Through some form of serendipity, I was a spectator at the 1980's Washington Trust Classic downtown crit - I say that because I wasn't a consistent or tenured bike nerd through my teens, but I did have my moments. I was probably there on My Schwinn LeTour, on which I did a fair amount of roaming and of which I was very proud. All that is beside the point, though. The point is that I could hardly believe my eyes, as far as what was going on with the race. I'd never seen anything like it - I was pressed up against a barrier with all my 160 lbs of might, fully mesmerized by the incredible action. And I mean incredible. Shoulder-to-shoulder, bar-to-bar stuff, at speed, with the occasional big bump that would result in something metallic (pedal) contacting and sparking off the tarmac, as the bumpee held on for dear life with his white knuckles, all the while madly determined not to lose position, until he recovered. At which point he, and I, could finally breathe again.
I doubt that anyone in attendance that day could have possibly imagined that they'd be watching this event for the last time. But as one and then two and then five and then ten years crept by, it started to become apparent and then sadly sink in, that a legitimate, sanctioned race through the streets of downtown was a thing of the past. And so holy hell, maybe now you can begin to grasp why I'm so wound up about the fact that, yes. . . it's back. Shite.
If I haven't already made it clear, let's go over it again: You. Should. Plan. To. Be. There.
I received an email press release notice a coupla days ago that even though I am hardly press, I am thrilled to pass along . . .
Local cycling club organizes first downtown bike race since 1980’s
On Saturday, September 8, Spokane Rocket Velo will be hosting the Lilac City Twilight Criterium, a bicycle race in the heart of downtown Spokane. The race will be the first USA Cycling-sanctioned race in downtown Spokane since the Olympic Trials and the Washington Trust Classic which happened in the 80’s. Many long-time cyclists and business owners recall these events with great pride and are excited about the recent rebirth of racing in the Spokane area.
The first race starts at 5 p.m., showcasing the area’s beginner racers while the last race of the night starts at 8 p.m., giving spectators a chance to see top level racers compete for thousands of dollars in prizes and merchandise. Other featured races will include a citizen’s and kid’s race, both free for the public.
Spokane Rocket Velo believes pairing the race with Spokefest--a community-oriented bicycle ride that happens the following morning--embraces the club’s mission to promote cycling and overall healthy community activities in the Spokane area.
For more information go to http://www.spokanerocketvelo.com and click on Lilac City Twilight Crit.
Larry H. Miller Downtown Dealerships
Washington Trust Bank
North Division Bicycle Shop