Cycling: Carson Valley Classic rolls into town

Several hundred of the top cyclists in the area will descend on the Valley this weekend for the two-day Northern California/Northern Nevada Masters District Championships at the annual Carson Valley Classic cycling races.

This will mark the fourth consecutive year that the Alta Alpina Cycling Club has hosted the district championships, with the number of participants steadily growing each year.

Things get rolling Saturday morning with the Diamond Valley road race, an 11-mile loop course starting at Diamond Valley School.

Racing beings at 8 a.m. with the Men 30+ class departing on a six-lap race covering 66 miles.

The Men 35+ class leaves at 8:05 for six laps, followed by the Men 40+ class, which completes five laps.

The Men 45+ class departs at 8:15 a.m. and the Women 30+/35+/40+ classes run five laps at 8:20 a.m.

The second battery of classes begins departing at 11 a.m. with the Men 50+ and 55+, followed by the Women 30+/35+/40+ classes at 11:05.

The Men 60+/65+ classes depart at 11:10 and the Category 4/5 race, which includes male, female and junior racers, leaves at 11:15 a.m. Each race in the second wave covers four laps, or 44 miles.

Registration for each class closes 15 minutes before the scheduled start time at Diamond Valley School.

The criterium race in downtown Minden is slated for its 15th running as the championships continue Sunday.

The criterium event is a unique format in that racers navigate an L-shaped, 0.8-mile course around the streets of Minden for 40 to 60 minutes depending on the class without falling back from the pack until a final bell is rung. At that time, racers have a set number of laps to complete with the first one across the finish line winning the race.

Because of the closed-circuit, the race is very spectator-friendly and generally draws a decent-sized crowd.

Racing begins at 8 a.m. Sunday and continues with new races starting about every hour through 4 p.m.

More than $1,500 cash will be divided between the races as prize money between the road race and the criterium. Approximately 500 to 600 riders are expected over the two days.

Entry fee for each race is $22 and riders must have a UCSF license.

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