Ridge at 38 Criterium – A Wheat Ridge Bike Racing Tradition

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Ron Kiefel is excited. That’s pretty much all you need to know about the Ridge at 38 Criterium bike race happening on Sunday June 7, 2015… But in case you would like details, read on.

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Ron Kiefel racing in the 1986 Tour de France

First off, who is Ron Kiefel? Ron is the President and General Manager of Wheat Ridge Cyclery located on 38th and High Court. He is also the first American to win a stage in the Giro d’Italia , medaled in the 1984 Olympics, completed seven Tours de France, and was U.S. National Road Champion in 1983 and 1988. As a long-time resident, he has given many reasons for his hometown community, Wheat Ridge, to feel pride.

Ron Kiefel is excited about the Ridge at 38 Criterium as it is continuing the Wheat Ridge bike racing history. This Ridge at 38 bike race coming up in June comes from a tradition of races held here in Wheat Ridge. Eugene Kiefel, Ron Kiefel’s father, started organizing  criterium races around 1982 with the Sunburst Cycling Team. Regular guys raced the Wheat Ridge criteriums back then before they became legends. Ron Kiefel and his rival at the time, Davis Phinney, battled head to head in them, one time lapping the field twice ahead of the other racers to try and get ahead of each other. Davis Phinney ended up becoming both a close friend and teammate soon after that time, winning bronze with Ron at the 1984 Olympic Games in the team time trial, but it all started right here with a criterium in Wheat Ridge.  That is the history and inspiration the 2014 Ridge at 38 Criterium was built on and it was such a great success, we are excited to see how much farther we go in 2015!

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An original Criterium Race in Wheat Ridge, 1982

That brings us back to another reason that Ron Kiefel is excited about the Ridge at 38 Criterium in 2015; they are really fun. Criteriums are not only fun for the racers, they are action-packed and fun for the spectators as well. A criterium or “crit” is a short course bike race (usually less than 1 mile) on city streets. Crit’s are short, fast and exciting, but also full of strategy. Ron Kiefel explained, “the guy in front all the time is not necessarily going to win… there so many tactics involved that you don’t know who the winner will be until the last lap.” Things change quickly in a Criterium, some riders will wait until the last minute to try and spring ahead and gain the lead, or some will sprint right from the start and then battle to keep the lead the whole time. All of this is of course happening at extreme speed in the confines of a race track so there are always the occasional crashes, or as Ron Kiefel puts it “think Nascar.”

The Ridge at 38 Criterium is building on a Wheat Ridge tradition on Sunday June 7th, 2015 and is guaranteed to have something for just about everyone. Interested bike racers can sign up to compete in the USA Cycling and BRAC sanctioned race, cycling  fans can come watch a fast-paced spectator sport and even non-cycle enthusiasts can enjoy live music, face painting and food vendors among other things along Ridge at 38.

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Eugene Kiefel congratulating a racer at an original Criterium Race in Wheat Ridge, 1982.

“It is so fun to bring that excitement of cycling, especially a criterium, to people,” says Ron.  The organizers of the Ridge at 38 Criterium agree. Ridge at 38 is an eclectic mix of local businesses, restaurants and shopping along 38th avenue whose mission is to be a hub of positive growth for the community by hosting events like the Ridge at 38 Criterium, promoting local restaurants and shops, and supporting close relationships between community.

We hope you will join Ridge at 38 and be among the ranks of cheering spectators for the Ridge at 38 Criterium. We know Ron Kiefel will be.

 

To volunteer or learn more about the Ridge at 38 Criterium, contact Mara Owen at 720-259-1030 or visit our dedicated webpage:  http://ridgeat38.com/play/2015criterium/

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A race during the 2014 Ridge at 38 Criterium

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