Collegiate bike race coming to North Bend
March 15, 2012
By Michele Mihalovich
For the first time, the University of Washington’s Cycling Club will hold a two-day racing event in North Bend.
Devon Simpson, 20, a junior at UW and a cyclist, helped organized the multi-university event, to be held March 24-25.
She said she expects about 200 cyclists competing from the UW, Whitman University, Portland State University, the University of Oregon, Western Washington University, the University of Montana, Montana State University and others.
On the first day, cyclists will take part in a 6-mile, endurance road race, which she compared to a mini Tour de France-type of event.
Riders will bike along a “lollipop route,” which will take riders on North Bend streets, mostly outside city limits. Later that day, team trials will be held where small groups start a minute apart.
On March 25, a Criterium, or Crit, will be held on streets downtown (see map for details).
Simpson described it as a short, generally one-block route.
“I think that is what spectators will enjoy seeing the most, because it’s right in town,” she said.
Simpson said the Husky cycling team used to hold the Criterium annually at Seattle parks near the university.
“Seattle Parks Department isn’t letting us hold it in a park anymore, so we had to look for a new place,” she said.
And that’s where Gina Estep, North Bend’s director of Economic and Community Development Department, comes in.
Estep said she does a lot of cycling with a group in Seattle, and one of the group members mentioned that the UW was looking for a town to hold the event.
“I basically called them and told them about North Bend,” she said. “The team was really excited and here we are.”
As an avid cyclist herself, Estep said she’s excited about the race, and about it hopefully becoming an annual event.
“Anytime you bring a college event to an area, the atmosphere of competitiveness really brings a good energy to the area,” she said. “I’m expecting it to be a very cool signature event.”
Mayor Ken Hearing said he’s cautiously optimistic.
“This is the first year, so we really don’t know what we’re getting into or what to expect,” he said. “Anything that promotes our outdoor recreational opportunities is a good thing. I don’t know how many spectators it will attract, but it will attract riders and showcase what our town has to offer.”
What to know
Roads will not be closed March 24, but Gina Estep, North Bend’s Economic and Community Development director, asks that drivers be cautious and patient while driving around any racers they encounter.
On March 25, some downtown roads will be closed between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. North Bend Way will remain open. There will be a marked detour through town. For those who live inside the area closed by the roads, there will be no parking on those streets during that time.
Estep said there would be limited access throughout the day and cars would be allowed to leave at approximately 10:20 a.m. and 1:20 p.m. If you would like to move your car during those times, contact a representative at the finish line on Third Street well before the designated time.
If you have questions or concerns about how you will be affected by activities in your area, including requesting course maps, email Devon Simpson at email@example.com or Jesse Opp at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call Estep at 888-7640.