On Saturday, Sept. 9 the Detroit Athletic Club (DAC) will do something it’s never done before: host the Detroit Cycling Championship.
The inaugural event is the first of its kind for the DAC.
“This is the next leg in the stool of amateur athletics that the club wants to promote,” says Pat O’Keefe, president of the Detroit Athletic Club Board of Directors. “We wanted to do something really high profile within the downtown streets, and something we could be proud of.”
The event — which is USA Cycling sanctioned and will take place in Detroit’s entertainment district — will have races throughout the day for everyone from kids to professional cyclists, starting with the DAC’s bicycle club race at 7:30 a.m.
Kristin McCallum Ritter, Detroit Cycling Championship organizer and DAC board member, says that the racers will compete for $45,000 in cash prizes, one of the largest purses in the country.
Guests will not only be able to watch and participate in races during the event, but visit the Healthy Living Expo, which will have a variety of activities for kids and adults, and enjoy the Food Truck Alley and Beer Garden.
“If you haven’t been to a bike race this is one you want to go to,” McCallum Ritter says. “There’s something for everyone.”
A bonus to the city is the gift of 130 bikes for children: DAC, in partnership with Detroit PAL (Police Athletic League) will host a bike drive from Aug. 18 to Sept. 5. Showcasing the city is another benefit.
“What’s spectacular is that having a race around Comerica Park and downtown Detroit is a venue that racers coming in are going to love,” says Frank Andreu, event announcer and Dearborn native. He would know what cyclists like: Andreu’s a former professional cyclist, nine-time Tour de France finisher, and two-time Olympian.
“A lot of people are talking about how Detroit’s had a comeback, a renaissance, and they’re going to be able to see that firsthand,” Andreu adds.
With plans to host the event annually, the DAC sure hopes cyclists enjoy themselves.
“Until you press the ‘go’ button you’re never really sure what you have,” O’Keefe says. “This event has just taken off to unbelievable excitement and heights. We’re excited we’ll have a great race day.”
To register, become a sponsor, or learn more about the Bike Drive, visit www.detroitcycling.com.
Photos courtesy Detroit Athletic Club