Bike race geared toward all levels of competition

by Benjamin Ganje

Speeding cyclists, hairpin turns and road rash remedies will all be showcased this Sunday at the University.
The Campus Criterium, a state championship bike race, is set to begin at 9:15 a.m. with nine races scheduled throughout the day. The event is also open to anyone who wants to participate.
Coinciding with the race and located near the finish line will be a health fair sponsored by the University’s program in physical therapy. The start-finish line is located on Pleasant Street Southeast outside of Wesbrook Hall.
The name, Campus Criterium, refers both to the location and the type of race. A criterium is a cycling term for a circular race with a short track that can have sharp turns, said David LaPorte, race director.
“A criterium is a short circuit on a road. Traditional road racing, such as the Tour de France, is great for the participants, but not for the spectators,” LaPorte said.
Some of the advanced racers will reach speeds between 30 and 40 mph, an exciting feature of this criterium race, LaPorte said.
The track is three-quarters of a mile long, but the race length will not be determined by the number of laps. Instead, each race will run for a designated amount of time. For instance, the competitive juniors will race for 20 minutes plus two laps, while the men’s elite race will last 80 minutes plus two laps.
The race will also feature a hairpin rotation as bikers heading northeast on Pleasant Street make a 180 degree turn before they run into University Avenue.
Among the contestants will be a number of University students. Kim Strom and Dave Dingmann, both seniors, will attend the race on Sunday.
“I’ve looked over the course a few times. It’s going to be an exciting race; it looks like a good course,” said Dingmann, a mechanical engineering major.
The course is a technical one, said Strom, a Spanish major who also races competitively for the Croll Factory Team.
“A total U-turn is not all that common. But this one is not that tight, it is kind of a quasi-hairpin,” Strom said. “Some of the other areas will be more exciting, like the corner by Fraser Hall, that right-hand turn will be a fast one,” she said.
Bikers will be categorized according to skill levels to increase competition and prevent injury, LaPorte said.
“We try not to crash, inevitably it happens, it’s part of riding the bike,” he said.
The physical therapy program’s health fair will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and aims to teach people how to deal with injuries incurred while riding bikes, said Jim Carey, director of the program in physical therapy.
There will be physical therapy students stationed at the fair throughout the day. They will address the anatomy of cycling injuries to the general public as well as bikers, Carey said.
The race announcer will also conduct primes (pronounced preems). Primes are a feature of criterium racing involving a one-lap race within the contest. The intermediate sprints are conducted at various times during the race unknown to the cyclists.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Dingmann. “It kind of raises the interest factor of the race.”
Primes are meant for spectator enjoyment, but racers who win get a prize ranging from cash to gift certificates. One of the prime prizes this year is a “road rash kit” put together by the program for physical therapy.
The event is sponsored by the Minnesota Cycling Federation, Minnesota Cycling Team, Boulder Options, Youth Cycling League, Gopher Wheelmen and the program in physical therapy.