Fast and Furious |

Fast and Furious

Photo by Chris Carnel

Things will get fast and furious in downtown Truckee Thursday afternoon as 100 professional cyclists take to the streets to start two days of racing.The pair of Truckee-centered races are part of the 13th annual, Reno-based Tour de Nez bicycle celebration, which includes a host of events over the weekend in and around the biggest little city. But before any of that, pro racers will descend on Commercial Row starting at 5:45 p.m. Thursday for something called a criterium and a 108-mile road race on Friday.A “crit” race features high speeds – read danger, a short course, multiple laps, and powerful sprints. Think of the color of a NASCAR race on fewer wheels, more Lycra and propelled by human power rather than horsepower.”It’s going to be tight,” said race promoter Tim Healion. “One hundred guys coming around the corners. They’re going to be flying – 30 mph-plus. It will be a huge rainbow going by. It’s great spectating.”The Thursday evening crit is a one-hour timed race that will snake through town on a 0.6-mile circuit. Riders will start on Donner Pass Road in the middle of Commercial Row and head west. They will take a hard right on Spring Street, then an immediatetight right in front of the old Truckee Jail onto Jibboom Street. Racers will fly down Jibboom to Bridge Street, where they’ll pull another hard right and then a quick left onto Church Street. Off Church, the group will take a right back onto Donner Pass Road and back past Commercial Row.For spectators it will be an hour of fun. For the pro racers it will be an hour of excruciating output.”It’s rippin’ speed from the get-go. It’s an all-out effort,” said Paco Lindsay, owner of Paco’s Truckee Bike and Ski and a former bicycle racer. “It’s pretty much a tough bunch of dudes.”That pain, however, will be soothed by winning the series of Tour de Nez races, which include the Truckee criterium, the Truckee-Tahoe road race on Friday and a criterium on Saturday in Reno. Each race has its own prize purse, which totals $35,000. Ragin’ on the roadBut things don’t end on Thursday. On Friday, Truckee will be the epicenter for a grueling, 108-mile road race. The event starts downtown at 11:45 a.m. and heads up toward Tahoe City on Highway 89 and then to Kings Beach. The peloton then climbs up 7,200-foot Brockway Summit and then screams down through Martis Valley and back through town via West River Street.The racers will ride this 36-mile lap three times. “The whole Truckee-Tahoe circuit is such an awesome loop,” Healion said. “Truckee-Tahoe is just so beautiful. It’s a great opportunity.”

The road race was originally set to begin in Truckee and finish in Reno via the Mount Rose Highway. But shutting down traffic in Reno turned into a logistical nightmare, Healion said. So he turned to Truckee.”It’s a way better fit,” Healion said. “We’re being so well received. Merchants and business people are stoked. It’s really been fun to come up here.” Lindsay, meanwhile, said the inconvenience of closing roads versus the potential of the event growing in stature in the future is minor. High-caliber races in other areas of the country draw tens of thousands of spectators, he said.”It’s one of those events that, for a minor interruption, could be a big thing for this community,” Lindsay said. Highlights of this year’s Tour de Nez will air on a one-hour show on the Outdoor Life Network. For more information about the event and races go to Downtown CriteriumThursday June 16Race starts at 5:45 p.m. ends at 6:45 p.m.Truckee-Tahoe Road RaceFriday June 17Race starts 11:30 a.m. ends approximately 4:30 p.m.

What to look for:Teams play a critical role in cycling. In a short race like a criterium, a team can set a fast pace while pulling along and protecting the team’s sprinter for the finale. A team can also chase down a threat posed by another rider who tries to break away.Teams to watch:Health Net-Maxxis – Number-one ranked team on the 2005 National Racing CalendarSierra Nevada/Kodak GalleryWebcor Subway ExpressSeasilverRiders to watch:Gord Fraser – Health Net-Maxxis: Canadian National Champion; Winner, 2005 Wachovia Cycling Series Trenton; second place in points on the 2005 National Racing Calendar Scott Moninger – Health Net-Maxxis: Over 230 career victories, the most by any active American riderBen Jacques-Maynes – Sierra Nevada/Kodak Gallery: Winner, Nature Valley Grand Prix in 2004

Bourke Swindlehurst – Seasilver: Winner, Tour of the Gila Road Closures/parking restrictionsTruckee Criterium – June 16, race starts at 5:45 p.m. end at 6:45 p.m.Roads closed: 3:30 p.m. Donner Pass Road downtown from Bridge Street to the roundabout. Tow away zone from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.By 5:30 p.m. the following streets need to be secured and parking restrictions enforced:Jibboom St. between Spring St. and Bridge St.Bridge St. between Jibboom and Church St. Church St. between Bridge St. and Donner Pass Rd. Donner Pass Rd. between Church St. and Spring St. ParkingParking for the criterium and road race is at the balloon track area in the railyard via Church Street. One lane will be open from Brockway across the train tracks to eastbound Donner Pass Road.

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