About 200 bicycle racers will compete this weekend in the sixth annual Oak Ridge Velo Classic.
The competitions include road races that start at 8 a.m. Saturday at the former K-25 site, now renamed East Tennessee Technology Park, and time trials that start at 4 p.m., also at ETTP.
Starting at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, riders will compete in a criterium, which is like “NASCAR on bikes,” said Lou Rabinowitz, one of the organizers. The criterium races will be on a closed loop at the Horizon Center business park in west Oak Ridge. Competitors can ride very close to each other and could reach top speeds of up to 30 mph or more. Rabinowitz said it’s the best competition for spectators to watch.
During Saturday’s road races, bicyclists will compete on a route that varies from 17 miles to 72 miles, depending upon the athlete’s age and category. The road races could end at about 2 p.m.
In the time trials, riders will compete against a clock, rather than each other, on a route that includes part of Bear Creek Road and Highway 58.
Rabinowitz said this year’s races will feature a state championship road race for junior competitors between 10 and 18 years old. It’s the third time the Velo Classic has had at least one state championship.
Rabinowitz said the Velo Classic includes some top athletes, including a former Olympian and a member of the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame. The races attract riders from places like Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, North Carolina, and Texas.
Anyone interested in watching the criterium races, scheduled through 3:35 p.m. Sunday, should use the first entrance to Horizon Center, the easternmost entrance, if they are coming from Oak Ridge, Rabinowitz said, because the races are on the western side of the business park.
For more information, visit http://oakridgeveloclassic.weebly.com/index.html.
To see the race flyer and schedule, visit http://oakridgeveloclassic.weebly.com/race-flyer.html.
KnoxVelo is the host bike club for the Oak Ridge Velo Classic, Rabinowitz said.