Bike racers head to town for McKeesport Grand Prix
The Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association is taking to the hills and winding roads around Renziehausen Park with a new McKeesport course in this year's regional racing circuit.
ABRA, which manages cycling programs in southwestern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, north central West Virginia and western Maryland, will host the McKeesport Grand Prix on Saturday as part of its Criterium Series.
A criterium — or crit in abbreviated racing lingo — is a short-course race often contained in a closed circuit of city streets. Each race is no longer than 60 minutes, and the winner is the first to cross the finish line without being lapped by a fellow rider.
“There's a race every weekend — most within two hours of here — and they're phenomenal courses,” McKeesporter John Cotter said. “It's really hard to get a new race started. It usually takes two or three years to build interest in a particular course, but I think McKeesport will be a nice change from beat-up city streets.”
The course is set to start on Eden Park Boulevard, with parking available at the Mayfair Avenue side of McKeesport Area High School's parking lot, and traverse Renziehausen Park and the Penn State Greater Allegheny campus.
McKeesport's recreation board is welcoming the event with open arms, saying it's something new and thrilling for outdoor entertainment in the city.
Cheryl Cotter, a recreation board member and John's mother, has been watching her son race for years.
“It's so exciting to watch them sprint at the end,” she said. “Really, the whole race is fascinating. They don't just ride in circles. There are tactics involved.”
ABRA promotions suggest that success in road criteriums requires good technical skills and the ability to navigate a course safely with other riders.
Racers often work together to clear paths and plan a ride strategy.
Riders are required to be licensed through the national organization USA Cycling. New riders who don't have annual licenses may purchase a single-event permit on the day of a race.
In every race across the country, participants are divided on the course — first by sex and age brackets, and again by experience. There is a professional contract designation and amateur categories 1 through 5.
At the start of their riding career, every racer begins in the amateur Category 5. With increased participation and points acquired for race performance, riders are able to progress in categories.
“This is a great sport, because anyone can participate,” John Cotter said. “Once I reach a certain level, I can race with the pros. It's not like football, where all you can do is sit and watch the stars.”
Noting that the McKeesport Grand Prix will include a variety of races, he said there is something for everyone, including beginners.
Races are scheduled at the following times:
• 10 a.m. — Men's Category 4⁄5, 30 minutes; Juniors (under 19), 45 minutes.
• 10:45 a.m. — Men's Masters (40+), 45 minutes; Men's Masters (50+), 45 minutes.
• 11:45 a.m. — Women's Category 1⁄2/3, 45 minutes; Women's Category 4⁄5, 45 minutes.
• 12:35 p.m. — ABRA Kids Race, two laps
• 12:45 p.m. — Men's Category 1⁄2/3, 60 minutes
• 2 p.m. — Men's Category 3⁄4, 45 minutes
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Liberty asks diocese not to close church
- McKeesporter charged in domestic incident ordered to stand trial
- McKeesport’s Auberle honors its all-stars at banquet
- $3,000 taken from Duquesne VFW in possible inside job
- Full basketball court to return to White Oak playground
- Mon-Yough authorities investigate heroin, Fentanyl overdoses
- TreeVitalize spruces up McKeesport’s Seventh Ward
- Lawmakers address education issues
- McKeesport’s Lake Emilie ready for trout season
- Former Munhall manager’s trial postponed again
- Business owners see pros, cons to Lincoln Way widening in White Oak