We're having an incredible Bike Race/Bicycle Awareness weekend here in Johnson City June 5-6 as part of our Blue Plum Festival. This region wide event includes the "Roan Groan" up to 5,7550 ft. and the Sunday races for categories from "Up to 10 years old to "Professional".
This will be the sixth year for this series of races, but only the second time in downtown Johnson City. The Sanofi-aventis Criterium was a success last year in its inaugural presentation. The spectators enjoyed the European experience of a meal shared while watching an exciting sport. They sat at sidewalk tables at a number of the restaurants on the racecourse while the racers flashed by just eight feet away.
The Sunday race will be the Tennessee State Championship this year. Cash prizes of $9,500 along with Championship jerseys and medals will make this the largest attended race in Tennessee this year. We were behind Memphis and Chattanooga last year.
The People’s Community Bank Omnium combines three separate events. An omnium is a stage race bicycling event (the Tour de France is a stage race of 21 stages) consisting of three different disciplines of bicycle racing. A time trial which is an individual race against the clock, a mountain road race that tests the strength of everyone finishing on Roan Mountain and a closed course criterium that is a high speed lap race in downtown Johnson City. Each rider gains points depending on where they place in each stage and the riders with the most points win the over all prize for their category. Each event also has individual prizes for each race.
The first event, 9:00am June 5, is the Nor-Well Roan Groan. It starts in Elizabethton as a part of the Covered Bridge Festival, and races for 55 miles, finishing at Carvers Gap on Roan Mountain. The mountain top finish includes 5755 feet of climbing.
The second event which begins at 5:00pm June 5 is the Watauga Orthopaedics Time Trial. It will be raced against the clock at the Borla Complex. It has been very popular with the spectators since they can see and cheer each individual competitor as they circled the plant two and a half times against the clock.
The ultimate in spectator viewing will be June 6, in Downtown Johnson City as a part of the Blue Plum Festival. This race, the Tennessee State Championship Criterium will have the start/finish at the Downtown Square on State of Franklin and will circle four blocks. Ten different categories of racers, from kids’ under10 to professionals, will race this course beginning at 8:30am. Racers will win gold, silver or bronze championship medals along with cash and other prizes. The main event, the professional category, will begin at 2:00pm. Pros will circle through the streets and sharp corners of Downtown every 1.2 minutes for an hour. The spectators will see all the action from many locations including Freibergs, Tipton Street Pub and the Main Street Pizza Company where they can enjoy food, beverage and see the races from the sidewalk. For more information go to www.tricitiesroadclub.org then click “club events”.
Tim Hargrave, a professional racer from Auckland, New Zealand, riding for Team Type I last year said “We will be more prepared next year” after finishing mid-field last year. Team Type I had four riders last year and are sending six riders this year. They realized that the courses and the competitors are challenging.
Sponsors for this years Omnium are: People’s Community Bank, Watauga Orthopaedics, Ameriprise Financial, Sanofi-aventis, Carter County Bank; Edward Jones in Elizabethton, Fast Track Express Lube, Best Western, Johnson City Chamber of Commerce, Borla, WJHL 11Connects, and WSXM Xtreme Sports Monster. Reneau Dubberley, Race Director
Bicycle fans are gathering at the CC&O Depot and will have an opportunity to learn about Bike Walk Tennessee and our efforts to make Tennessee a more Bike/Pedestrian Friendly State. See: http://www.blueplum.org/index.php?page=cycling-event for a map and more details.