Cri*te*ri*um (krI’-tir-E-&m), noun [Latin]:
A bicycle street race. Competitors must complete the most laps in a set period of time. Very fast. Very exciting.
I had my first exposure to criterium racing four years ago when the Twilight was held in the South Park Blocks near the Art Museum. The hilly course made for a particularly fun spectacle. Racers whipped down Broadway, turning left up Madison. Some of them ended up in the hay bales, as their wheels literally crumpled at the high speed 90 degree turn. I saw one racer gather himself up after a particularly nasty spill, throw his bike on his shoulder, run up the hill to repair his bike. Then he jumped right back into the course, bloody knees be damned. Impressive stuff.
Assuming you’re not racing, I recommend watching from the beer garden, which features a happy hour from 4-6pm! Festivities include a Food Carts Expo, a Handbuilt Bike Exhibition, and a chance to meet the women of the Rose City Rollers.