By Erin Trail
Sunday is the Second Annual 2017 Groove Mainstreet Parker Criterium presented by Excel Sports, which is a flat and fast 0.8 mile loop in the Downtown Parker Arts District. This is a super spectator friendly event, with ample close-by parking, and the Sunday Parker Farmers Market just steps away for easy access to snacks. 303 Media talked to Barry Lee of Sanitas Cycling and Race Director of the Parker Criterium about the upcoming event.
303 Media: Why is the Parker Criterium important to the cycling community?
Barry Lee, Sanitas Cycling: Criterium racing is the most spectator friendly and entertaining type of cycling or even multi-sport events. This is due to the very short loop, or circuits, that are traditionally a kilometer to mile or two in length. This creates an engaged crowd that is able to see and become more personally involved in the race and with the racers by seeing them lap after lap. The announcer also is a key part, adding his own personal touch and perspective and play by play calling the race from above on the elevated trailer platform.
Ainslie MacEachran is a former professional road racer, professional cycling coach, personal trainer and the announcer at the 2017 Groove Mainstreet Parker Crit presented by Excel Sports and will be providing exciting commentary throughout race day.
A crit is also not a long event, so this is encouraging for a new racer to the sport. It involves teammates and the team dynamic is empowering and one of the most fun part of road cycling, which is a key difference compared to multi-sport, Xterra, and mountain bike racing.
All these factors contribute to bringing this entertaining format with teams working together, in an awesome small town setting. This can build year to year, become multiple crit races and grow into a more sport festival. Parker is a perfect setting with a wonderful healthy and active community along with a town staff excited to make sport events possible. Betsy Mercer, Parker Parks and Open Space Manager, is a key partner and has been wonderful to work with.
303 Media: This is the second year of this event (1st under Sanitas Cycling Race Direction). What can racers expect to see this year?
Barry Lee, Sanitas Cycling: We are excited to partner with several local Colorado sponsors and partners that are passionate and very supportive of this event and eager to help grow it larger. Groove Subaru and the Groove Subaru Racing Team, presented by Excel Sports, are the new title sponsors. With this support we have a new bike racer support area complete with several new Excel tents, mechanic, Panaracer tubes, tires, Reynolds wheels, cables and the new Revbox trainer. Excel wanted to create a support system to make sure no rider experiences a bike related mechanical issue that keeps them from starting the races.
We also have new awards and primes prizes including Full Speed Ahead/ Vision products, Suerte Tequila, Boulder Beer, Polar bottles, NINOX jackets, custom pint glasses, and added cash primes prizes.
303 Media: What makes this a fun event?
Barry Lee, Sanitas Cycling: I think that the crit atmosphere described above combined the ability to watch almost the entire race course from the start / finish line area is amazing. This is also one of the few cycling race events in the South Metro Denver area, which is makes it attractive to those who live in the area and want to race. The course is safe and provides the type race that anyone can ride from any ability level and age. This is key for the sport to attract new riders and allow younger kids to race in front of crowds on a closed course with short laps. Community coming together is what we are always looking for in a venue and in a race setting and this is what Parker offers. We hope all the teams have a fun time and bring the entire family to cheer and enjoy the day of racing.
I want to also send a huge thanks to Lance and Tony Panigutti, and BRAC President Doug Gordon, that did so much work with Betsy and the Town of Parker to get the event started. We look forward to working with the Town of Parker, BRAC, and the cycling community to make this a weekend of crit racing larger each year. Thanks for racing.
RACE DAY REGISTRATION: $45 and cash only. $25 Jr’s 15-18. $15 Jr’s 9-14. Opens at 6:00 am & closes 40 min prior to race start.