• Butterfly Criterium

    Thirty some-odd years ago, Bob Kelly, then a police officer, entered a bicycle race called the Butterfly Criterium which brought him to Pacific Grove for the competition. He never left.

    Hector Chavez of Winning Wheels  Bicycle Shop on Grand Avenue did the same thing. He decided to move here and open a business. Since then, he says, people have often asked about reviving the race. “People ask every year about doing it again,” he said. “There have been some false starts, but this is the first time it has actually gotten legs.”

    That’s because a year ago, then-City Manager Jim Colangelo suggested the City and the Chamber of Commerce consider a bicycling event as a fund-raiser. The Economic Advisory Committee has taken the ball and run with it.

    At the Feb. 18 City Council meeting, the City agreed to forgive up to $3000 in staff time for Police and Public Works to back the race, set for Sunday, May 31, 2009.

    More than 350 riders, and hopefully up to 500, are expected to participate in the race, which will likely draw 2500 to 3000 spectators to downtown Pacific Grove, according to PG Chamber president Moe Ammar.

    The race will start in front of the Holman Building and travel down Lighthouse to the post office, make a right on Congress, go down to Central and turn, go all the way to Fountain and make a right on Fountain, then back to the Holman Building.

    Chavez estimates the course at six tenths of a mile.

    A “criterium,” he says, is a particular type of bicycle race, usually held within the confines of a city or neighborhood, and taking place on a short course of a half mile to a mile around. Racers begin the course together and complete the course over and over during the timed event. Spectators can line up all along the course, but they typically crowd the start/finish line and corners to cheer the racers on.

    A series of events are scheduled, with riders divided by their level of competence and their age. There is the potential for a “fun ride” where the public and racing neophytes as well can try the course.

    Five clubs in Monterey County will provide teams as well as volunteer help. There will be officials — chief judge, referee, timing officials and pit officials – provided by the Northern California-Nevada Cycling Association. It will be a United States Cycling Federation licensed event.

    Greg Lemond even raced here 30 years ago. “Back then, future Olympians and Tour de France competitors took part,” said Chavez. It is hoped that the event, if successful, could become part of a nationwide series and attract bigger and bigger names.

    Community volunteers may be sought to watch intersections, help getting people on and off the course, and myriad other jobs.

    kip evans 601-9042

    posted to Cedar Street Times on February 27, 2009

    Topics: Uncategorized


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