Portland Twilight Criterium

Friday night after I got home from the pool, Michael took one look at me and gave me a hug. I needed it. After a few minutes of hugs we headed downtown to see the Portland Twilight Criterium. What is the CriteriumCri*te*ri*um (krI’-tir-E-&m), noun [Latin]: A bicycle street race. Competitors must complete the most laps in a set period of time. Very fast. Very exciting.

And it was very fast. And very exciting! When we first got downtown to the Park Blocks the amateur cyclists were on the course first.

The cool thing about the course is that you can get really really close to the action! Plus there were food carts and a beer garden set up. We planned on heading to the beer garden but never made it there.

The amateurs were pretty fun to watch–there was even a girl participating, which I thought was fantastic. The bikers were going pretty fast but nothing compared to the professional cyclists we were about to see!

We hung out watching the amateurs for awhile, walking around the Park Blocks course to see everything.

After the amateur riders there were the Roller Derby girls that did a few laps around the course. The Roller Derby girls are pretty popular in Portland but I’ve never been to a show before.

Michael and I were hungry (I was famished after barely eating all day and then swimming) so we walked down to the food carts to find some dinner. At 7pm on a Friday most of the food carts were closed. There were two Mexican stands, a Korean BBQ and a fish cart open. I really wanted a burrito.

So Mr. Taco it was!

I got the bean, cheese and rice burrito. Michael got the bean and cheese burrito. We walked back to the Park Blocks to sit down and eat dinner while we watched the race. My burrito was freakin’ awesome! It was big and delicious.

(Man do I look awful. That’s what crying all day looks like.) The professional cyclists were about to start! After we were done eating we walked around a bit more and I ran into one of the professional riders who was stretching and getting ready for the race. I asked if I could take his picture and he agreed. We chatted for a few and then I wished him luck. This is Joe:

Good luck Joe! The professional riders were amazing to watch! They were remarkably faster than the amateurs and it was so awesome to see them up close. These are the guys that will someday make it to the big races like maybe the Tour de France!

These cyclists were so fast that most of the pictures were blurry–even using Sport Mode on the camera!

If you want to see some amazing professional photos of these races, you can see the review of the race here. There was one crash near us. It was right around a corner from where we were standing. We heard it but didn’t see it. We heard from someone else that one cyclist crashed coming out of the corner, another cyclist hit him and the bike jumped over the downed cyclist! Luckily everyone got back up and continued on the race.

I’m not sure how many laps they had to do. I didn’t see that there was a lap counter until about half way through the race I think.

Another example of how fast these guys were going–they created a tremendous amount of wind as they rode by. So much wind that sometimes it was cold and people’s hair would spin wildly.

There was a front runner of the race for most of it. I’m not sure names but we recognized the leader and the crowd would go NUTS whenever he went by. He had a decent lead on the peloton. Michael was counting the time when the pack leader went by us and when the peloton passed us. At one point it was 14 seconds, then 11 seconds, then 7 seconds. Then the peloton caught up to the leader and passed him. The next time he came around he was in the middle of the pack! 🙁

The race came to an end and they all did one last victory lap. The winner looked really stoked. It was such a fun event to go to, and it was free! We’ll definitely be going next year.

The bikes the racers had were impressive and expensive. Everyone biked their heart out and it was cool to experience. It definitely got me excited about The Portland Century! The race was over and we walked down to Voodoo Donuts (Michael wanted a donut) but the line was so long we decided to head home instead. That’s when we stopped at Krispie Kreme. 😉

QUESTION: Have you ever been to a professional race before?



20 Responses

  1. Good thing Joe’s not hot or anything. Hol-eee. *fanning myself*

    That looks totally amazing. Sorry we missed that, and we’ll miss the Century. Maybe next year we can plan better.

    I may be trying to gather a group together for PSU’s Farmer’s Market on the 27th so let me know if you guys are around!

    (you don’t look so bad. GIve yourself a break. You had a hard week!)

    1. Hahaha! Isn’t he a cutie? And it didn’t hurt that he was charming and totally ripped in his spandex. 😀

      Not sure yet what we’re doing on the 27th. Let me check.

  2. We stumbled across that race by accident a few years back-quite the thing to watch!

    I used to be a nanny, and the father in the family had been like some sort of semi-pro cyclist before he had kids. He told me he did some 24 hour criteriums-style races. Same loop over and over for a full day!

  3. Fun! Good way to get inspired too. I think I’ve been to something like that, but wasn’t fully aware of what it was, but it was a bike race similar to this. Very exciting to watch.

    1. It was totally inspiring. I wished I had the ability to do something like that! But I am more of a distance person (running or biking) and less of a SPEED person when it comes to those activities…

  4. I went to one a few years ago in Pennsylvania. Was loads of fun. And you’re right, the pics were blurry. In fact, I was just using a cell phone camera, and the bikers were barely visible. They almost blurred right out of the shot.

  5. Criteriums are fun races but can extremely hard. I am just getting back into cycling and have been racing in a training series to get better. It nice to see that race with such a large crowd there. Most of my races are in undeveloped neighborhoods.

  6. I went to a pro bike race a couple years ago and they go so fast! We were on a corner and they came screaming around it and it was kind of scary, actually. It’s over too fast, though.

    I hate crying. The next day my face will be so swollen and puffy and then I feel so thirsty.

  7. Sounds like a fun event to find and sometimes nothing better than dinner from a food truck when you’ve had one of those days! I’m in Cincinnati and we have an event here called the Hyde Park Blast – it’s a 4mile run in the morning and then a cycling event in the evening. It draws people from all over and like you said, it’s really awesome to see the sport up close and personal as the riders wizz along the route!

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