20, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's Business Technology and Research Park will lend its high-tech atmosphere to a Saturday, Sept. 30, event that will include a bicycle Family Fun Ride through the park and a series of timed, high-intensity bike races.

The first BTR Park Criterium, organized by the University, the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club and the WMU Cycling Club, will be the main event in daylong activities at the park that its organizer calls "part block party, part high-tech cycling event."

"We wanted to do something to build a sense of community for the companies in the park and our neighbors in the community," says Bob Miller, WMU associate vice president for community outreach and the University's pointperson on park development. "What better way than to build a day of fun around a sport that utilizes high-tech materials and advanced engineering--the very things the BTR Park is all about. People can ride the course with their families, watch the races, listen to student DJs, view displays from our engineering college and sample the wares of local food vendors and a number of area bicycle shops."

The day will begin with a free Family Fun Ride set for 8 to 10 a.m. The ride will use the same course racers will compete on later in the day.

At 10 a.m., the criterium will begin on a challenging 1.1-mile circuit around WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. A criterium is the bicycling equivalent of the Indy 500--fast, exciting to watch and somewhat dangerous to race contestants.

The most popular form of bike racing in the United States, a criterium racecourse is a closed circuit track that makes it convenient for spectators. Racers complete a lap a minute, traveling at speeds exceeding 30 m.p.h. The BTR Criterium will include seven separate events for racers of different ages and genders. A total of $2,500 in prize money will be awarded during the races, which are expected to last until about 4:15 p.m.

The criterium will offer special recognition to collegiate bike racers who place among the top three in each individual category, and the top collegiate racer will receive a trophy during the afternoon's podium ceremonies.

Throughout the day, music will be provided by WIDR, WMU's student radio station. Local restaurants will be selling food, and independent vendors will be selling food and bicycle equipment. Some BTR Park corporate partners will offer building open houses during the morning events.

WMU's BTR Park is located at the intersection of Drake and Parkview. The event is free to spectators and will be held rain or shine. For more information about the criterium or to enter, go online to kalamazoobicycleclub.org/racing. Race registration is $25 through Sept. 27 and $30 after that day.

Parking for spectators and those participating in the Family Fun ride is available next to the WMU soccer field adjacent to the park. Parking and registration for those participating in the criterium is in the parking lot of the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, located next to WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Sponsors for the day's activities are WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Denso Manufacturing Michigan Inc., Stryker Corp., Breakaway Bicycles, and Soils and Materials Engineers Inc.--SME.

For more information about the day's activities, call Bob Miller at (269) 387-2073.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400