Steven Edwards, front, Ron Bourgoin and Eric Weinrich lead the pack in the over-50 men’s race Sunday as it loops around Kennedy Park in Lewiston during the the Auburn-Lewiston Rotary Club Criterium. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — Bike racers zoomed down Park Street, looping around Kennedy Park, pushing up the hill on Spruce Street and then pedaling around the post office on Ash Street as part of the Auburn-Lewiston Rotary Club Criterium.

The third annual event was held Sunday in downtown Lewiston with about 150 participants across eight races.

“That’s pretty close to the numbers we’ve had from the last few years,” said John Grenier, owner of Rainbow Bicycle and the event organizer.

“The day has been fantastic,” he said. “We’ve had a pretty big turnout.”

A Criterium, or “Crit,” is a bike race consisting of several laps around a closed circuit that has either a set number of laps or a set time.

The race takes place on a short course that highlights fitness and bike-handling ability. Racers stay in a tight pack, inches apart, trying to benefit from less wind resistance.

Sunday’s course, the same that has been used the past two years, is described as a 1-kilometer technical loop with a fast, big ring uphill before a turn to the flat finish line.

Grenier said this year’s race attracted about 150 participants across eight race categories.

He also said there was a good crowd earlier in the day to watch the men’s 40+ and 50+ races, too.

Grenier said the kids’ races, for racers 3 to 11, were fun to watch.

“And we gave away 10 used kid bikes today in a raffle,} he said. “That worked out really well.”

The last race of the day, the Men’s Pro 1/2/3, is also the fastest.

The 60-minute race does not have a set number of laps. It depends, instead, on how fast the racers make it around the course.

“It’s high speed with hard turns,” Grenier said. “It’s very technical.”

About halfway through the one-hour race, the pack breaks into two or three groups — the front, back and sometimes a few riders in between.

Those in the middle try to bridge the gap and race with the front, but if they do not catch up, they get left behind.

Racers at the front will then try to break away to put as much distance between them and the rest of the group as possible.

‘Riders want to break away, but they also want to conserve as much energy as they can for the end of the race,” Grenier said.

Brad Perley, who did not race as part of a team Sunday, placed first in the Men’s Pro 1/2/3 race.

Perley, who was part of the breakaway group early on in the race, said: “They all looked like they were far better off than I was, so I decided to just rip it. It was really fun.”

Ben Ryan of New England Development and Zev Myerowitz with Downeast Racing placed second and third, respectively.

“It was a blast,” Perley said. “It’s a great event and a great race.”

The proceeds of this year’s race are being donated to Safe Voices, a domestic violence shelter in Lewiston.

Racers speed past the St Mary’s Nutrition Center on Sunday afternoon during the Auburn-Lewiston Rotary Club Criterium in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Crowds of bike racers watch the men’s over-50 race Sunday as it loops around Kennedy Park in Lewiston during the Auburn-Lewiston Rotary Club Criterium. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Lily Somers and her mother, Janine Somers, cheer on father, Liam Somers, during his second race of the day Sunday during the Auburn-Lewiston Rotary Club Criterium in Lewiston. Lily competed in the kids’ race later in the day. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)


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