CARLSBAD — About 600 cyclists are expected to compete in the Carlsbad Grand Prix, the city’s first cycling criterium circuit race Sept. 8.With few criterium races held in San Diego County and even fewer that offer hand cycling and other events, cyclists from all over the country have signed up for the inaugural race in Carlsbad, according to Fred Muir, the race’s director.
Organized by the nonprofit Swami’s Athletic Association, the speed-oriented race will be held on a 0.9-mile closed loop along Armada Drive and Fleet Street. Racers will compete to complete the most laps within a designated amount of time.
With the USA Cycling Masters National Championships held the same weekend in Oregon, the Carlsbad Grand Prix organizers hope that the race will offer entrants the chance to compete against strong cyclists without being knocked-out by national racing professionals.
“It’s a good opportunity for some of these cyclists that don’t get the podium to get to the podium this weekend,” said Muir.
The Carlsbad Grand Prix will include races for juniors, amateurs, professionals and Paralympic hand cyclists and offer $5,000 in cash prizes.
As part of the event, the Swami’s Athletic Association will also be hosting a family fun ride through the Village and a health and wellness expo Sept. 7.
In the hopes that the event will attract tourists to Carlsbad, City Council, at its Aug. 27 meeting, gave Swami’s Athletic Association an $8,445 special events grant to help cover part of the costs of hosting the race. The total cost of the race is estimated at $42,000.
The Carlsbad Grand Prix is one of two events that have been awarded the city grant, which is funded from Carlsbad’s General Fund, during the 2013-14 fiscal year, according to city management analyst Courtney Enriquez.
“I think it’s a great family event. I think it’s a great community-based event,” Enriquez said.
Most of the costs of hosting the race are being covered by sponsorships, according to Muir.
Any extra funds that are raised by the event will be donated to Challenged Athletes Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Carlsbad, and the Mitchell Thorp Foundation.
The Swami’s Athletic Association intends to host the Carlsbad Grand Prix annually in the future.
“We’re hoping this will be here for many years to come,” said Muir.