Imperial Classic draws plenty riders
A cyclist makes a turn while racing in the seventh annual Imperial Classic on Saturday at the Cattle Call Arena in Brawley. The event drew riders from as far as Denmark. (Chelcey Adami)
The seventh annual event drew more than 275 bike race participants alone, Imperial Valley Velo Club President Brian McNeece said. Some came from as close by as Phoenix or San Diego while two cyclists hailed from Denmark.
Results from the races, which included professional and amateur levels, will be posted on the club’s Web site www.ivvelo.com in the next couple of days.
The event is a nationally-sanctioned event with USA Cycling, so participants will also be ranked in a national database, McNeece said.
Most races lasted between 40 minutes and 55 minutes on the mile loop with speeds exceeding more than 31 miles per hour at points and cyclists using complex position strategies.
Cyclists Jason Boles and Leroy Walters came from Scottsdale, Ariz., to the event to race in both the category three race and the pro open.
It was their first time to participate in the Imperial Classic but said they will definitely be coming back due to the venue quality and friendliness of locals.
Mary Hall of Phoenix agreed. She raced in the event along with her husband and son.
“I love it,” she said. “It seems to be really well run. We’ll come back if we can.”
Spectators were scattered throughout the arena with some high up above for a comprehensive view and others just a few feet from the speeding cyclists.
The event also added several elements this year such as a health fair, 5K run and jumpers for children.
Law enforcement and children also had their own races.
“It’s just a beautiful lifestyle. Everyone has ridden a bike as a kid so we wanted to give them (children) a taste of competition,” McNeece said. “They get caught up in the excitement of racing.”
He added that a lot of law enforcement agencies train for bike patrol so their race allows for some fun interagency competition using skills they’re already developing on the job.
More than 10 community organizations had booths at the event. The Brawley Police Department’s Explorer Program provided some bicycle maintenance with supplies provided by the Finish Line Pro Bike Shop.
The event put on by the club helped raise funds for the Cancer Resource Center for the Desert as well as Family Treehouse and the Boys and Girls Club of Brawley.
Almost $19,000 has been donated to the Cancer Resource Center for the Desert over the years through the event, McNeece said.
McNeece said those interested in racing or cycling should look into local clubs such as the Imperial Valley Velo Club and read up on the subject.
Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or email@example.com