The Newport News Twilight Criterium Kicks Off July 30
NASCAR on two wheels. That’s often how a crit is described. Short for criterium, a crit is a popular bicycle race that takes place on city streets; hence, there are many sharp turns. The course is compact, with laps ranging from a half-mile to 1.5 miles long.
The city will hold its first-ever crit on the streets of The Yard District in Downtown Newport News from 3 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 30. The Newport News Twilight Criterium is 1-kilometer long with eight 90-degree turns. It is being billed as “fast and smooth, with very little braking required.” It begins and ends at City Hall, 2400 Washington Ave and covers just two square blocks between Huntington and West avenues and 25th through 27th streets.
The races will take place under twilight, dusk and dark conditions that will surely challenge the more than 300 cyclists expected to participate. There will be seven races for men and women of varying ages and expertise, beginning at dusk, with the men’s race finishing at night under the city lights. A free Kid’s Fun Race for children 3 to 9 years of age will also take place. Cash prizes range from $250 to $2,500.
Because crits are so exciting to watch, the public is encouraged to come to The Yard District to cheer on the cyclists! There is no other competition where the spectators are as close to the action – the good, the bad, and the ugly (i.e. crashes!)
Cyclists race in a pack and can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. High-speed cornering, acceleration, and riding in a tight group with dozens of other racers (which means lots of bumping of elbows and shoulders) are the hallmarks of a criterium. And because these lapped races take place on city streets, avoiding obstacles like potholes and sewer covers can be tricky.
Some say the best part of a criterium is the atmosphere! Former professional cyclist Frankie Andreu will be the announcer for the Newport News Twilight Criterium. During his career, Andreu won a number of race stages and finished fourth in the cycling road race at the 1996 Olympics.
The event will also include food trucks and great viewing areas along the route. The compact course makes it easy to view the race and cheer on your favorites from any spot along the figure-8 track! Plus, those who bring their own bicycles to the event can take advantage of free bike safety checks.
Cash prizes for the Newport News Twilight Criterium are made possible by the event’s sponsors, which include Compass Intermodal, Hornsby Tire and Service Center, Hylton Builders, TREK, Village Bicycles, Cutaway, plus more.
The Holiday Inn Newport News – Hampton, the official host hotel for the criterium, has a limited number of rooms blocked for participants. Call 757-223-2110 and mention reservation code NNT to receive the special rate (two-night minimum stay required).
This elite amateur bicycle race, sanctioned by USA Cycling, is being presented by THR Cycling and the City of Newport News. Click here for complete race information or to register. To see a video of the race course, click here. For questions, contact Graham Costa at email@example.com or call 757-660-2117.