Friday, October 2, 2009

Marin County Bike Race

This is also from the Marinscope about a bike race in San Rafael, CA. This story appeared in all five of their papers.

Carrera de San Rafael: Popular cycling event returns
By Meena Ramakrishnan

Coming for its seventh spin around the town, this year’s Carrera de San Rafael bike race will be filled with great food, live music, and of course, competing pro-cycling teams. The .65 mile clockwise loop in the center of Marin’s busiest downtown is a high speed race drawing riders and spectators from all over the bay area.

This popular cycling event began in 1998 when it was first known as the San Rafael Cycling Classic and continued until 2003 when it had grown too large and did not receive enough backing and support.

“It didn’t take place in 2004 and 2003,” said bike race coordinator Wil Matthews, “because it had actually grown too large for me to organize by myself. It gained a lot of national recognition and had a lot more depth than I ever expected, and I had to find some folks help out with the organization and once we had a good foundation we started back up again last year in 2006.”

The race resumed again as the “Carrera de San Rafael,” meaning “race or contest,” in 2006 and is here to stay, but not without a few changes. With the new evening time, this year’s race is going from sunlight to twilight.

“The race was run in the afternoon previously and that was good but it was kind of a day killer for the spectators. Having it in the middle of the day prevented spectators from doing anything else and also the heat could sometimes be a factor… So with the evening format, it’s easier for the spectators to come down,” said Matthews.

The new evening format also benefits the downtown merchants and businesses. In the past, closing the busy downtown streets for the races in the middle of the day has been unfavorable for store owners. But with the new evening race time, “it’s easier on the merchants because they won’t have the street closures in the morning. They’ll be able to have normal business,” adds Matthews.

This year’s race will include various local and state teams competing for first place in their categories. Lisa Hunt, director of local pro-woman’s team Value Act Capital, is excited to get back into the race.

“It’s great to support a local Marin team,” she says, “Wil does a great job with this race.”

With over 400 cyclists competing within their rankings, spectators are encouraged to come and enjoy the various pro-cycling races throughout the evening.

“This is a sport that can be enjoyed by the general public and families because it’s dynamic, and it’s exciting, and it’s healthy and it’s good entertainment,” says Matthews. “This isn’t an event that’s just put on for the cycling aficionados, this is put on for the general public to come and enjoy.”

Races begin at 3:00pm with the Junior Races and end with the Elite Pro Men’s Race, which starts at 7:45pm. The event is free, but VIP seating is available for $35. The Sports Basement Exposition will open at 2:00pm for viewing and sampling the newest health and fitness products along Fourth Street between Lootens Place and A Street. Free valet bike parking by the Marin County Bicycle Coalition is offered for those biking to the event, and parking is available in the two downtown garages on Third Street at C and D streets. For more information visit

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