On Memorial Day weekend, Winston-Salem was once again the center of the biking universe. Professional cyclists from around the world converged in Winston-Salem for the 7th-annual Winston-Salem Cycling Classic Race, one of the country’s most prestigious professional cycling events. The Classic has become an anticipated annual tradition in Winston-Salem, drawing thousands of fans to the festivities downtown and through the neighborhoods of Winston-Salem. There are Criterium races on Saturday, road races on Monday, and numerous family-friendly activities throughout the weekend, such as the Walk and Roll, Gears and Guitars concerts (this year’s headline acts were Stone Temple Pilots, Trampled by Turtles, Drive-By Truckers and many others), kids’ zone and amateur events.
Monday’s road race course makes a 7½ mile loop around the city, winding from downtown into neighborhoods of Winston-Salem. The Winston-Salem Police Department vehicles start the race, making sure the course is clear, followed by the WSPD Motorcycle Police, who lead the peloton of bicyclists, and the film crew riding beside the peloton, comprised of dozens of racers. The chase cars with sponsors’ logos for every team are next, loaded with extra bicycle equipment. Finally, the EMS completes the procession, which comes through continually over nearly a three-hour period for the women’s race, and a four-hour period for the men’s race.
It was a beautiful day with a slight breeze for Monday’s race. Neighbors, friends, and families gathered in front yards for what has grown to be a traditional get-together for many. Yards were set up with games, chairs, tents, food, and beverages to enjoy. Spectators were entertained by the bike race, while having the opportunity to visit with folks that they may not often have had the chance to see. It is a true community event that brings people together.
Thanks to the help of many community-minded businesses and volunteers, and Winston-Salem Cycling; we are fortunate to continue to host this world-class cycling event.