Southside Sprint By Joe Reinemann

Gear Up for the Southside Sprint

It has been over 20 years since we have had elite level bike racing come to South Minneapolis, but on Sunday, July 24, the speed, color and excitement of bicycle racing will be returning to the Northrup/Field/Regina neighborhood.

The Southside Sprint is a day full of criterium races for entry level to elite riders. The criterium format (i.e. riders racing over a closed circuit course that features a lot of cornering and multiple laps depending on the level of the race) is perfect for an urban setting and very popular because the riders will be whooshing around the course many times per race, making for a good spectator event. All races will be starting and finishing at the intersection of 48th Street and Chicago Ave. and course will be fast and exciting.

The Southside Sprint will also offer beginners the chance to test their fitness and bike handling skills in a Citizen’s race. The Citizen’s race is open to anyone that is interested in participating, and will be a good opportunity to dip your toe into the world of road racing, (or to get back into racing if you have let your license lapse).

Although this will be happening right in our backyard, this is no minor league race – the Southside Sprint is being led by Mike Kmiecik of Bikes and Pieces (a local merchant and avid cyclist), with organizational support from Andy Dahl and promotion by Jason Lardy (Dahl and Lardy play prominent roles in the very popular and successful Nature Valley Grand Prix race road racing series).

In addition to the races, the organizers have planned other activities to make this a great community event. There will be a free kid’s fun race sponsored by Bike and Pieces (all participants will win a medal) as well as BMX stunt riding demonstrations and a low-rider bike show. Additionally, local bike shop Full Cycle will be accepting donated bicycles from anyone willing to contribute to their great community bike mechanic training program.

The Southside Sprint will get rolling early – at 7:00 AM and the Minnesota Road Racing Academy will be leading a rider’s clinic which will focus on cornering skills. The clinic is open to anyone interested in becoming a better bike racer. The racing fun starts at 8:00 AM with the Citizen’s race and continue until 1:00 when the elite racers take the course.

You can keep up to date on this event on their Facebook page and check out the Southside Sprint web page for a route map and race schedule. I’ll hope to see you there!

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