Courthouse Crit will challenge cyclists

Figure-8 course set over 10 blocks in downtown

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter



Courthouse Criterium

Spectators are welcome to line the streets. The winner of each race completes the most laps in the allotted time. Races start and finish heading west on 12th Street at Daniels Street.


10:30 a.m. — Registration opens.

11:30 a.m. — WSSB Tandem students (2 laps).

11:40 a.m. — Kiddie Crit 6 and younger.

11:45 a.m. — Kiddie Crit ages 7-9 (1 lap).

11:50 a.m. — Kiddie Crit ages 10-12 (3 laps).

12:05 p.m. — Juniors ages 12-14 (20 minutes).

12:30 p.m. — Juniors 15-18 (20 minutes).

1 p.m. — Cat 5 Men (30 minutes).

1:35 p.m. — Cat 4 Men (40 minutes).

2:20 p.m. — Cat 4 Women (30 minutes).

2:55 p.m. — Cat 3 Men (45 minutes).

3:45 p.m. — Senior Women (40 minutes).

4:30 p.m. — Masters 40+/50+ (45 minutes).

5:20 p.m. — Senior Men (60 minutes).

Colby Wait-Molyneux has raced his bike this year over roads in Belgium and Georgia.

Heather VanValkenburg has raced her bikes over tracks, roads and mountain trails.

On Sunday, both will race on the familiar streets of downtown Vancouver.

Wait-Molyneux, an 18-year-old recent graduate of Skyview High School, plans to ride in the hour-long senior men's race that concludes the Vancouver Courthouse Criterium.

VanValkenburg, who teaches sixth grade at Daybreak Middle School in Battle Ground, plans to enter the 45-minute women's senior race.

The day's events start with a tandem ride for students at the Washington State School for the Blind, which receives a portion of the proceeds from the criterium. The afternoon of racing sanctioned by the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association takes place on a 10-block, figure-8 course in downtown Vancouver.

It is a deceptively challenging racecourse, said VanValkenburg. She crashed in this race in 2011. Among the challenges are slight elevation changes on several of the sharp turns, she said.

"A figure-8 is fairly technical, because there are so many more turns than in a rectangle course," VanValkenburg said.

VanValkenburg has chased national titles racing on the velodrome. But more recently she has branched out, exploring other cycling disciplines including mountain bikes and cyclocross.

"Racing without having specific goals, I wasn't sure I would stay with it and stay motivated," she said. "Trying new things has been exciting."

Wait-Molyneux is very much focused on road racing. In April, he made his third trip to Europe, racing in Belgium as part of USA Cycling's youth development program.

He wanted to be part of the American junior team racing in September at the world championships in The Netherlands. But at the nationals last month in Augusta, Ga., Wait-Molyneux faded late in his specialty — the individual time trial — finishing seventh. He also crashed late in a road race at nationals.

Racing will remain a focus even as he starts college this fall. Wait-Molyneux said he plans attend a four-year college, but will start with a busy class load this fall at Clark College leaving more time to devote to cycling in the winter and spring.

Road closures for the Crit — Between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. today, several streets in downtown Vancouver will be closed to motor vehicles for the Vancouver Courthouse Criterium bike races.

Here are the east-west closures: West 13th Street from 100 yards west of Franklin Street to Daniels Street; West 12th Street between Franklin and Washington streets; West 11th Street between Franklin and Washington streets.

The north-south closures are: Franklin Street between West 11th and Mill Plain; Esther Street between Evergreen Boulevard and West 13th Street; Davis Street between Evergreen Boulevard and West 13th Street.; Columbia Street between Evergreen Boulevard and West 13th Street.

Also, there will be turn restrictions for cars at these intersections: from Evergreen to Columbia, and from Mill Plain to Franklin.

Local businesses and residents will have access, but should expect delays. Intersections will be monitored by volunteers.

People traveling to Esther Short Park from the north should use Washington Street or Kauffman/Jefferson streets.

Triathlon at Frenchman's Bar — The Girlfriends and Dudes Triathlon, a sprint triathlon that caters to both novice and experienced triathletes, takes place today. Competitors start the half-mile swim in the Columbia River in groups beginning at 9 a.m. A 12.5-mile bike ride and a 3-mile run follow the swim, with those courses following flat roads and finishing at the park, making it spectator friendly.

The awards ceremony will be at 11:30 a.m. Post-race activities include live music, food and a health fair with fitness vendors.

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