Wednesday, April 1

April Sneak Preview: 2009 Portsmouth Criterium!

The NorEast Cycling 2009 seasons kick-off meeting is coming up on Friday, but I've got a special sneak preview announcement for team members that read my blog here:

I've been given the honor of being Route Coordinator for this year's crit and I gotta tell you, I intend to shake things up! First, I had a round table meeting with several parties, including crit racers from previous years, local business owners, residents along the course, and other interested parties.

The Portsmouth Criterium is one of the biggest races in New England, but there's always a room for improvement, and I've addressed a lot if not all of the concerns that everyone has had over the last few years.

A few of the major things that came up were:

  • road closing is inconvenient for drivers
  • most of State Street is crappy to ride on
  • riding the wrong way on one-way streets sets a bad example for the children (think about the children!)
  • bicycle races are like totally boring anyway
Taking these and many other issues in to consideration, without further ado, here is the OFFICIAL 2009 Portsmouth Criterium course map!

The first and most major thing that you will notice on a glance at the map is, of course, that the direction has been reversed. This is so that the bicycles aren't going against traffic. In previous years the course has been closed to traffic, but in response to 'lobbying' by the the New Hampshire Hummer Owner's Association, the course will be open to regular vehicle traffic in 2009. I mean, "share the road" means sharing equally, not commandeering wholesale, right? Remember: 'crit' in this circumstance means criterium, not critical mass.

The other thing that you'll notice is that the southern half of State street has been cut out of the course. This is because, frankly, it sucks. Portsmouth refuses to pave it because there are no pretentious restaurants along that strip. Instead, I've added a bit on Fleet Street. Actually, now that I think about it, Fleet street it a bunch of potholes too, down by Gilley's. Oops. Oh well. It's too late to change it now.

Which leads us to the third major change. One of the major complaints from non-cyclists is that watching bike racing is just plain boring. A bunch of dudes in form-fitting spandex sweating and panting as they breeze by ever minute and a half or so just isn't for everyone. However there is one thing that everyone enjoys--the alluring horror of the serious possibility of a severe accident. That is why I am proud to announce our premier sponsor for the 2009 Portsmouth Criterium: The European Organization for Nuclear Research--more commonly known as CERN, the organization that created the Large Hadron Collider.

In honor of CERN's constant advances in science, the 2009 Portsmouth Criterium course will have its own super-collider, at the intersection of Fleet and Congress streets. If this isn't exciting, if this doesn't prove that road cycling isn't just a bunch of sissies poncing around in spandex, I don't know what will.

At any rate, the 2009 Portsmouth Criterium presented by CERN and H2 is shaping up to be a great one! To recap the changes:
  • Direction reversed
  • Course changed slightly
  • Course no longer closed to traffic (yay!)
  • Exciting LHC-style course intersection!
  • Two new sponsors!
    1. CERN
    2. GM/H2
Best of luck/condolences to everyone from NorEast, and to everyone else, we'll see you at the races this fall, I hope!

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