Spring Fling Bike Criterium

It’s the first weekend in May, so that means downtown is set up for Spring Fling. There are carnival rides, food, and art. There is a schedule of entertainment from clogging (every small southern town has clogging, it’s like law or something), to bands to frisbee catching dogs (I would’ve liked to have seen that). Although so much is planned that I would enjoy seeing, we usually only do one thing. And that is go to the Bike Crit (or criterion.)

20140503-083217.jpgEven for non-bikers like me it is a lot of fun. A criterion is a short track bike race. Here, the track is a half mile route around a couple city blocks.

20140503-083437.jpgDepending on the race, bikers could do one lap or 66. There were races for the training wheel set, parent/child tricycles, and the town rental bikes, all the way to the professionals who come from all over the world.

20140503-083825.jpgSuperman and I were invited to one of the race sponsor tents. It sat right on the start/finish line, so it was a great spot to watch all of the action.

20140503-083933.jpgBeing a big sponsor, they had free food and drinks…mmm…free food and drinks? My favorite!

20140503-084231.jpgNot only are the bike races fun to watch, but I enjoy seeing friends and meeting new people. Here’s my friend, Linda, taking a picture of me taking a picture of her from across the way. (Not so clear, I know.) But it’s fun to holler (yes, we holler) at your friend who’s over yonder. I was greatly surprised and blessed to hang out with an old friend and her husband. Rich conversation is such a gift to me. (Dang it! I wish I had taken a picture of us.)

20140503-084958.jpgThe women racers are inspiring to me. I sooo don’t have the strength, stamina or bravery these gals have.

20140503-085126.jpgIn a bike race, you have a leader car that lets you know when the riders are coming through. I remember one year when a overly intoxicated gentleman decided it was a good time to cross the street…the race track. The lead car comes zooming by and we, the bystanders, stood there yelling for this guy to get out of the way before he got run over and caused a serious crash. He stood there swaying trying to comprehend what we were saying, when he suddenly got the idea to wobble back over to the sidewalk, just seconds before the bikers came around the curve at 35 miles per hour. A policeman immediately went to him, but the guy acted like he had been on the curb the whole time. It was crazy!

20140503-090113.jpgOf course, being the great cheerleader that I am, I had my cowbell ringing and yelling for the riders!

20140503-090228.jpgAlright, so this is the big race. Riders are ready.

20140503-090430.jpgOh my goodness! You have no idea how fast these guys can go, until you are standing right there on the edge as they pass by.

20140503-090527.jpgThe riders come so close to the barrier, I’m afraid of getting my arm taken off. It would be the story of my life…“Women leaning over barrier takes out a whole field of bikers!”

20140503-090643.jpgRemember this race? Fast, but not as much as the pros. They aren’t blurring past us.

20140503-090748.jpgThe professionals…A blur!

20140503-090812.jpgMusic is beating through the air. The announcer narrates the positions of the riders on the other side of the loop by watching his monitor. He sees the teams working together, who the leaders are and lets us know the strategy behind it all.

20140503-091047.jpgI’m glad he can tell what’s going on, because all I can see is this! Blur! Not only do the riders get cash awards for certain finishing places, but awards are given out during prime (pronounced preem) laps. Which probably makes not winning the entire race ok, if you can pick up a couple hundred bucks here and there for special laps. (Well, problem not. I think they all want to win the big bucks.)

20140503-091131.jpgThe riders go past so fast that even Superman’s hair gets blown out of whack.

20140503-091218.jpgThe finish! 1 hour 14 minutes and 12 seconds!

20140503-092718.jpgAccording to this morning’s local newspaper, “Daniel Holloway won the men’s pro race, capturing his fourth win in as many races this week and setting a record for the most wins during Speed Week.” Nice.

20140503-092929.jpgAnd even after all that biking, here are some racers talking, walking around and getting their stuff together to go home, like nothing just happened. What?!? I’d be lying on the ground somewhere, croaked out, whining and complaining. But I guess this is why they are the athletes and I’m the cow bell ringer eating free food.

Thanks for dropping by!


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