Update: The second annual Bike Bash has been cancelled. The event founder and organizer Aaron Nelson said in an email that due to the low number of registered cyclists and high overall costs, he must cancel the event and reschedule for next year.
Originally published on Aug. 5:
After a successful run last year, Bike Bash will return Aug. 20 and 21 for another set of competitive criterium races downtown.
The two races are spread out over the weekend and aim to appeal to all types of cyclists from across South Texas, but primarily to attract “serious hobbyists,” said Aaron Nelson, Bike Bash founder and Director of Jelly and Jam Racing Company. Criterium races are bicycle races on circuit road courses.
Competitors will be divided according to their USA Cycling race categories so that similar speeds stay together for safety purposes. Each category will have a separate start time and prize money pot, with the more elite categories racing later in the day for more prize money.
On the afternoon of Aug. 20, cyclists will race around a .8-mile block from McCullough to Brooklyn avenues, and head east from North St. Mary’s Street to Avenue B. The course is longer and more technical than Sunday’s, and the larger cash prizes reflect that.
The .6-mile course on Aug. 21 will start at Maverick Park, go south along North Alamo Street, under Interstate 37, north on Austin Street and back to the park. The “all-out drag race” is shorter, flatter, and only features four turns. The first group of riders will take off at 8 a.m. and the last group at 12:10 p.m.
When Bike Bash launched last year, it was the only USA Cycling competitive criterium race in San Antonio. Nelson said he was tired of traveling to other cities to compete, so he took it upon himself to change that.
“Everybody should be able to experience a good premiere event without having to break the bank and drive eight hours to do it,” he said. “San Antonio has the potential and someone needed to just own it and do it, so I’ve taken that responsibility.”
Last year’s two-day race turned out 175 cyclists. This year’s event will host 250. Nelson said he hopes to continue that trajectory until Bike Bash is considered a staple in the local racing community.
Following last year’s event, several criterium events have popped up around the area. The Tree of Life Criterium Race was held in New Braunfels in March and the Texas Criterium Series kicked off in that same month and meets every Wednesday and Thursday in Selma, Texas.
Nelson hopes that San Antonio will be considered as the host city for the upcoming Texas State Criterium Championships in 2017.
“If this event goes well, then it’s a possibility we may get asked to host (the Championship) for 2017,” he said hopefully.
Bike Bash is not only a chance to strengthen the local cycling community, but also to introduce and promote local businesses. The race partners include Bicycle Heaven, Red Bull, Freetail Brewing Company, MaGi Foods/Kathleen’s, Sunbelt Rentals, and Guillermo’s.
“The objective is to bring out-of-towners and introduce them to local businesses and stimulate the local economy,” Nelson said.
4 p.m. – Men category 4/5
4:30 p.m. – Women category 4
5:30 p.m. – Men category 3/4
6:25 p.m. – Masters ages 40+
6:25 p.m. – Masters ages 50+
7:15 p.m. – Women category 1/2/3
8:10 p.m. – Men category P1/2
8 a.m. – Men category 4/5
8:50 a.m. – Women category 4
9:30 a.m. – Men category 3/4
10:25 a.m. – Masters ages 40+ and 50+
10:25 p.m. – Women category 1/2/3
12:10 p.m. – Men category P1/2
Top image: The professional event competitors turn the last corner during the inaugural San Antonio Bike Bash on Aug. 8, 2015. Photo by Matthew Busch.