Local NewsNews

Charleston officials announce race routes as part of this spring’s USA Cycling championships

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — From the Kanawha Boulevard and city streets, to all the way up the steep Bridge Road hill, professional and up-and-coming cyclists alike will be undertaking a total of four extensive routes throughout the Capital City during the six-day USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships.

It marks the first of a five year annual competition set to be held in Charleston that will take place from May 14-19.

Tim Brady

After officially making the announcement that USA Cycling selected the Capital City to be the competition’s next host city back in Oct. 2023, City of Charleston officials and those from the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau gathered again Wednesday afternoon at the Four Points by Sheraton along the Kanawha Boulevard to announce the race routes as part of the event.

Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin told the media they wanted residents to know exactly which routes would be affected during the competition this spring.

“This is going to be one of the biggest events that Charleston has ever seen, and it’s going to be not in one location, it’s going to be throughout the City of Charleston, so I think the most important thing we’re trying to get across today is where are the roads going to be shut down,” said Goodwin.

The competition will be composed of four different categories across four different routes during the six day event. All of the routes, however, will begin and end at the Four Points hotel.

Amy Goodwin

On Tuesday, May 14 and Wednesday, May 15 will be the Time Trial races. The route for this race will take participants from the hotel on Kanawha Boulevard to Patrick Street, on to Daniel Boone Park before finishing again at Four Points.

The Criterium race will be held on the evenings of Thursday, May 16 and Friday, May 17. After starting at Four Points, it will take participants throughout the downtown district, making their way up Court Street, to Lee Street, down Summers, Quarrier, to Hale, and then from Hale back to the Boulevard.

Finally, on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 are the big races. The U23 and the Elite Road Races will take riders up Bridge Road and back down Loudon Heights, on to the Boulevard, then to Wertz, Oakridge, back to Greenbrier, and make a loop through the city before ending up back on the Boulevard.

The Men’s Elite category of racers will make this route 10 times over. The Junior category will do the same route for the Road Races besides the Bridge Road and Loudon Heights portion.

Charleston CVB President and CEO Tim Brady said most of the road closures during the event will be rolling closures and so traffic will still be able to get through on alternate routes.

“When the race is on the Bridge Road and Loudon Heights side, traffic can flow on the Wertz and Oakridge Road side and vice-versa,” he said. “The other thing I’ll say is to make sure people understand that even when the roads are closed, we’ve had to create a very comprehensive plan in partnership with the State Division of Transportation so that there are alternate routes.”

In addition, Brady said since the race is a spectator sport, certain areas of the city will be designated as “fan zones” that will be fun areas where spectators can go to watch.

He said they will have a big fan zone area set up at City Center Slack Plaza, and they will be partnering with different breweries and businesses along Summers Street to host activities for the race watchers in that area during the event.

Brady also said that the top of Bridge Road will be another fun area for fans to go and participate in the festivities.

“Think of it as sort of a festival atmosphere with the race happening in front of you, we’re going to work with the other restaurants up there, as well, 1010 Bridge, Lolas and Fernbank to say, ‘this is the cool place that you need to be watching this race happen,” said Brady.

The winners of the Time Trial races will qualify to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics this July. Goodwin said she couldn’t express the magnitude of what the event will mean for the city enough.

“The people that you are going to see cycling through the streets of the City of Charleston, you’re going to see in Paris, that’s so monumental,” she said. “How big is it for us to say those Time Trials are being held in the City of Charleston.”

Charleston Area Medical Center has been tasked with taking care of the participants before and after the races. They will have a base tent set up at the Four Points as well as having medical staff stationed throughout different parts of the race routes.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button