The Dana Point Grand Prix of Cycling returns to PCH and the bluffs overlooking sceninc Dana Point Harbor this Sunday, May 5, 2013 for the seventh year in a row. The Dana Poiint Grand Prix is a series of criterium, aka “crit,” circuit races of a pre-set length of time on a closed road course. The Dana Point Grand Prix returns with the same course as last year which retained the challenging one mile, six-turn, L-shaped circuit that had been used for several years with a few modifications that increased safety. The race is run clockwise with a combination of straightaways connected by some wide sharp turns followed by a few dips thrown in to keep things interesting before returning with a long straight shot to the finish line. The start/finish line located on PCH is at the end of a long and wide finish sprint area that will result in fast speeds and hopefully a safe finish. Though last year curiously enough it was also the location of some of the crashes in the pro race.
This year there is an added race so now there are 12 races not counting the popular lunch time children’s events. Racing begins at 7:00 AM with a 20 minute men’s Cat 5/Public race that requires at least a one day race license to enter. The 50 minute women’s professional/amateur combination race is scheduled to start at 9:25. The 90 minute men’s professional race which is part of the USA Cycling National Criterium Race Calendar series begins at 4:10. There are four kids races of 10 minute each divided by age groups starting at 11:50, but earlier registration is required. Thanks to generous donors there is no registration fee for the kids races and all of the children who participate will get a free T-shirt plus a good looking finishing medal.
There is a fun zone, a food area over and above the number of regular restaurants along the course and because the race coincides with Cinco de Mayo expect a festival theme. Criteriums are particularly spectator friendly as you can see the action up close as the racers riding along at speeds averaging between 28 and 38 mph will only take a few minutes to cover the one mile course.
Go to the Dana Point Grand Prix web site for more information about participating or viewing the race.
Also see the accompanying slide show for pictures from last year’s men’s pro race.
Finally, if you have not already done so, please subscribe to my site. It costs you nothing and you will receive an email notice whenever I post a new article about cycling or the bike races I will be covering. Just click on the “subscribe” button by my byline.