July 23, 2009

Great start for Racine's criterium

For the second year in a row, Racine hosted a leg of the International Cycling Classic, the Racine.org Criterium, which is part of the Superweek Pro Tour. The three weeks of racing began in Milwaukee on July 9, and concludes in Whitefish Bay on July 26. Schedule is here.

Racine has a full day of races, which began at 10:45 this morning, culminating in a 100k race for pro men -- up to 200 of them! -- which begins at 6 p.m. tonight on Main Street. So far, racers were greeted with sunny skies (except for a brief drizzle about noon).

The one thing missing -- as it was last year -- is an appreciative audience. I estimate the "crowd" of onlookers at about 100... OK, maybe 200, tops. In other communities, spectators practically line the streets, even on a work day. Some merchants welcome the races -- Copacetic had a big "Welcome Race Fans" banner -- while other store owners grumble about the lack of parking and traffic on race day. As Chris Sklba, owner of Art Metals Studio, said to me, "I tell the complainers to spend the day getting caught up. This is a great event for Racine. " A map of the racecourse is here.

Here's what the first couple of races, for amateur cyclists, looked like:

Main Street handled the brunt of the races' .7 mile course

Here they come, up Third Street

Ben-Jamin Widoff of Woodstock, IL, winning today's 25-mile race;
all of today's results will be posted here at the end of the day

Perfect Host: Dave Blank of the RCCVB with party supplies (water)

This racer had her own rear-view mirror

One early arrest: He wandered onto the street, as racers approached,
but then wouldn't shut up after police hustled him out of harm's way


  1. Dave Blank of the RCCVB is the very best.

  2. Reason #1 for the lack of crowds... lack of advertising. I go to the bike races up in Grafton every year. They do a good job of getting the word out to its residents. I haven't seen anything until 5 minutes ago about the races here.

  3. Chris Sklba owns Art Metals Studio. And yes... Dave Blank is great!

  4. Anon 4:09. Of course! Whoops. (Thanks.)

  5. Matt - get your head out of the sand. This has been well promoted.

  6. Where is the obligatory "There's Dickert" shot.

  7. Pete, a little higher angle on one shot and you might have gotten a shadow shot like the well-known zebra shot on the internet. Wish I could've been there. Loved your pics!

  8. nice story, nice event, could have done without the arrest. Not so positive.