The Mens Elite Road Circuit is here! Excitement is at a fever pitch! What does a non-cycling-crazy Richmond even look like??
Photo by: ctw.olympus
This is where I leave you–my final rundown before I pack up my bindle and stroll off into the sunset. Cycling! I’ll never forget you! Please do sign my yearbook before you leave, everyone.
Womens Elite Road Circuit
The Womens Elite Road Circuit has come and gone, and with it, the hopes and dreams of many cyclists. But Lizzie Armitstead from Great Britain, the new world champ of women’s cycling, isn’t sweating it. In fact, she didn’t even look like she was breathing hard after she sprinted over that finish line. Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) and Megan Guarnier (USA! USA!) were hot on her heels.
It is still shocking to me how it all works–the person in front is almost always losing. Someone back there is waiting for the chips to fall and hoping that they’ll continue to fall how she wants them to, so she can do some complex combination of surges on one or the other side of her chosen riders and ultimately clinch the rainbow jersey.
If, like me, you had to make an executive decision to miss this race (I know, I know), this highlights article and video will be essential.
But if you’re not like me, and you made it out to the race (so jellz), you should still watch that video because it will be a great explainer of what you saw–particularly if you saw it in just the bits and pieces that came by you as you cheered from the sidelines.
Mens Junior Road Race
As far as the Juniormen go, Felix Gall from Austria won the gold in 3 hours, 11 minutes, and 9 seconds, followed extremely closely by the French cyclist Clement Betouigt-Suire, who was followed by the Dane Rasmus Pedersen.
Today’s Big Bike Action™
Mens Elite Road Circuit
- 9:00 AM – 3:40 PM
- Course map. (Note the remote start–the blue hashed line–where they’ll push off at University of Richmond, head through Carytown, and get on the regular route at the Jefferson Davis statue, the statue that says “Welcome to Richmond! We have a ton of issues we will eventually work on!”)
- Team USA: Brent Brookwalter, Lawson Craddock, Tyler Farrar, Alex Howes, Ben King (our Charlottesville hero), and Taylor Phinney.
It all comes down to this: the Mens Elite Road Race is today.
THE MENS ELITE ROAD RACE AT THE UCI WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!
The differences between this and the Tour de France, which you’ve no doubt heard of, are many and significant. The teams are national (think World Cup versus the regular pro soccer seasons) and the race itself is just one and done. The Tour is a tour–many days, long-term goals, endurance. This is 162 consecutive miles of physical exertion and mental gymnastics in 16 laps. And those laps are around our city!!
Look at for Spain, Italy, and Poland, says Matt Crane. Both of their leaders are salty old dogs who have been around the block and know their strengths and weaknesses.
I am proud in a weird perverse way of the awed tone that gets into commentators’ voices when they say “Libby Hill.” Upon that hill–the hill where what’s-his-face looked out over the James and promptly named Richmond, the hill that gives you a stunning view of the city at sunset, and the hill where my dog regularly and expertly poops–it is now the hill that strikes fear into the cyclist’s heart. Those wet cobblestones and those sharp turns are now becoming famous for crashes, attacks, and the hot, hot heat of the peloton breathing down the neck of those brash enough to attempt a breakaway.
Our course here is SO challenging (I always knew we were gifted) that it’ll take guys like Alejandro Valverde (Spain), Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland), and Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) to weather the storms, let the young guys get cocky and slip up, and mash like they’ve never mashed before right there at the end to win the day. And, hopefully, burst into charming exhausted tears like Lizzie Armitstead.
Where to Watch
- FanFest (Broad and 5th Street) — It’s free, it’s the finish line (and the start line), and you can see the rest of the race from a Jumbotron. I hear it is great for families, and dang that last moment has got to be a lot of fun.
- Fan Zones — Libby Hill, 23rd Street (that is, that crazy steep cobblestone hill at 23rd and E. Grace Streets). There are Beer Gardens there, and you’re very close to my house, if you want to leave me notes.
- VIP & Hospitality Tents — There’s one at Libby Hill and one at the Broad Street Pavilion between 3rd and 5th.
- Broad Street between Belvidere and 2nd Streets — Just a suggestion: pop into the new Quirk Hotel and take a load off.
- Monroe Park
- Monument Avenue
- Lombardy and Main Streets (home of the very fun and very new West Main Village little street festival, which will be going on all weekend)
- Main Street Station and the 17th Street Farmers Market — Wish the racers luck before they head up Libby Hill and 23rd Street. Then turn around to watch their newly anguished faces on the way to the finish line—all while partaking in local food, beer, and a popup market (you, not the cyclists).
- Virginia Capital Trail on Dock Street — Plenty of head cover and there’s the river to look at pensively while you try to calm your mounting nerves.
- Governor Street
- The Live Stream. It is very, very useful and illuminating.
Roads and Reminders
Don’t worry too much about the Carytown situation-that’ll all be over pretty quickly, and remember, it’s not part of the circuit. It’s like the path to the circuit. The foyer, if you will. If the cyclists are smart, they will stop into Mongrel really quickly and stock up on greeting cards. JK, nothing is open in Carytown at 9:00 AM on a Sunday, so honestly, you should be fine if you really have to run a C-town errand at some point tomorrow.
The navigate.richmond2015.com map is a little confusing, and you’ll have to click on “Road Circuit Remote Start” on the poorly named “Map Legend” to see the whole thing.
As for the rest of the day, just aim for somewhere on the above “Where to Watch” list and park where you can. Or, take GRTC. It’s all very doable.
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- How and where to watch this dang thing in person.
- How to watch the races on TV or on a digital TV equivalent of your choosing.
- How to ride the bus to the race.
- So, what all is closed?
- How to best enjoy the Big Bike Race™ as a family.
- Don’t forget to send us all of your amazing pictures!
- Attend one of the millions of supporting events all around town.
- And, always, always remember that there will not be 450,000 human beings downtown over the next week.