Arkansas State Criterium Championships.

Rath Auto Resources and Meineke Car Care Center was the official pace car for the Arkansas  State Criterium Championships.

"The races started out with the junior men 10-14 and women 10-18 race. 20 minutes in the early morning sun. The pack was small but watching these young kids work their way through the course was really fun. One of the young men was racing in his first crit, someone told me he was 10 years old."

"As the day progressed through the cat 4 women and then the junior men 15-18 the packs stayed small without a lot of breakaways, everyone worked together throughout the races keeping a good pace until the final half lap when it was everyone for themselves."

"Pack size started increasing around 10 am when the Cat 5 men started and most of the races after that were of a fair size. The larger races are great for spectators as bike handling comes more into play and more breakaways occur. Watching a couple of racers jump off the front of the group gaining up to 30 or 45 seconds on the pack only to be pulled back in is as enjoyable as figuring out the team strategies."

"By mid-afternoon the temperatures had reached over 100 and with sun directly overhead there was little shade on the course. Spectators started throwing water at the racers as they passed by, trying to cool them off. Some of the longer races of up to 60 minutes were looking pretty brutal but I never saw any heat related problems. Some racers even took advantage of open classes to race again. These are some tough folks. I only know of a couple of wrecks during the race and didn’t even see a lot of mechanical problems. Everyone walked away under their own power."

"The final race started at 4:45 and was 40 minutes long. The Cat 4 men was one of the largest races of the day and a fitting way to go out. A tough race that came down to the final stretch. It was great to see other teams from around Arkansas and some out of state teams in the packs."

"These folks will be back at it next year but if you can’t wait that long you can see many of them in theArkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series races going on through late Fall or watch for them in theArkansas Cyclocross Series starting again this Fall."