Breaking away around Windsor

Roads closed as cyclists set for first criterium race

Men’s elite racers take a lap at Windsor Park at the 2011 Oak Bay Bicycle Cops For Cancer Criterium.

Men’s elite racers take a lap at Windsor Park at the 2011 Oak Bay Bicycle Cops For Cancer Criterium.

Sitting on the curb is OK but stepping into any of the streets surrounding Windsor Park on the morning of Sunday, April 22 may not be a good idea. That’s when about 80 cyclists from Greater Victoria as well as the U.S., up-Island and the Lower Mainland will be rounding the corners at breakneck speed in the first of four road races set for this spring and summer.

Organized by the Victoria Wheelers Cycling Club the road race “is challenging for the elite but also perfect for entry-level riders,” says club spokesperson Jenny Skinner. Registered in one of three categories, riders make anywhere from 30 to 50 laps of the one-kilometre course which consists of the quadrangle of streets around Windsor Park: Windsor, Transit and Currie Roads and Newport Avenue. Streets are closed from 7:30 a.m. to noon for the event.

Cyclists follow riding etiquette, Skinner says. Riders should not just draft before breaking away, they should at least take one turn leading and allow others to draft behind them. “You have to be steady, you can’t cut in really quick,” she adds. Although riders are taught to slowly make position changes, accidents do occur and pile-ups are not uncommon.

Registration is between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. This year there will be a kids race, for those 12 and under, at approximately 10 a.m. Windsor Pavilion will be open on race day for visitors and racers. For more information about the races go to victoriacyclingleague.wordpress.com.

Did you know?

In the cycling race world, “taking the pole” means taking turns leading the pack. “You’re essentially pulling the whole group because you’re breaking all the wind and they’re drafting when behind the one in the lead,” says race organizer Jenny Skinner.