A series of spectator-friendly bike races will return to downtown Springdale this summer.
The Natural State Criterium Series includes three weeknight events planned in May, June and July, with several categories of races scheduled on a closed course at Shiloh Square.
The criterium (or crit) races feature riders racing multiple loops around the course. The start-finish line is located on Emma Avenue, and the course winds through several downtown streets with each lap taking 2-3 minutes to complete.
The series kicks off at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, and includes several categorized races each night. Events are also scheduled on Wednesday, June 28 and Wednesday, July 26.
Each night begins with the 20-minute “First Chance Category” race designed for anyone who is new to bike racing or crit races. The First Chance race includes experienced coaches who will ride the course with the racers giving tips and pointers along the way. The First Chance category is less about competition and more about skill and confidence building.
The 30-minute “C Race” and 40-minute “B Race” are next on each night’s schedule and are categorized based on a rider’s USA Cycling skill category.
Each night ends with the “A Race,” a 50-minute race that is expected to draw the area’s most talented riders, including some professional racers.
Men and women will ride together in each race, but will be scored separately with prizes or cash available to the top three riders in the A, B and C races.
A 2-lap fat tire fun race is scheduled at 6:10 p.m. between the C and B races.
There is no charge to watch the races, but anyone interested in racing should visit BikeReg.com. Registration is available for both individual nights and the overall series.