The Patuxent Velo Bicycle Racing Club will present the Mid-Atlantic Bicycle Racing Association’s Leonardtown Crit 2012 this Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the square, where racers of all ages and skill levels are invited to vie for a number of cash prizes and medals to be awarded throughout the day.
The criterium will feature more than 200 cyclists from Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia and Delaware.
A criterium, or “crit,” is a race held on a short, closed-circuit course where acceleration and bike handling are key. This year’s racers will face a .7 mile triangular course through downtown Leonardtown, with the start/finish line right in the middle of the square. Racers will proceed down Washington Street toward the water and into a 120-degree turn that abruptly transitions from down to a slight uphill right onto Lawrence Avenue in the apex of the turn. The big ring climb then opens into a broad straightaway past the Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department. Two 90-degree turns onto Shadrick Street and back onto Washington Street then bring the course back toward the start/finish line.
The shortest of the races is 15 laps, or 10 miles; the longest is 43 laps, or 30 miles.
Race Director Steve Whetstone said that 195 racers had already preregistered for the race as of Tuesday afternoon, and same-day registration is also available.
“It’s one of the few venues in the D.C. area where we actually get to race through a town square like Leonardtown, so that makes it interesting,” Whetstone said, who is also treasurer for the Patuxent Velo Bicycle Racing Club. “Most of the courses are through industrial areas, but here it’s more scenic, and for spectators, you can literally sit and have dinner on the square and watch the race at the same time.”
A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Special Olympics of St. Mary’s, the Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department and the Leonardtown Volunteer Rescue Squad. Whetstone said his club has donated more than $14,000 to Special Olympics of St. Mary’s since 1995.
“I think it’s great that they are making those connections and giving back to our community,” said Maria Fleming, Leonardtown public relations and events coordinator. “Too, the event will be bringing in people from other states, and our hope is always that when people come to town for events like this that they’ll want to come back to vacation or visit again in the future.
“It just brings something different to town; you’re not going to see this anywhere else around here,” Fleming said.
If you goThe race course in Leonardtown will be closed Sunday to traffic between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., but people will be able to get around town. Spectators can park in the public lots behind The Hair Company and Corner Critters. Restaurants will be open, and the Pax Velo team will be providing music and race announcements throughout the day. The race will be held rain or shine.
Registration opens at 7:20 a.m. and closes 15 minutes prior to each event. All riders must have a USAC racing license, and entry fees vary between race categories. One-day license applications will be available at registration desk on race day for Cat 5 Men or Cat 4 Women only. (One-day licenses are not eligible to win the championship). Children younger than 10 may bring their bicycle or tricycle and enter the youth race at 11:45 a.m.
For more information, visit www.paxvelo.com, or contact Steve Whetstone at 301-904-1715 or the Commissioners of Leonardtown at 301-475-9791.