Lynn Hightower, executive director of the Downtown Boise Association, knows how important cycling is to Boise culture.
“There are so many people in Boise who bike all different places for all different reasons. From mountain biking in the foothills, to road biking as a commuter, to just riding on the Greenbelt. Boiseans love riding bikes,” Hightower said. “I think after 32 years, the Twilight Criterium can take a little credit for that.”
The annual Twilight Criterium features over 350 of the world’s top athletes racing at speeds around 30 miles per hour within feet of cheering spectators.
“From a fan experience, you’d be able to actually see the expressions on their faces that show their intense competitive spirit, their desire to win and their endurance through what literally can be an agonizing feat for them,” Hightower said.
The race takes place Saturday, July 14, starting with the Kid’s Ride with Boisean and three-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong at 1 p.m. Amateur races will follow at 1:45 p.m., and then the opening ceremony at 6:50 p.m. will kick off the pro men’s and women’s races. The event ends with a 10 p.m. awards ceremony at the finish line.
The Friday before the race, there will be a new event to pump riders and fans up for the action at JUMP from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. It starts with a racer meet-and-greet, where fans have the opportunity to say hello their favorite racers and have Twilight Trifecta posters signed by the cyclists. This will be followed by the ceremony to crown the winners of a separate event, the Chrono Kristin Armstrong race, which will take place that morning in Star. Also at JUMP, free french fries will be offered in honor of National French Fry Day. Additionally, highlights from the 2017 Twilight Criterium will play on a big-screen outdoor television.
“I think it’s just going to be a great opportunity for people to get totally psyched about the Twilight experience the next day,” Hightower said.
The pro races will be live streamed on the USA Cycling website, usacycling.org, for a fee of $15 for those who can't make it downtown.
“Last year there were more than 7,000 people who watched the race worldwide [on the livestream],” Hightower said. “So it’s definitely of interest.”
Hightower said the Twilight Criterium promotes cycling—as well as the city of Boise.
“The riders say that when they come here, it’s the energy they get from fans in Boise that keeps them coming back every year,” she said, noting that some racers have relocated to Boise after participating in the Twilight Criterium because they loved the cycling culture and energy of the city.
“It’s an amazing event to show off what Boise has to offer, and we’re proud to be a part of that,” Hightower said.[pdf-1]