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WMU will host third annual criterium cycling event

Aug. 1, 2008

KALAMAZOO--The high-tech, corporate air of Western Michigan University's Business Technology and Research Park will be transformed into a venue for intensely competitive cycling Saturday, Aug. 9, during the third annual BTR Park Criterium bike race.

The day's first race is set to begin at 8 a.m. on a challenging 1.1-mile course. The competition will continue throughout the day with 10 separate events for racers of every age and ability level. The event, which is organized by WMU and the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club, is expected to last until about 4:30 p.m.

The most popular form of bike racing in the United States, a criterium is the cycling equivalent of the Indy 500--high-speed and intense. Cyclists race on a closed-circuit track, completing each lap in about one minute. They travel at speeds that exceed 30 mph to be the first to cross the finish line without being passed. A short, closed course makes criterium cycling an ideal spectator sport.

"The BTR Park's annual bike race is an opportunity for people to see state-of-the-art technology presented in a fun, competitive atmosphere," says Bob Miller, WMU associate vice president for community outreach and the University's point person on park development. "Western regularly partners with the high-tech companies in the park, so an event like this is natural, and the beautiful park setting is perfect for racers and spectators."

Bogie's Cafe and Biggby's Coffee will be selling food and beverages throughout the afternoon, and other vendors will be on site to offer cycling gear and accessories. A total of $5,000 in prize money will be awarded and each registered participant will get a T-shirt.

The event is open to spectators free of charge and will be held rain or shine. Entry in the kid's race is free and registration for all other races is $25 to $30 through Sunday, Aug. 3. Late and on-site registration will be available for an additional $10. For more information about the criterium, visit kalamazoobicycleclub.org or register online through Wednesday, Aug. 6.

Media contact: Tonya Hernandez, (269) 387-8400, tonya.hernandez@wmich.edu

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