The final bike races of the season are set for this week in downtown Springdale.
The Natural State Criterium Series wraps up on Wednesday, July 26 and the Arkansas State Criterium Championship is scheduled for Sunday, July 30, both on a closed course at Shiloh Square.
Racing on Wednesday kicks off at 4:30 p.m. with the 20-minute “First Chance Category” race designed for anyone who is new to bike racing or crit races. The 25-minute “C Race” and 35-minute “B Race” are next on the schedule.
The night ends with the “A Race,” a 45-minute race that regularly draws the area’s most talented riders, including some professional racers.
Men and women ride together in each race, but are scored separately. A 2-lap fat tire fun race is scheduled at 6:10 p.m. between the C and B races.
The series this season has so far included some big cash prizes, thanks to local businesses and spectators who donate money each night. Last month’s gambler prime prize in the A-race offered $1,100 for the first rider to cross the line with four laps to go.
Racing on Sunday starts at 8 a.m. but instead of A, B, and C races, will include multiple categories based solely on riders’ USA Cycling skill level, which range from Category 5 (beginner) to Category 1 (advanced to professional).
The course for both day’s races wind through several downtown streets and each lap should take 2-3 minutes to complete.
Prize money likely won’t be nearly as high as the Natural State Criterium Series, but winners of each state championship will compete for a champion’s jersey.