The race is back on in Grandview Heights.
The Tour de Grandview Cycling Classic returns June 10 after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re so excited to be back,” race director Spencer Hackett said. “For me, Grandview was the first bike race I served as director for, so it’s a special feeling that we’re able to return.
“The Grandview community has always been so supportive of the bike race,” he said. “When you have that kind of buy-in from the community – that’s what has made it so successful for so long.”
The night’s schedule will begin with the women’s category 4/5 race at 5:30 pm, followed by men’s category 4/5 at 6:05 pm, Hackett said.
“We’ll take a break at 6:40 pm for the kids sprints, then the racing will get underway again with category 3/4 men at 7:40 pm followed by the women’s and men’s pro races,” he said.
“The Tour de Grandview gives people a chance to watch cyclists at all skill levels, from beginning amateurs to the pro racers,” Hackett said. “The pro cyclists who have come to Grandview in the past have included people who later competed in major races across Europe, including the Tour de France.”
As of Memorial Day weekend, the number of cyclists who had signed up to compete was down from 2019, Hackett said.
“I don’t know why that might be, but it’s something that most events are seeing this year,” he said.
As in past years, the Tour de Grandview will feature a street party with live music, food, craft beers and a bike expo. The street party takes place from 6 to 11 pm on Grandview Avenue between First and Third avenues.
“The setting for the race, going by so many residences with people holding bike race parties on their front lawns, the street party, the whole atmosphere adds so much to our event,” Hackett said.
Spectators are able to get up close and personal with the cyclists, most of whom are happy and eager to talk with and share their enthusiasm for their sport with fans, he said.
Grandview is a big cycling community and Hackett said one of his biggest pleasures is watching the excitement that youngsters experience seeing professional cyclists speed along the same roadways where they ride their own bicycles.
“They can imagine themselves out there,” he said.
The race will feature the same course as in past years, with the starting and finish line on First Avenue near Avondale Road. The course continues from First to Willard Avenue, then to West Second before heading onto Grandview Avenue and back to First.
The Grandview event offers a neighborhood feel that isn’t common for bike races, said Brooke Hannon, who serves as team director for Upland Brewing presented by Gray Goat, an Indianapolis-based cycling team.
“A lot of races are held in downtown office parks or parking lots,” she said. “Grandview’s great with so many people gathered in front yards cheering the racers on. It really inspires you.”
The last couple years have been tough, with most racing events canceled due to the pandemic, Hannon said.
“In 2019, I competed in around 37 races – there was one nearly every weekend during the season,” she said. “I think I raced maybe a total of five times last year.
“You definitely fall out of a rhythm you’re used to when there aren’t any races going on. Some people liked it because it gave them a chance to take a break and just ride their bike for the fun of it. But some of us, you miss the spark you get from competing. I know I’ve lost a bit from having such a long layoff.”
The Grandview race is also noteworthy because Hackett has made sure the same amount of money available for both men and women pro racers, she said.
“Often, there’s a big discrepancy between the prize money that’s offered for men and what’s available for women,” Hannon said.
Both the men’s and women’s pro races offer a guaranteed purse of at least $2,500, Hackett said.
More information about the race and the street party is available at tourdegrandview.com.