Friday, February 24, 2012

Bicycle Racing Returns to Durham

Durham is known for many supremacy in many sports.  If the cycling community has its way, the road racing will soon be another.  The Ninth Street Derby will be held on Sunday February 26, 2012.

The Ninth Street Derby is a day of criterium bicycle racing for collegiate teams of the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference (ACCC) and for the community at large.  Duke Cycling and Pedalgogy Coaching Services will present the event on Sunday February 26 from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.  Competitors will turn laps on a half-mile rectangle encompassing the Ninth Street District on Ninth, Perry, Iredell, and Markham Streets.

Collegiate racing kicks off with a beginner's event at 9:00 am and culminates at 1:00 pm with a 30-mile event for the fastest collegiate athletes on the east coast.   Duke Cycling will look for a strong showing in defense of its 2011 regular-season ACCC team title.  Duke student Matthew Rinehart, the 2011 ACCC individual champion, will be a favorite contender against strong squads from UNC, NC State, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, East Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and the US Naval Academy.

Community races begin at 2:15 pm and climax at 4:30 with the feature event for professional and elite amateur racers.  State and national champions will join a field motivated by $500 in prize money.

"Criterium bicycle racing is a lot like NASCAR," said Rusty Miller, race promoter and Duke Cycling Head Coach.  "The spectacle for crowds is pure speed and the constant possibility of pile-ups" as racers sprint around city streets in a tight pack and jostle for the best drafting positions.  Competitors will reach speeds in excess of 35 mph in pursuit of the Derby title, he said.

Durham's cycling community is growing rapidly with events like this and a well organized cadre of enthusiasts.  Soon Durham could be known as the place where great cycling happens - let's just see what happens on Sunday.  Go Duke.

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