LaGrange Cycling Classic cyclists race through the city center – LaGrange Daily News
Anyone who’s ever seen a preview of a bike race, whether it’s a short clip of the Tour de France on TV or a simple photo in a sports magazine, has seen a criterium, even if it’s he may not know.
A criterium is a bike race around a closed course, and LaGrange got his first personal and up-close glimpse of a real criterium on Friday afternoon when nearly 100 riders, all of different skill levels, rode a makeshift loop downtown, for the first time. never LaGrange Cycling Classic. The race was sponsored by the USA Crits Speed ââWeek Series, an eight-race competition with host cities in Georgia and South Carolina.
LaGrange was CRIT’s sixth race on its trip through Georgia. The CRIT races began last week in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and will continue in Athens, Atlanta, Springfield and Walterboro.
On Saturday, the races will head to Hapeville and College Park to end the event.
The first race, the Master 45+, had more than ten participants who ran for 40 minutes in a loop. Five more races for Masters 35+, Men’s Cat 4/5, Men’s Cat â , Women’s Pro / 1/2/3 and Men’s Pro / 1/2 will follow throughout the night.
The riders, some from across the country, had to contend not only with the unfamiliar loops, but also the wet asphalt from a brief downpour that took place an hour before the start of the first race.
Four members of Team MedellÃn, a team from Columbia, visited Golden Bikes in downtown LaGrange on Thursday night and shared their experience as riders with visitors.
Team MedellÃn is currently the number one team in North and South America and is sponsored by the city of MedellÃn, Colombia, Fischer said.
âIt’s for amateurs and pros, and they can choose to participate in a race or in the series,â said Thad Fischer, the director of the Speed ââWeek Series who translated for the team.
âThe series has a point system for the pros. There is also a team category. Sunday in Atlanta, we give out a prize of $ 130,000 to the winner. “
âPart of what they do is they brand the name of the city, so they are, in a sense, sport ambassadors for the city of MedellÃn,â Fischer said. “It’s a big deal for them.”
The MedellÃn team won the Men’s Pro / 1/2 on Friday night.
The race also included local runners. The owner of the Golden Bike Shop, Rick Brock, provided the riders’ statements before the race.
Chris McChargue, of West Point, works daytime as a human resources professional for KIA Georgia. Currently, Chris is training for the Six Gap Century and the North Georgia 100 Mile Cycling Event which takes place in the North Georgia Mountains and the 100 Mile Pinhoti Trail Running Event which he claims , will take 26 hours. Just three years ago, Chris tipped the scales at over 300 pounds. In 2018, he embarked on a fitness journey that changed his life.
Since he started cycling in October 2019, Chris has completed two double centuries, twelve centuries and is the proudest of his recent century in less than 5 hours.
âIn 2019, I discovered cycling for the first time in my adult life,â he says. âI love to run, but I love to be on my bike and push myself, whatever my limit that day. Cycling has definitely helped me find a way to both maintain my fitness and enjoy the world around me.
John Thomas Arnold is an 18-year-old from Auburn, Alabama. Currently, Arnold is the Service Manager at Golden’s Bike Shop’s sister store, Trek Bicycle Auburn.
Michael Loutzenheiser has lived at LaGrange his entire life and is a mechanical engineering student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Throughout his high school and college education, Michael fell in love with the LaGrange cycling community through his work as a mechanic at Golden’s Bike Shop.
In high school, Michael was a three-time All-American triathlon in the United States and the 2017 Xterra USA champion for his age group.
The vast majority of his racing experience has been in the cross-country mountain bike racing scene, including some very competitive races such as the 2019 Mountain Bike National Championships. He said he was eager to adapt his skills. to achieve his goals in the criterium, a growing category of road bike racing.
As he prepared for the race, Arnold said he was ready for it.
âI’m a little nervous, but really excited,â Arnold said.
The race was significantly smaller than it usually would be, Fischer said. This was due to the COVID pandemic, which canceled rides in the spring and rescheduled.
“Everything compacted until the fall [race],” he said.
âPlus there’s another big race in Arkansas so that takes us away. Basically we would have over 70 men and 30 women.