Huntsville, Alabama is renowned for the high-velocity missiles and space orbiters that are part of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center®, the official NASA Visitor Information Center for the Marshall Space Flight Center. The weekend of June 14-15, the Rocket City will be the showcase for high-velocity, two-wheeled vehicles on the ground. The Southeast Regional Series presented by Stan’s NoTubes (SRS) bring some of the best amateur and elite cyclists to Huntsville for the second of five stops this summer.
Huntsville poster art.
The Jerry Damson Honda/Acura Criterium begins at 8am on Saturday, offering an eight-turn circuit on the University of Alabama-Huntsville campus. There are 11 categorized races on Saturday, from two junior events to races for Masters and pro riders. Following the race from 6-9 p.m., Bicycles Etc. (611 Meridian Street) will host a post-criterium mixer with food and beverages. This is catered by Tellini’s Pasta Market and New Belgium Beer.
Sunday features nine categorized events in the Ronde van Grant Road Race presented by New Belgium Beer. Adult racers will navigate a 19-mile loop across the top of Grant Mountain and along the Paint Rock River in Grant, Ala. The loop, known as the Ronde van Grant by local cyclists, is a tribute to the hilly terrains of the classic races in Belgium. The finishing straightaway includes a challenging 1.4-mile climb on Gunter Mountain, known as ‘Grunt’ Mountain by local riders, with the finish line at historic Kate Duncan Smith DAR School on Main Street in Grant (6077 Main Street). This area features some of the best cycling roads in North Alabama and is on many roads popular with local cyclists.
Fans will enjoy listening to live commentary of both races at the start/finish areas. The special guest announcer for SRS will be Jackie Crowell, a member of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. She will be handling the race announcing for the remaining four city stops for SRS the rest of the summer. Crowell, who turned professional in 2009 after attending University of Florida, was diagnosed with a grade 4 brain tumor last fall. She had surgery to remove a tumor and has undergone successful chemotherapy near her residence in Atlanta, Ga. Crowell is a six-time U.S. amateur road national champion, as well as 2012 Elite National Points Race Champion and the Elite National Team Pursuit Champion. She raced much of her career in Europe, including the two years at La Route de France International Féminin (Tour de France for women).
“It’s a great opportunity for me to give back to the sport of cycling. I do have a lot of experience racing, and coaching. It is especially rewarding to work with an event like Southeast Regional Series that includes women’s criterium and road racing events,” said Crowell, who gained some experience as a race announcer earlier this year with events in Charlotte, N.C. and Athens, Ga.
Admission is free for all spectators both days. Spectators can see the start/finish of Saturday events for the Jerry Damson Honda/Acura Criterium on Ben Graves Drive adjacent to Frank Franz Hall on the campus of UA-Huntsville. Racing starts at 8am and events are expected to finish at 4:45 p.m., with the awards ceremony to follow. The Ronde van Grant Road Race presented by New Belgium Beer will begin at 8 a.m. with the 75-mile Men’s Pro 1 /2 event. The final race is expected to conclude at approximately 3 p.m. Local food truck Earth and Stone will be at the finish line Sunday for racers and spectators.
“Spectators will enjoy exciting racing on Saturday at the Jerry Damson Honda/Acura Criterium. It is a technical seven-tenths of a mile course with eight turns on the campus of the UAH. Winners on this course are true criterium aces and master bike handlers. We hope that all the racers, volunteers, friends and families will enjoy a post-race mixer at Bicycles Etc. Saturday night, with complimentary pizza and liquid carbohydrates provided by Tellini’s Pasta Market and New Belgium Beer. This is a good way to decompress after a big day of hard racing,” said Morgan Andriulli, board member of the Alabama Bicycle Coalition.
UnitedHealthcare’s Jackie Crowell (Photo by Jonathan Devich, EpicImages.us).
As a USA Cycling Regional Road Championship series, the SRS is the only elite and amateur road series of events to offer points competitions spanning multiple states in one region. SRS is managed by Start Smart Cycling and offers points and prizes at each weekend series. The series will conclude in September in Greenville, S.C. when the top men and women will be presented with the overall award jerseys, based on points earned at all five races: SRS Overall Champion’s jersey, the green- and- white-striped PEZ Cycling News Sprinter’s Jersey, and the Stan’s NoTubes King of the Mountain/Queen of the Mountain jersey.
More than 450 cyclists competed at the first SRS event in Albany, Georgia in May. Racers are encouraged to register early before fields close at midnight on Friday, June 13 for the Jerry Damson Honda/Acura Criterium and the Ronde van Grant Road Race. On June 13 from 7-9 p.m. race packets will be available for pick up at the Tellini’s Pasta Market.
The Springhill Suites Huntsville Downtown will serve as the official host hotel during the series. Race fans will enjoy downtown restaurants, shops and nearby attractions, such as the U.S. Space & Rocket Center®. The exhibits include the world’s only full-scale Space Transportation System display (space shuttle) including an External Tank, a set of twin Solid Rocket Boosters and the National Historic Landmark Saturn V moon rocket. Registration information, the complete SRS schedule and event updates are available online at www.srs-racing.com/. Follow the event on Facebook (SoutheastRegionalSeries) and Twitter (SRSChampions).
About Start Smart Cycling
Start Smart Cycling, LLC (SSC) is a professional event management and consultation company for the cycling industry. SSC provides planning expertise and on-site event implementation for cycling competitions and related activities across the U.S. In 2010 SSC was founded by President Marilyn Cullinane, who has over 14 years of experience in the cycling industry. Her company has been involved for four years with successful Florida-based events such as the Miami Dolphins Cycling Challenge (ridedcc.com) and The Orange Blossom Special. Cullinane founded the Southeast Regional Series in 2013, the first-ever regional road cycling championship series in the U.S., sanctioned by USA Cycling.
Web Site – http://srs-racing.com/register/
Twitter – @SRSChampions
Facebook – southeast-regional-series