Last night a summer ritual commenced here in Bend, criterium (or crit) races at Summit High School (put on by Central Oregon Racing). For those not familiar with bicycle racing, a criterium is a race run on a fairly flat, short circuit (typically not longer than 1 mile). Racers do a set number of laps or race for a set time. There are intermediate sprints (a.k.a. primes (prn. preems)), which add to the excitement as racers try to win swag or money (depending on the race). These races are great for American spectators as they tend to be fast, dangerous and fairly short (and often filled with crashes)–kind of the NASCAR of bike racing. The racers are separated by age or ability (or both). The C.O. series has 3 categories: Women & Jrs (under 18), B (category 3/4/5 racers any age), A (category 1/2/3 racers any age).
This weeks race is the prelude to a big week of cycling in Bend, which will see racers from all over Oregon and the US come to compete in the USACycling National Road championships (Tues-Sun), the NW Crossing Hullabaloo crit (Friday) and Pickett’s Charge Mtn bike race (Sunday). Turn out was somewhat light as some racers are getting ready for National or for the venerable Elkhorn bicycle stage race in Baker City, OR this weekend. Here are some highlights from last nights race and a gallery of all the photos shot. Stay tuned next week to Cascade Event Photography (my event photography company) for more pictures from all the racing.