Fort Mill Times

Race is new downtown event

Downtown streets will play host to a day of bicycle racing Saturday, Sept. 20.

Following a unanimous town council vote to approve a special event permit Monday night, Fort Mill will partner with the Carolinas Cycling Association and USA Cycling to bring a criterium in memory of Dylan Mitchell, the late son of Town Engineer Paul Mitchell, to town.

Criterium are races held on a short track called a circuit, often on closed downtown streets, during which competitors ride several laps. The laps vary from a third of a mile to two miles and feature high speed cornering, mass starts and sprinting. Starting at Town Hall, riders will race up Confederate Street, down Main Street, up Academy Street to Banks Street and back down Confederate Street.

The first race will start at 8 a.m., according to Fort Mill Parks and Recreation Director Brown Simpson. The day-long event will feature 12 races in various classes, with the final race scheduled to start at 4 p.m. The event is expected to draw as many as 300 riders and will be one of a series on the criterium circuit.

"There will be another one held in Columbia that Sunday," Simpson said.

Riders will pay a $25 entry fee. Proceeds, after the costs incurred by the town are covered, will be donated to the Fort Mill Care Center, Simpson said. The fees will also cover liability insurance costs for the event. And Simpson already lined up John Deere as a sponsor for the event with a $5,000 donation.

"It's also a great opportunity to promote bike safety," Simpson said. "And to showcase downtown Fort Mill."

Bike safety demonstrations and events aimed at young riders will be offered. Volunteers will help maintain the course on race day and assist residents who live along the race course get in and out of their driveways. Event parking will be set up at First Baptist Church.