The Mass Ave Criterium isn’t just a bicycle race. It’s an entire production, one that showcases the best of the best of Indiana’s bicycling community, and is centered around 40-mph blurs of spandex, helmets and spoked wheels, zooming past spectators in a rush of adrenaline.
Hosted by NUVO Newsweekly and sponsored by New Belgium, this year’s Mass Ave Criterium will take place on Saturday, Aug. 13, beginning at 11:30 a.m. and ending at 9 p.m.
The Criterium’s flat triangular course is .66 miles long and spans Massachusetts Avenue, Vermont Street and East Street. In addition to 2011 state championship races, there will also be fundraising and recreational events, including Street Sprints and Fixed-Gear races.
The Police & Fire Indianapolis Championship will be part of this year’s Criterium, and proceeds from these races will be donated to a charity chosen by the winner of the Police & Fire race. Recreational events include a Bike Polo match, as well as multiple kids races — five total, divided up according to the riders’ age — hosted by FreeWheelin’ Community Bikes of Indianapolis.
FreeWheelin’ is also sponsoring the Kids’ Rodeo (noon to 2:30 p.m.), a bicycle safety exhibition that promises to be both fun and informative. Other family events include the bicycle obstacle course, part of the family-friendly New Belgium Beer Garden, located in Davlan Park at the corner of Mass Ave and Alabama Street, open to spectators of all-ages and serving beer to those 21 and over.
With its marriage of Mass Ave culture and first-rate American cycling, the Mass Ave Criterium should bring out another large crowd. In anticipation of a hefty turnout, there will be a Pedal & Park option available, as well as a valet parking lot for bicycles.
A full day of racing for cyclists at all levels culminates at dusk with the Men’s Category 1|2 Race at 7:50, a race that will also serve as the Indiana State Criterium Championship. Local elite riders from teams like NUVO and Texas Roadhouse will compete with pro riders and members of national elite squads traveling as far as California.
Mass Ave Crit 2010 (Slideshow)
Scenes from last year's 3rd annual Mass Ave Criterium (August 14, 2010).