A bicycle racing event in Oak Ridge on July 25 and 26 will feature three types of races, a Family Wellness Festival, and a Kids Bike Rodeo.
It’s the URS-CH2M Oak Ridge LLC (UCOR) Oak Ridge Velo Classic.
Three types of races that include 13 categories of competitors will be offered. The road races and time trials will be staged from the parking area of the East Tennessee Technology Park beginning at 9 a.m., Saturday, July 25, and the criterium races will be held at the Horizon Center beginning at 8:30 a.m., Sunday, July 26. This year’s criterium races—which are very much like “NASCAR on bikes”—have been designated the state championships by the Tennessee Bicycle Racing Association.
The race promoters expect almost 400 competitors for the two-day event. The Comfort Inn is the official race hotel and is offering special rates to out-of-town competitors. Early race packet pickup will be held at a reception on Friday evening, July 24, poolside at the Comfort Inn.
A popular addition to the Classic last year was the Family Wellness Festival. This year’s Festival will take place at the Horizon Center on Sunday, July 26. The festival kicks off with a noncompetitive Family Fun Ride at 10:30 a.m. Individuals and families of all levels are welcome to participate and will have options of riding a 12-mile course, 21-mile portion of the juniors’ road race course, or 32-mile portion of the adult competitors’ road race course that traverses gorgeous East Tennessee country roads. The Fun Ride will end at about the same time the Pro/1/2/3 criterium race begins. Participants in the Fun Ride who stay for that race will be entered into a prize drawing. Participation in the Fun Ride is free, but each participant will be required to sign a waiver and must wear a helmet. Parents must sign a waiver for minor children.
Another feature of the Wellness Festival will be a Kids Bike Rodeo. Children 9 and under will be able to participate in fun skills activities and safety training. Parents and children can drop in to participate in the Rodeo at the Horizon Center anytime between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Roane State Community College is providing T-shirts to Rodeo participants while supplies last. Parents are encouraged to bring cameras; children will have the opportunity to have their photos taken on the podium with State Champions who will be wearing their championship jerseys and with 1996 Olympic bike racer Kent Bostick, who will be wearing his Olympic “kit” for the photo op. There is no charge to participate in the Rodeo, but parents must sign waivers in order for their children to participate. Helmets are required, but a limited number of helmets donated by the Children’s Clinic of Oak Ridge will be given to children who need them at no charge.
The title sponsor for this eighth annual event is UCOR, the U.S. Department of Energy’s cleanup contractor for the Oak Ridge Reservation. Other sponsors include Roane State Community College, Akins Public Strategies, and Street Legal Industries. Bicycle shops supporting the event include Oak Ridge Bicycle Center, Cedar Bluff Cycles, and the Bike Zoo. The clubs promoting the events are KnoxVelo, Southern Cycling Operations, and Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains Cycling.
Hot Bagel will have lunch items, snacks, and cold soft drinks available for purchase at the races and Wellness Festival. Hot Bagel is also preparing sack lunches to be given to race volunteers on Saturday and Sunday.
There are many volunteer opportunities for the two-day event. The greatest need is for volunteers to act as course marshals for the Saturday road races. Course marshals ensure that motorized vehicles yield to racers at intersections on the race course. In exchange for a few hours of work, each volunteer will be given a race T-shirt, sack breakfast or lunch, cold soft drinks and water, and snacks.
Each year the race promoters make a contribution of at least $500 to a local service organization. This year the recipient organization will be the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge.
Information about the UCOR Oak Ridge Velo Classic races, Wellness Festival, and volunteer opportunities can be found at the event website at www.oakridgeveloclassic.weebly.com. Event updates will also be posted on the Oak Ridge Velo Classic page on Facebook.
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