Cycling is becoming one of the hottest sports in America. According to Scarborough Research, the number of folks who’d ridden a a bike jumped an amazing 25% — from 47.72 million to 59.67 million — between the Spring of 2010 and Spring 2013. And just as the number of folks biking for recreation or commuting purposes has grown greatly, so has the interest in competitive cycling, especially in short-course, closed-circuit races called criterium.
On Tuesday, July 29, folks from Davie County and surrounding communities will get a taste of this exciting sport as the 2014 Giordana Crossroads Classic kicks off a six-race series with the Downtown Mocksville Criterium. Cyclists will compete in four timed races, three consisting of amateur riders (though cash prizes are awarded), and one pitting riders from professional teams against each other in 60 minutes of what can only be described as hair-raising action.
There are a couple of things that make a criterium a great spectator sport. Watch a multistage bicycle race like the Tour De France in person, and you get a single glimpse of the horde of rides – but the short, closed-circuit of a criterium means you can see the cyclists jockeying for position for almost the entire event. The Mocksville course is a mere half-mile in length, and pros can hit speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. Add in 90-degree turns, and what you’ve got is pretty much a pedal-powered version of NASCAR.
While the bulk of teams will come from North and South Carolina, cash prizes and the thrill of competition lure teams from across the nation to take part in the Crossroads Classic. Last year, for instance, professional teams California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia made the journey to Mocksville. (After the race on Tuesday, the Classic moves on to Kannapolis, Salisbury, Statesville, Asheboro, and then back to Salisbury for the race finale.)
Things get rolling at 5:15 PM, as streets are shut down and the course is set up. (Note to Mocksville residents All vehicles inside the bike race area will not be able to leave from 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM.) An area with inflatable games and rides for kids will be available, and at 6:45 PM the course will be opened up for a kid’s race. At 8:45 PM, the professional riders begin their hour-long competition for a share of the $1,270 purse.
For complete details on this free event, visit http://www.crossroadscyclingclassic.com/mocksville.htm. You can also learn more about criterium, including how to compete in upcoming events at Crossroads Classic.