As a highly amateur commuter cyclist (by which I mean I typically spend more time on the pavement than on my bike) I greatly admire individuals who do the necessary training and have the discipline and endurance required for a challenge like the Dead Dog Classic Memorial Stage Race.

The two-day, three-stage race has a unique history and is a very successful event, drawing competitive cyclists from Colorado, New Mexico and even a few from North and South Dakota. The first stage is the Road Race at 10:00am on Saturday June 25th followed by the Criterium and Time Trial on Sunday June 26th. The Road Race involves extensive strategy as racers depend on various tactics like drafting and blocking to get the advantage.

If you have never watched a race, the Criterium is most spectator friendly. It is a fast paced, thrilling spectacle where rider tactics are easier for a novice to spot. The Criterium begins around 7:00am on Sunday with the lowest category racers. The top category racers will compete last, sometime around noon.

Your best bet for watching the race is to go downtown (1st and 2ndStreet between Kearney and University) and watch the races from a few different vantage points. The footbridge provides an excellent view and the start/finish line is the place to see exciting last minute sprints for prize or time primes (rewards for finishing first in a single lap of the Crit, pronounced “preems”).

The Dead Dog Classic (DDC) boasts one the highest altitude time trials in the country, starting at 8,888 feet. While opportunities to compete in individual races abound, many competitive cyclists are drawn to the DDC because it is one of only a few stage races offered in the area and sanctioned by the American Cycling Association.

Race proceeds benefit the community through the Laramie Bicycling Network, a local non profit organization that has been instrumental in the creation of Rails-to-Trails in Medicine Bow National Park. Laramie Bike Net also conducts helmet giveaways at local schools and advocates for bicycle safety, events and education. If you are new to the world of competitive cycling, the DDC is a great opportunity to check it out.

You can make a day of it by going to see the Crit, entering the DDC raffle (tickets $1.00 each) for a New Belgium Fat Tire Cruiser, taking care of a bit of shopping downtown and then getting a ticket to enjoy the post-race barbecue at 3:00pm. Stick around for the awards ceremony scheduled to start around 4:00pm to find out who won and who placed in each category. If you would like to participate, as well as observe, there are many opportunities to have fun volunteering in a wide range of capacities.

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