Epic Cycling Event Launches on Central Coast with 805 Criterium Weekend


Largest Criterium Racing Weekend in California Offers $33,000 in Purses on June 29-30 in Buellton, Lompoc

The Amgen Tour of California may have come and gone, but the Central Coast is set for its own epic cycling event with the upcoming Firestone Walker 805 Criterium Weekend, which spans two major criterium races in Buellton on June 29 and in Lompoc on June 30.

Criterium bike races are held on short courses that loop along a circuit of closed-off city streets, making them a thrilling event for spectators.

“We are thrilled to have Firestone Walker’s 805 Ale as our title sponsor,” said race director Mike Hecker. “This is the Central Coast’s new signature cycling event, and the 805 is the Central Coast’s signature local beer, so it’s a perfect fit.”

The weekend features two successive sister races—the Avenue of Flags Criterium in Buellton on Saturday, June 29, and the Valley of Flowers Criterium in Lompoc on Sunday, June 30. This event builds upon the inaugural Avenue of Flags Criterium held last year. The races benefit, respectively, the Santa Ynez Valley Cycling Club and the Lompoc Police Foundation.

The combined cash and merchandise purses valued at $33,000 make the Firestone Walker 805 Criterium Weekend the largest weekend of Criterium racing in California, and one of the largest in the United States. More than 600 licensed U.S.A. Cycling racers—including around 150 licensed professionals—are expected to participate. Race announcing will be conducted by 1984 Olympic cycling gold medalist Steve Hegg. More than 3,000 spectators are expected to attend the festivities.

Fun for The Family, All Skill Levels Welcome

“The Firestone Walker 805 Criterium Weekend is more than a racing event—it is also a community festival for the entire family,” said Hecker.

Riders of all skill levels and ages are invited to participate in the event. Different races will be staged according to skill level and age group starting at 7 a.m. on each day. In addition to the cash purses, riders will have the chance to win numerous prizes such as wine, beer and bicycling gear during selected sprint laps (ie: a race within the race).

A complimentary “Kids Rodeo and Skills Zone” will feature bounce houses, face painting, and other surprise activities geared for the 4-12 age group. Kid-friendly cuisine such as grilled hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, chips, sodas and water will be available for sale. Kids ages 4-12 are invited to bring their bicycles or tricycles to join the fun during a free Kids Race on both days, with registration starting at 11 a.m. and the race beginning at 12:15 p.m.

David Walker, co-proprietor of Firestone Walker Brewing Company, will be on hand to share fresh-brewed ales in the Firestone Walker 805 Ale Garden. A Bike Expo area will showcase the hottest new gear in the cycling world.

For more race registration and spectator information as well as a full schedule of festivities, visit www.ridesb.com/805Criterium.html.