July 11, 2011 | WMU News
The 2011 BTR Park Criterium is being organized by WMU and the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. It will include 11 separate races throughout the day for participants of every age and ability level. Online registration ends at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, July 14. Race-day registration will open at 6:30 a.m. on site in the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center and closes 30 minutes prior to each race.
Racing will begin with the Men's Elite 4 event at 8 a.m. and conclude with the Junior Women's event at 4:11 p.m. A race for kids of all ages will be held at 1:15 p.m., with free helmets given out to participants while supplies last. A total of $6,000 in prize money will be awarded during the 2011 criterium, and the first 200 registrants will receive T-shirts.
The criterium is the most popular form of bike racing in the United States. It is the cycling equivalent of the Indy 500--full of high-speed and intense action. Cyclists race on a closed-circuit track, completing each lap in about one minute while traveling at speeds in excess of 30 mph as they race to be the first to cross the finish line without being passed.
A short, closed course makes criterium cycling an ideal spectator sport. For WMU's event, spectators may park at the University's soccer field off Parkview Avenue east of Drake Road, then watch the fast, aggressive action free of charge. Competitors will be racing around a 1.1-mile course that features smooth pavement with three 90-degree turns and multiple sweeping turns.
The criterium will be held rain or shine. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, and vendors will be on hand offering cycling gear and accessories. Registration for the kid's race is free. The entry fee for all other races ranges from $10 to $30.
The BTR Park Criterium is part of the area's Race Weekend activities that also include a women's racing clinic from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 15, at the Parkview Campus and a charity race for the Make-A-Wish Foundation Sunday, July 17 in Lawton, Mich.
For more information, including how to register and driving directions to WMU's Parkview Campus, visit kalamazoobicycleclub.org.