Sunday, May 1, 2011

Twilight in Athens

Last night Joel and I went out to enjoy the Twilight races in Athens.  Here is the official site for this year's race:   Last year, we went on Friday night and enjoyed the music and food while watching the racers qualify on stationary bikes, but we didn't make it back out for the actual races on Saturday because it was pouring down rain.  This year the weather was perfect so we ventured out to see what it was all about.

It was certainly a unique experience.  When the Twilight races come to town, the entire area of downtown is gated off.  The actual route that the races take is a big loop in the middle of downtown.  For those of you familiar with Athens the route starts at College Ave. (near The Grill) and heads toward the Georgia Theatre for a big turn, then comes down that street and heads straight for the Classic Center.  After making that turn (past the classic center toward the ABH) they come all the way back around and head toward the start/finish line.  There are 4 intense turns that they have to make on the course.  

The first two videos that I am posting are from the women's race.  The women's portion of the evening consisted of 40 laps around that course.  These women were riding at speeds of 25+ mph.  It was really fun getting into the feel of the event and watching how easy these athletes were making this look.  Unfortunately, we saw TWO spills during the course of the 40 laps.  One was near the middle of the race, but the most heartbreaking one was on the LAST lap after the 4th curve.  They were in the home stretch and about to be finished.  I felt so sorry for the 4 or 5 girls that were almost finished!

Take a look at these videos: (Notice how much of a blur the women are as they ride past us.  You can see across the street (the other side of the course) the gate that separates spectators from riders.)

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