Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fwd: Lilac City Twilight Crit Press Release

This is a majorly low-quality pic, and for that I apologize, but I was google-imaging "Spokane Downtown Crit" for something historical and cool. Nothing like I'd hoped for came up, but this one did, which is a pic off my own blog that I took 3 or 4 years ago at the start of a nighttime crit that's a stage of the Tour of Walla Walla. (Google search results are getting a little too personal and creepy, but that's a topic for another day.) Even though it's from a different town, I think it's appropriate, because it's still relatively local and because it helps to convey the enormity of the spectacle that a heart-of-the-city, after-dark-crit can create. It's a big field, probably Mens 4/5, which I did once, and it's probable that I was amongst these riders (I didn't win, if you're wondering) and that Patty was snapping the pic, but I can't say for positive sure.

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 . . .

Spokane, Washington
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 and click on Lilac City Twilight Crit.

Race sponsors:
Larry H. Miller Downtown Dealerships
Visit Spokane
Downtown Spokane
Washington Trust Bank
North Division Bicycle Shop


Hank Greer said...

This will be my first road race ever. Ought to be fun, but a Cat 5 start that crowded makes this first timer a little nervous.

Pat S said...

Hank, that's awesome. Yeah, I think the nerves are unavoidable, but you'll be well compensated with adrenalin.

Andy D. said...

Hope it all goes well for you. We had several downtown crits in the smaller town of Laramie, Wyoming in the late '80s/early '90s that were a lot of fun. It's a great way to make accessible a form of road racing for people who might not otherwise be bike event spectators. Looking forward to your report.

Unknown said...

Yep, the Downtown Spokane Crit is back and it's going to be a sight to see. Even if you've never raced and don't want to race, it'll be worth checking out the festivities.

Anonymous said...

Hey Pat:

I was riding with Alan Jacob this AM and he is still needing more volunteers for the crit. Anything you can do to get the word out would be appreciated. Thanks, Steve.

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