by Deanna Darr
On a hot summer day, what's better than a nice, relaxing bike ride? How about an all-out sprint with some of the best road bike racers around screeching around corners in downtown Boise as crowds cheer from every available vantage point?
The Boise Twilight Criterium is back for its 26th year of turning Boise in circles. Racers from around the world have started converging on the City of Trees for the Saturday, July 14, race, which means locals need to do some planning to catch the action, or even just get around downtown since a road bike race means road closures.
The race—sponsored by the Exergy Development Group—will take riders from the starting/finishing line near Main and Ninth streets south on Ninth Street to Grove Street, turning west, then north onto 10th Street. Riders will then turn east on Bannock Street, then south on Ninth Street to complete the circuit.
Southbound Ninth Street from Bannock to Grove streets will be closed starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday and the rest of the roads will be fully closed by 1 p.m.
A marketplace and kids' staging area will be set up along Main Street, and pedestrians will be allowed to cross the course at designated areas at Main and 10th streets, Idaho and 10th streets and at Main and Ninth streets.
The marketplace will open at 2 p.m., and kids can start registering for the kickoff Kids' Ride at the same time. Boise's gold medal Olympian Kristin Armstrong will sign autographs starting at 2 p.m. as well, just before she helps get the racing going with the Kids' Ride at 2:30 p.m. The Kids' Ride is open to all children ages 3-10, and registration is free, although helmets are required.
While Armstrong will be leading the Kids' Ride, she will not be racing in the Criterium this year since she's just a few weeks away from competing in the 2012 London Olympics.
Racing for the grown-ups gets going at 2:45 p.m. with Category 4/5, followed by the Masters 35 Plus 2/3/4 Category at 3:45 p.m., the Juniors age 18 and younger at 4:45 p.m. and the Men's Category 2/3 at 5:45 p.m.
The official race opening ceremony will begin at 6:50 p.m., immediately followed by the Women's Pro 1/2/3 Category at 7 p.m. and the Men's Pro Category at 8:15 p.m. The final awards ceremony will begin at 10 p.m. and all roads should be reopened by midnight.
For more information, visit the Twilight Criterium website for a full schedule.