The one mile, flat course, with four turns through historic downtown Cheraw will bring cyclists from several states to compete in the third annual All that Jazz Criterium Bike Race. The event, which is sanctioned by the Carolinas Cycling Association, begins Saturday, June 23, at 1 p.m. The final race of the day will not end until approximately 8 p.m.
The Category 1 and 2 Pro racers will take off at 7:15 p.m. “By that time,” said the event’s organizer Ron Bartley, “the racing fever will be at a high pitch. This makes it more exciting for our fans and observers. Of course, town residents along the race course will have a ringside seat.”
Each year, the number of racers has grown. There were 72 the first year and 108 last year. Bartley hopes this year’s participation will be even stronger.
“It usually pulls a lot of tourism into town,” said Cindy Haynes, a member of Leadership Cheraw, the group that has supported this event since 2010. “As early as Monday,” said Haynes, “they were pulling into the camp sites at Cheraw State Park.”
“This has proven to be a very popular racing venue for bikers and they often comment on how beautiful our town is and how friendly the people are,” said Bartley. His comments were based on conversations with racers in five states who are excited about the possibility of competing in Cheraw this year.
Last year, the junior racers competed in Cheraw for the first time. However, the juniors will not be competing this year. According to Bartley, they will be competing in national events this weekend.
Saturday’s racing course begins at the Post Office on Market Street and heads to Second Street for a left turn. It then turns left on Kershaw Street, and left again on Greene Street. Another left on Market takes the racers back to the start/finish line at the Post Office.
Fans are welcome to watch from the downtown area along the sidewalks and are encouraged to bring bells or whistles to cheer the racers to victory. Only the blocks being used for the race will be blocked off this year, so that traffic into the downtown business area is not hindered.
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.