The USA CRITS Speed Week Series begins in Athens, Georgia on April 24 and showcases bicycle racing in three states ending up in Sandy Springs, Georgia on May 2. This year’s series will host the best criterium racers in the world with a solid line up of USA CRITS Division 1 Teams in attendance.
Athens, Georgia – April 24 – The series kicks off at one of the best criteriums in the nation, the Terrapin Twilight, on Saturday, April 24. Now in its 31st year, this event has received numerous accolades, most recently named by Outdoor Magazine as one of the “Best Outdoor Events in the Nation.” As the home to REM, the B-52’s, and Widespread Panic, the Athens culture is also cultivated by being the home of the University of Georgia.
Roswell, Georgia – April 25 – From Athens the series heads to Roswell for the Historic Roswell Criterium in the heart of old Roswell and a cycling tradition in the south for 9 years. Racers come to Roswell with some of the same ambitions as the first settlers of this town north of Atlanta on the Chattahoochee River, to take home some of the areas gold, first mined in 1928.
Beaufort, South Carolina – April 27 – After a travel/rest day the event races to this picturesque coastal town for the Beaufort Memorial Cycling Classic. This city has served as the backdrop for films such as Forrest Gump, The Great Santini, The Big Chill, GI Jane, Platoon and Forces of Nature – to name just a few! Beaufort offers an old world back drop to the fast paced excitement of racing.
Walterboro, South Carolina – April 28 – A short drive from Beaufort, Walterboro has become a favorite USA CRITS Speed Week stop for cyclists and event staff. From a rich history, to being the artistic center for South Carolina, to an appreciation of natural treasures, the City of Walterboro is where the Lowcountry begins and cyclist reach the high point of the Speed Week series. The race finishes down the long narrow downtown street in this diverse community that is a melting pot of culture and history.
Spartanburg, South Carolina – April 30 – From the southern Lowcountry feel of Walterboro to the bustling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Speed Week is hosted by the first city in South Carolina to receive the designation as a “Bicycle Friendly Community” by the League of American Wheelmen. As a part of Spring Fling, one of the Upstate’s largest outdoor street festivals, the crowds increase as the night rolls on.
Dilworth Community of Charlotte, North Carolina – May 1 – Hosted by the Dilworth Community, Charlotte’s first streetcar neighborhood and voted as the Best Neighborhood in Charlotte, the Dilworth Criterium is the oldest event of the Speed Week series celebrating 37 years in 2010. As the only Speed Week race not in a downtown setting, and held in conjunction with Dilworth’s “Go Green Festival” this Saturday afternoon race is no walk in the park for the cyclist that compete on this very challenging course around Latta Park.
Sandy Springs, Georgia – May 2 – The Finals of Speed Week is a Race to the Arts in the Global BMW Sandy Springs Challenge. Set in the heart of Sandy Springs, Georgia’s seventh largest city and located just north of the thriving metropolis of Atlanta, the Race to the Arts festival allows you to enjoy a fantastic Spring day. Bringing together outstanding artists from all over the country with the enthusiastic art buying community of Sandy Springs and her neighbors, the Race to the Arts features dozens of the region’s finest painters, photographers, sculptors, leather and metal craftsmen, glass blowers and more! The final art of Speed Week is drawn on this 6 corner course that is a true test of criterium and cycling skills.
The Men’s Teams
The 2010 edition of Speed Week has attracted teams focused on American criterium racing- teams strategically designed to produce results. As a group they represent the most tactical racers in the world, pitted against each other in a high speed chess game on wheels. With the removal of two way radio communications to team managers for 2010, riders will be forced to communicate between themselves and team management the old fashion way. This strategical side show of 2 second instructions every lap (or minute) may prove as important to winning as going fast. No more hiding behind the clip board to call in the plays, the playbook may be open source verbal commands between riders and managers or secret coded messages or nods among friends. Whatever the tactics, the 2010 Speed Week teams represent the best head to head criterium racing athletic tacticians to take to southern streets.
Team Mountain Khakis fueled by Jittery Joes -With 2009 USA CRITS Champion, Mark Hekman, and a well recruited supporting cast of young faces and wiley veterans, the team will, of course, be planning to beat the pants off anyone not dressed in Mountain Khakis. In “shorts”, this year with some added go from Jittery Joes Coffee this team that placed second in 2008 and won the 2009 USA CRITS Team Competition has no plans to relinquish this spot.
United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team presented by Maxxis – This new squad for 2010 has some old and new favorites on their roster. With horsepower from Tasmania in Karl Menzies, USA CRITS U-25 superstar Jake Keough (of the Keogh clan), and flamboyant Californian speedster Eric Balevav along with a group of 8 riders, this team has insured that they will be able to take care of the competition.
Jamis/Sutter Home Men’s Cycling Team presented by Colavita – Several individual riders from this team have more criterium wins than most teams. With the international racing abilities of Alejandro Borrajo from Argentina and Frank Travieso from Cuba (the 2007 USA CRITS Champion),plus the addition of two Argentinean strong men, this team will leave no breakaway safe, with or without a team member. Having raced the early season in South America, the team will help redefine hard-fast Spring time criterium racing in America.
Kenda Pro Cycling presented by Geargrinder – Presenting a experienced maximum pressure filled squad of 8, Kenda has the experience in Chad Hartley, the speed in Luca Damiani, and a bit of the unknown in Nick Keough (from a family with enough talented racers to field a basketball team), to blow out the competition.
Team Hotel San Jose – With the 2009 Twilight and Texas Tough winner, Heath Blackgrove, the return of Sean Sullivan, and Carlos Vargas – winner of 2009 Superweek, this amateur team may have more room keys to wins than most PRO squads. As another team covering the odds with 8 riders, check out time may be early for the competition.
Richmond Pro Cycling – As a city based team, Richmond Pro Cycling is a bit different to its approach to elite American racing. The team operates as a Civic Leadership Corps that develops young, educated, elite-level cyclists into community ambassadors, mentors, and role models over a 7 month season. By channeling their energy towards others they develop community leaders for the future. This community team work has paid off as the team consistently finds its way into top finishing positions.
TEAM CRCA-Foundation – The Century Road Club of America is the largest and oldest cycling club in America. Started in 1895 the club based squad has dealt with the poor road conditions (“roads need scraping”) of Central Park in 1898 and now intends to take on the American racing roads. With the largest pool of amateur talent in America, the CRCA team can squeeze out some wins for the big apple.
Team Haymarket – Tucked away in northern Virginia, far enough from DC to have some of the best bike riding areas in America, but close enough to DC to develop leaders in the sport of cycling, this bicycle shop based team has ambitious plans to crack into America’s elite cycling circles in 2010.
Other men’s teams to attend include – Team Type 1, Bahati Foundation Racing, and two Georgia based elite amateur squads – Locos Cycling Team and Ion–United Healthcare
The Women’s Teams
Top American women’s teams attending Speed Week include Colavita/Baci, BMW/Bianchi, Team Type 1 and Vanderkitten, plus the USA CRITS Division 1 team Treads.
Treads.com-Defined Fitness Training – What began as a small women’s cycling club in 2006 in Kansas City has grown to a Denver-based organization which includes a 14-woman pro/1/2 squad elite American cycling team that also supports entry level cycling programs.