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By Sally Griffin

Colorado has a reputation for providing challenges to bike-riding athletes and, next month, we will have our own local version. The Criterium is part of the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado (BRAC) Series and will be held in the heart of Wheat Ridge. You are invited on Sunday, June 10 to root for your favorite rider while tasting your favorite beer at the Ridge at 38 Criterium Bike Race and Brewfest. It is free, fun and exciting. Racing starts at 8:30 a.m. and runs until 5:30. Beer samplign runs from 2-8 p.m.

The Ridge at 38 Criterium is a cycling race on a fast, 1.15-mile course. Participating cyclists ride as many laps of the closed-loop circuit as possible within the time limit. This ensures a lot of action and excitement for spectators and athletes. Criterium races – aka “crits” – are supposed to be short, fast, heart-pounding events. This year, the race will once again act as the Colorado Criterium State Championships.

The Criterium celebrates Wheat Ridge bicycling and criterium history and, hopefully, inspires a new generation to get involved in cycling. The Ridge at 38, who sponsors this event, is working to be a hub of positive growth for the community by hosting events like the Criterium, promoting local restaurants and shops, and supporting close relationships within the Wheat Ridge community.

The Ridge at 38 is a commercial district at the heart of Wheat Ridge, located on West 38th Avenue between Sheridan and Wadsworth Boulevards. It is home to an eclectic mix of businesses that serve the community and welcome visitors by offering a taste of small town life without the drive.

The Criterium course goes from High Court to 35th Avenue, to Pierce Avenue, to 38th Avenue to Reed Street to 39th Ave, and back to High Court. Both elite and amateur riders will race using staggered start times, beginning at 8:30 a.m. with the last start time at 5:30 p.m. Each race takes about 40 to 45 minutes to complete. Prizes range from gift cards and merchandise to $500 cash.

For the first time, the winners in both the top male and female categories will receive $500. Eliminating prize disparity between genders is a big issue in sports, especially pro cycling. The 2018 Ridge at 38 Criterium is doing its part to end the practice of awarding different prizes for men and women.

Back this year is the Brewfest, featuring beer from some of the best local breweries. In addition to racing and beer, the event features free festivities for spectators, including a family-friendly festival with food, live music, vendors, lively commentators announcing the action, and a kids’ zone featuring a bouncy castle and face painting! The event will be based around the High Court area for the festival, Brewfest, live music and vendors. However, the races can be seen almost anywhere along the Criterium route.

The Criterium and the associated festival is free. Brewfest prices are $15 for a commemorative cup (8 ounce) and four beer tickets, or $3 for each individual ticket.

If you are interested, they may still need some volunteers to help with the Criterium. In addition, to meeting some really great people and sharing in some racing excitement, you also get a free meal and a t-shirt.

For more information, visit ridgeat38.com/criterium; volunteer information can be found by clicking the “sign up to volunteer” link.