Downtown bike racing returns to Springdale this month

Brent Grist of the BMC/Walmart cycling team leads a field of riders through the start-finish line at the Natural State Criterium Series in downtown Springdale. (Flyer photo/Todd Gill)

A spectator-friendly bike racing series will return to downtown Springdale for another season beginning this month.

The Natural State Criterium Series includes three weeknight events in April, May and June, 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 at high speeds. 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.

Last year’s unprecedented lap prizes (or “primes) as high as $1,000 cash, helped attract over 120 racers, with field sizes as large as 54 riders.

The series kicks off from 4:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 17. Events are also scheduled on May 15 and June 12.

Each night begins with a 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 each night’s schedule and are separated based on a rider’s USA Cycling skill category. A 2-lap fat tire fun race is scheduled between the C and B races.

Each night ends with the “A Race,” a 45-minute race that typically draws the area’s most talented riders, including some professional racers.

» Read about the evolution of the event here

2024 Natural State Criterium Series

Dates: Wednesdays April 17, May 15, June 12
Location: Emma Avenue – Downtown Springdale, Arkansas
Registration: $15-25 per race at


4:30 p.m. – First chance – 20 minutes
5 p.m. – Women only 3/4/Novice – 25 minutes
5:30 p.m. – C Race (men/women) – 25 minutes
6:10 p.m. – Fat Tire – 2 laps
6:30 p.m. – B Race (men/women) – 35 minutes
7:15 p.m. – A Race (men/women) – 45 minutes