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.

Contributed A map of the Criterium race route in downtown North Bend, which will be held on March 25.

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 or Jesse Opp at You can also call Estep at 888-7640.

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5 Responses to “Collegiate bike race coming to North Bend”

  1. Hugh on March 25th, 2012 2:24 pm

    I seem that officials beating on people’s cars with plastic baseball bats as they try to get home is a little out of hand. Your Crit blocked acess to a dozen or more homes. That is very inconsiderate. Maybe that is why Seattle Parks won’t allow it there anymore.

  2. Dave on March 26th, 2012 7:47 pm


    The car you talk about almost ran over an official and was speaking violently to volunteers. Not being able to get to your house is not an excuse for endangering another human being.

  3. AC on March 27th, 2012 12:17 pm

    I rode by as this was going on, looked like a good turnout. It’s great to see an event like this in North Bend, I hope there are more in the future.

  4. hugh on March 27th, 2012 7:46 pm

    The vehicle was allowed to proceed through a barricade by a race official. And was proceeding slowly when accosted by irrational volunteers. Who then pursued the driver to his home.
    Why did this race get kicked out of Seattle? Did Seattle City Parks decide these are people who don’t belong in Seattle. They don’t seem to be decent human beings.

  5. Dave on April 12th, 2012 10:23 pm

    The car almost hit an official on purpose. The official gave the car plenty of time to stop but the driver decided to intimidate the official instead by pushing them with their car.

    There has not been a stage race put on by UW in seattle for more than 8 years and that is because the logistics of holding a race in a large city is much more complicated and expensive. Most of north bend residents were very nice and supportive as the race brought money to the town and a spectator event.

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