For a second straight year, Ketchum is fit for the crit.
The 2018 Idaho State Championship Criterium bike race will come back to the west side of town on June 16, after passing administrative muster earlier this week.
On orders from the Ketchum City Council, Mayor Neil Bradshaw met with police, event organizer Mark Lovlien, city staff and local business owner Greg Moss Wednesday morning to set the routing for the circuit race. At Monday night’s City Council meeting, Moss—who owns Moss Garden Center on Seventh Avenue between Washington and Warm Springs Road—voiced concerns that associated road closures, coinciding with construction on Warm Springs Road, would choke business during a busy Saturday.
“Warm Springs will be closed, Seventh will be closed, and Washington will be closed,” Moss said at the time. “We have three streets that front our property, and they’ll all be closed on one of our biggest days of the year. There’s too much activity in that part of town to run a race through there on a peak weekend.”
The council, which initially planned to approve the road closures in a batch of items on its consent agenda, agreed. It pulled the item for deeper discussion—and ultimately instructed Bradshaw to hash out a deal on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Lovlien told the Mountain Express that they had reached an agreement, deciding to keep the corner open for vehicles to access the business during the race.
“Greg Moss has been super awesome about working this out,” Lovlien said. “I understand where he’s coming from: He’s pinched by that construction, and it’s a really big week. We’re going to make sure the road’s never closed to get down to him.”
The “L” shaped track will run clockwise from the pump park on Second Avenue, hooking east on Eighth Street before turning onto Washington. From there, racers will duck onto Seventh Street before Moss, cut south for two blocks on First Avenue to Fifth Street and, finally, finish the loop back along Second.
During criterium-style races, a group of bikers run a closed circuit for a set amount of time, hammering through as many laps as they can. A typical lap spans somewhere between one kilometer and one mile, Lovlien said.
“Last year, racers loved the course,” he said. “They thought the setup down here was one of the best in Idaho.”
It almost didn’t happen. Lovlien initially plotted a route downtown. But, after businesses complained, the event was canceled—two days before roughly 100 racers were scheduled to show. That’s when Ketchum Fire Chief Mike Elle jumped in to find the new route, and save the race, Lovlien said.
For spectators, it’s one of the most exciting. Watch the Tour de France, and you may see riders streak past for a split second; in crit racing, you see them come through every couple of minutes.
“There’s a reason why its so popular to watch,” Lovlien said. “It’s super crowd-friendly. The action is pretty much nonstop.”
Lovlien expects most spectators to hang out by the pump park, where the announcer will call the race. There, you’ll find food, drinks and music.
Or, for those inclined, they can get involved. The races, which start at 3 p.m., are split into categories based on skill, and it’s open to all levels. Entrants just need a one-day license to compete from USA Cycling, which are available day-of.
Mark Dee: email@example.com