Cyclists to race June 16
Although promoters had hoped for more events, bicycle racing will make its way to Tonganoxie this month.
The Kansas City Orthopedic Institute bicycle racing team had hoped to bring three races to the Tonganoxie area, but because of safety concerns on county roads, the team will sponsor one race, the criterium, June 16 in the Urban Hess Business Center.
The other two events, an individual time trial and a road race, will run June 15 in Shawnee County between Lawrence and Topeka.
The criterium race will run from 7 a.m. to about 1 p.m., with each racing category taking roughly 30 to 40 minutes.
Countryside Garden Center, located in Urban Hess, will wait until 1 p.m. to open, instead of its normal noon opening.
Craig Bissell, KCOI race promoter, said he was pleased at least one race would be run in Tonganoxie.
He was thankful that Countryside Garden agreed to open one hour later.
"That's why we're getting there early and out as soon as we can," Bissell said.
Twila Hickman, co-owner of Countryside, said the slight delay would be fine.
"I don't think that's going to give us one bit of trouble," Hickman said. "I'm glad to have them out here."
The criterium race is usually set on a short loop route that's normally less than a mile. The end of the race is basically a massive group sprint to the finish line.
"There are usually several crashes, too, which is a crowd favorite," Bissell said. "I've been in many crashes myself. No broken bones, but I have lost a lot of skin."
Although competitors from various racing teams will race, local residents can also compete.
People wanting to race must pay the $22 entry fee and a $5 fee for a one-day license from the United States Cycling Federation. Those entries would race in a beginners' event.
At this point, Bissell expects about 10 racers in the junior division (18 and younger), 60 to 70 in the professional men's divisions and 20 to 30 in the women's divisions.
But, he said, that's not definite.
"It could be between 100 and 150," Bissell said. "We'd like to get more and we may, but we don't know at this point."
Cyclists from Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri are expected, while others could come from Oklahoma and possibly Texas, Arkansas and Illinois.
Admission for the race is free and spectators can bring lawn chairs if they wish.
Although the other two races won't accompany the criterium, Bissell said the best spectator race would be in Tonganoxie.
"Really it's the one that's most full of action and potential for crashes," Bissell said.
For registration information or for more details about the races, contact Bissell at (913) 432-9398.