Your daily bike race: September 24th

Time to recuperate, recover, and reflect. For the cyclists, not us! Never us! Boring!


  • Vasil Kiryienka from Belarus won the Men’s Elite Time Trial yesterday! Guys, this is an exciting sorta-upset, in that he finished a full minute and 16 seconds ahead of the favorite, Tony Martin. Do not be fooled by Tony Martin’s name! He is not an American that you should feel sad about! He is a Dastardly German, a fellow countryman of the guy who beat us in the Men’s Junior Time Trials, which I will never forget or forgive.
  • Adriano Malori nabbed the silver, and I am pleased he did, because it gives me an opportunity to tell the story of how I saw him and his entire Italia team at Short Pump Mall on Tuesday night. They had asked a passerby to take a photo of them all in front of Hollister. You may have Versace, Italy, but please…our cheaply made jean shorts are to-die-for.
  • Coming in third, French rider Jerome Coppel had the distinct honor of zooming in front of my car as I waited patiently at an intersection. But seriously, he was 17th in the starting rankings, so good on him.
  • Attendance at the Stuart Circle turn, where the RVANews office loudly cheered USA’s Lawson Craddock, was bustling and fun. We are thoroughly addicted.

Today’s Big Bike Action™

It’s inbetweentimes today, as time trials are now complete and road circuits are about to begin. Teams will be training for their shot at the gold on a course that has been called “cobbled and technical.” May we all strive to earn that distinction in our lives. 

So what to do? Well, it’s a great opportunity to check out all the teams in little groups, practicing their strategies before they get sucked into the churning cosmos of the peloton.

You may be asking, What even are cycling strategies? You will learn, young Padawan, and we will teach you. Not because we knew these things, mind you, but because a couple of experts helped us understand what the heck we were watching and how to get excited about the drama you didn’t realize was unfolding in front of you. Former pro-cyclist and current Richmonder Matt Crane has helped me put together a comprehensive road race explainer. It’ll be available later today! I suggest you read up so that your experience this weekend will be choice!

Let’s talk about the course! 

All road races will take place on a challenging, technical and inner-city road circuit.

The peloton heads west from Downtown Richmond, working their way onto Monument Avenue, a paver-lined, historic boulevard that’s been named one of the “10 Great Streets in America.” Racers will take a 180-degree turn at the Jefferson Davis monument and then maneuver through the Uptown district and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Halfway through the circuit, the race heads down into Shockoe Bottom before following the canal and passing Great Shiplock Park, the start of the Virginia Capital Trail. A sharp, off-camber turn at Rocketts Landing brings the riders to the narrow, twisty, cobbled 200-meter climb up to Libby Hill Park in the historic Church Hill neighborhood.

A quick descent, followed by three hard turns leads to a 100-meter-long climb up 23rd Street. Once atop this steep cobbled hill, riders descend into Shockoe Bottom. This leads them to the final 300-meter-long climb up Governor Street. At the top, riders face a 680-meter false flat to the finish.

To sum up in Richmond terms: Monument, the Fan, Shockoe, up that insane Libby Hill cobblestone climb, up the insaner 23rd Street climb, back to Shockoe via 18th Street (which…guys, not the prettiest block there at 18th and Broad, just saying), back uptown. 

On Sunday, things get special for the Elite Men (I won’t even bother with that joke1), and they start off at University of Richmond. It’s completely worth your time to sit for a bit with the map and envision how it goes through the city. Your brain will remember things better this way and you’ll have to refer back here a lot less often.

Important note about the maps: The UR start is referred to as a “remote start” (meaning they don’t circle back there at all–it’s like a spur that leads them to the big circuitous route). On the Sunday, September 27th map on, you won’t see this unless you click on “Road Circuit Remote Start,” and it’s not reflected when you click the “Street Closures” box (possibly because the roads aren’t closed very long?). The UR remote start roads–which include Carytown–will not be closed today.

It is reflected on the map with a blue hashed line, but there is no legend telling you what the dang lines mean. Allow me to vent one frustration: a lack of map legends in general. Now back to Positivetown!

Road Circuit Training

Roads and reminders

Road and exit closures will be rampant between now and the end of the race. And tomorrow is when tourist levels will begin to climb, with a sharp 23rd-street-esque uptick on Saturday for the elite dudes. Believe me when I tell you it is beyond satisfying to scream encouragement to American teams and see them smile through their pain. It feels so patriotic and exciting, and, surely, this is what the Founding Fathers envisioned–grimacing skinny people on wheels.

If I didn’t have to read these Road Guide PDFs (PDF), there’s no way I would voluntarily sit through them, but it turns out it is super helpful. For instance, I have learned that the Franklin Street exit (74B) from I-95 South will be closed between 9:00 and 5:00 PM. If you’re trying to get to the area, use Exit 75 (“Interstate 64 East Williamsburg Norfolk”) and get off immediately (before you’re really even “on”) at “3rd Sreet Coliseum Convention Center.” 

Reminder: If you have a cowbell sitting around, now is the time to proudly dust it off. 

Roads should reopen by 1:00 PM, but, you know. Take that with a shrugging emoticon, because sometimes these things go late.

— ∮∮∮ —

— ∮∮∮ —

Survival guide

  1.  On that note, if you see any women training, be sure to remind them that their course isn’t as long as the men’s so they shouldn’t worry too much about smudging their mascara. 
  • error

    Report an error

Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

There are no reader comments. Add yours.