Perhaps one of my favorite events all year in Burlington is the Green Mountain Stage Race Dealer.com Criterium. This is when hundreds of cyclists with calves the size of grapefruits parade around town wearing ridiculous Spandex unis. And they also bike. Fast. Like 30 miles per hour fast. My car can barely go that fast.
If you were one of the many motorists cursing the blocked streets, here's why. The course takes cyclists up Church Street for a block and then snakes through the city on College, then up St. Paul, over on Bank, down on Pine and back up Main. Depending on what category the racer is in, he or she will pedal between 25 and 50 miles. If you have ever tried to ride as fast as you possibly can for 25 miles, you will appreciate the difficulty of this effort.
This year's race drew a smaller crowd than normal, perhaps because the weather was just so-so. Normally, people line the course, drawn to the event by the oddity of watching bikes take over streets that are traditionally packed with cars. And to watch crashes, of which there are always a few. But no one ever admits that.
A number of Vermonters raced in the respective pro fields, including Emma Bast, Jamey Driscoll, Josh Dillon and Jake Hollenbach. Other pros with VT connections included UVM grad Will Dugan and Middlebury grads Ted King and Megan Guarnier, who won the women's pro crit. I was going to race in the pro women's field, but I would have embarrassed them with my mad skillz, so I bowed out at the last minute. You're welcome, racers.
Below is a handy aerial map of the course that I stole from the Internet. Thank you SJC, whoever you are.
Here are some photos of the race. Note that the unicyclist was not a participant, just a spectator. Though I'm pretty sure a unicycle crit would draw more people.