Omnium bike race gearing up for June run in Carbondale
CARBONDALE – Planning is under way for the return of the Rocky Mountain Omnium bicycle race, a multi-stage event over three days in mid-June that’s geared toward a variety of ability levels from juniors to pros.
The fourth annual Omnium is scheduled for June 17-19. It will include a Friday time trial and Saturday criterium race in and around Carbondale, followed by a Sunday road race.
Details are still being worked out for the exact routes and locations of the time trial and road race events, according to race director Mitch Hyra of Glenwood Springs.
The most spectator-friendly of the three stages, the “Street Fight Criterium,” will return to the streets of downtown Carbondale on Saturday, June 18.
A criterium is a short-track race over a circuit course in which groups of racers complete several laps.
Hyra describes it as a “NASCAR-style” race that’s fun to watch.
“It’s a unique American-style of bicycle racing that’s wheel-to-wheel at high speeds, and spectators will get the see the riders several times,” Hyra said.
Races will be going on throughout the day, and there will be music, food and a beer tent.
“Out of all of the events, it’s the best one for the viewing public to come check out,” he said.
Hyra is working to arrange for the Friday time trial to start somewhere in downtown Carbondale as well. The time trial pits riders against the clock on an out-and-back course of approximately 20 kilometers.
“It’s not 100 percent ironed out, and we need to work out some permitting issues,” Hyra said.
Past time trials have taken place on Garfield County Road 109, leaving from the Crystal River Bridge near Colorado Rocky Mountain School. The race will use the same course this year if the other options don’t pan out, he said.
The Sunday road race is also up in the air at this point. Last year, the 60-mile race was from the east end of Glenwood Canyon, past Dotsero and up the Colorado River Road to Burns and back.
Hyra, at the suggestion of Carbondale officials, has been looking at potential road race routes in the mid-valley area. However, he admitted time is running out to get the permitting in place and may need to return to the Colorado River course as a fall-back plan.
“We’re still working on route options, and should know more in a week or so,” he said. “There are a lot of different layers of government to work through to get the permitting.”
Past Omnium events have attracted some big names on the bicycle racing circuit, including an appearance by Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer two years ago. Last year’s event also attracted French female cycling great Jeannie Longo.
“Every year we always seem to get surprised by world class riders,” Hyra said. “You never know.”
For the most part, the Omnium is a large regional draw, with some of the top cyclists from Denver and Boulder, the Western Slope and Utah in attendance.
This year’s race event will also coincide with the annual Bicycle Tour of Colorado, which will be making its way through Glenwood Springs later that week. The Omnium race also lands on the same weekend as Glenwood Springs’ Strawberry Days festival.
For more information and ongoing updates about the Rocky Mountain Omnium, visit the official website at http://www.rockymountainomnium.com, or contact Mitch Hyra at (970) 688-0102.
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