Racers ready to roll into downtown Salisbury
“NASCAR on two wheels” returns to the streets of downtown Salisbury on Thursday.
The Historic Salisbury Criterium begins at 6 p.m., with the first race at 6:15 p.m. The evening includes bicycle races featuring professional and amateur competitors. Proceeds from this year’s event, called “The Race to Protect Children,” will benefit Prevent Child Abuse Rowan.
In addition to being for a good cause, the event promises a good show. Last year, organizer Neal Boyd compared bicycle racing to motor sports.
“It’s like NASCAR on two wheels,” he said before the 2008 Historic Salisbury Criterium. “There’s lots of speed, lots of color.”
The Salisbury Criterium is part of the Giordana Crossroads Classic, five days of criterium bicycle racing designed to attract professional and amateur cyclists from around the nation to the Piedmont of North Carolina. The cyclists will compete for more than $18,000 during the five days and will travel to five different North Carolina cities: Mocksville, Concord, Salisbury, Charlotte, Statesville and Harrisburg.
The event’s Web site calls Salisbury’s “one of the most unique courses during the nine-day event. The course in Salisbury is a ‘figure-eight’ loop that is exciting for the race participants and spectators.” The course is nearly a mile in length.
The races will start and finish on North Main Street between Council and Liberty streets in front of the Rowan County Courthouse. The route travels south on North Main, makes left turns on Council, Depot and Liberty, then turns right onto North Main before making left turns on Cemetery, Jackson and Kerr streets and returning to North Main.
The last race, featuring professional riders, starts at 8:45 p.m.
Races include “masters” categories for riders 35 and older and 45 and older. The races range from 30 minutes to one hour in length.
For more information, log on to www.crossroadscyclingclassic.com.