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Many of us here are fans of bicycle racing…heck, we even sponsor a racing team (Mtnbikeriders.com Team — home of champions)!

So, I was very excited to head to downtown Tampa yesterday to catch the 2nd annual Tampa Twilight Criterium. This was a day-long event, combining 10 individual racing categories and several special events for families and local celebrities. We were able to spend a couple hours there and caught the 35+ Men and Women’s 1/2/3/4 brackets. The racing action was FAST and thrilling!

start

Coupled with the races was the ECO.lution Festival in the Lykes Gaslight Park and surrounding streets. The entire area was bustling with festival-goers, racers and spectators and was a beautiful day for families to enjoy all that downtown Tampa has to offer. Here’s a shot of “tent city”:

festival

The festival was sort of a who’s who in local cycling endeavors…SWFBUD member shops, the Tampa BayCycle folks, the Tampa Bay Bike Co-op and many others were in attendance. I couldn’t walk 10 steps without running into another cycling friend or local celebrity here!

City Bike Tampa and Tampa BayCycle also offered free bike valet parking…and the corrals were packed this year:

bike valet

Here are some shots of the races…men’s 35+ in the first two and women’s 1/2/3/4 in the last two:

race

racing

women

women

(note to self…I have GOT to get a better camera!)

As we walked away from the event, we discovered that the City of Tampa even blocked off a section of street for bike polo, something I’ve known about around here but never seen in person. It was pretty cool to watch, and my kids loved the wheel covers and the players’ bike-handling skills:

polo

This event is an exciting addition to Florida Bicycle Month, and we’re very happy that the Tampa Downtown Partnership helps get this race brought to us here…downtown is a fantastic place to hold a criterium, and we hope this becomes an annual tradition. In fact, I’ve spent the last few hours trying to convince some friends that we need to field a team for next year’s event. Anyone feel like sponsoring a couple of 35+ has-beens?