Cigar City Brewing Criterium & Festival

I suppose it is finally time to post my write-up for the Criterium event that I attended several weeks ago – March 31st to be exact.

What is a Criterium?

First of all,  I heard about this event through a friend who is into bike riding.  He invited me to go to this event for the 3K beer dash and the bike race that took place afterwards, but I did not realize the significance of this race and the other races that preceded it. For some reason, I didn’t Google ‘Criterium” before going to this event, so I ended up discovering that  a Criterium (Crit) is a short bike race that takes place on city streets. These races are usually less than 5k.  Criterium racers use special Crit-style bikes that are slightly different than the road bikes used for longer courses. These bikes are more aerodynamic and lighter as their main goal is to maintain a constant speed throughout the course (In most cases, racers can get up to 40 miles per hour!) Furthermore, these bikes have forks (The part between the handle bars and the wheel) with increased rakes to reduce trails.  Although, the reduced trail makes the bikes more responsive, it also makes the bikes less stable.  Lastly, these bikes have a shorter crank so the pedals don’t hit the ground when the racers lean in on the curves.

Events and the Races

There were other attractions there besides the criterium, such as the 3k Beer Dash, Bike Polo, Roller Derby Demo, and the Health and Fitness Expo, and more. Unfortunately, I only got a chance to watch the 3k Beer dash between the Crits. I walked around and took pictures, which you can see on our Facebook page. I also had the opportunity to visit the different tents that were scattered throughout the event for the racers, but I didn’t take pictures of those tents (because of time constraints). This event had good food, with several food trucks, such as the Fire Monkey Food Truck  serving gourmet food – ( By the way, isn’t Fire Monkey Food Truck is an awesome name for a food truck!?). However, I can’t  say this event had as many concession stands as the 12 Hours of Sebring event had.

Before  the professional races started and before grabbing my early dinner at the Fire Monkey Food Truck, The 3k Beer Dash took place and it was quite interesting. Hosted by the Tampa Bay Times, the 3k Beer Dash was a race that rewarded its’ participants with a mug of Cigar City Brewery beer at the end of the race. Some of the participants dressed up in formal running clothes and some of them wore costumes!

Lastly, after my dinner, I walked around for a bit until the Elite Professional race started.  The evening was perfect for an outdoor event. The sun was setting which provided just enough light to see everything yet too little which activated the street lights to give the streets a warm glow. In addition,  the breeze outside was nice too.  Overall being outside for this event reminded me of how picturesque Downtown Tampa can be, because it has the right balance of architecture in a city. To conclude,  it was another sporting event that one could have a lot of fun as a spectator or participant (especially if you’re into bike racing) when you are looking for something fun to do with friends and family.

What do you think? Are you thinking about purchasing a Crit-style bike or do you know of a special deal at a local bike shop? Or maybe you know about a Criterium  race coming up in the Tampa Bay area?  Please share!

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