"Racers, start your engines."
Walla Walla is a great place to ride a bike. With miles of rolling country roads surrounding the town, the biggest choice a road rider has is which direction to go. And if you're a mountain biker, the Blue Mountains are in our back yard with endless dirt roads and single track trails for all levels of bikers. And there's even an annual USCF event for the serious racer--the Tour of Walla Walla which draws competitors from all the Pacific Northwest states and California.
The Tour of Walla Walla is what's known in the bicycle racing world as a 3-day, 4-stage race. In layman's terms that means over the course of three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) riders compete in two road races, one time trial, and a criterium--resulting in one champion.
These photos are all from the criterium race on Saturday morning where I volunteered as a corner marshal. The start/finish line is on Main Street in downtown Walla Walla. Racers ride on streets closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic in a circular course the equivalent of 0.9 miles which includes eight corners. Depending upon the racers USCF category, each criterium race lasts 30, 40, or 70 minutes. There are eight separate races with the first race starting at 8:20 AM and the last race starting at 1:45 PM.
Here the pack of Men's Category 3 riders race down Boyer Ave which bisects the campus of Whitman College, a private liberal arts college.
For more information: http://www.tofww.org/