The Historic Downtown North Wilkesboro Criterium returns Sunday, bringing hundreds of collegiate and other cyclists for races in the downtown area.

The criterium is part of the Foothills Cup, a two-day competition hosted by Appalachian State University’s Club Cycling Team and sanctioned by USA Cycling.

The road race portion of the Foothills Cup is Saturday in the Collettsville area of Caldwell County. Last year’s road race portion was in the Brushy Mountain and Oakwoods communities of Wilkes and the year before that it was in the Little Brushy Mountain community of Wilkes.

Cycling teams from about a dozen colleges and universities in East Coast states in the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference (ACCC), including Appalachian, will compete for season points in the criterium and the road race.

The criterium and road race portions both have categories for open cyclists, in addition to collegiate racers.

Cyclists in each of 10 criterium categories will begin in front of the North Wilkesboro Police Station on Main Street and go east before turning right on Seventh Street, right on the alleyway directly behind buildings on the south side of Main, right on Ninth Street, left on Main, right on 10th Street and right on C Street, right on Ninth Street and then right on Main Street to complete the route.

The criterium features sharp turns and straightaway sprints.

The race in the first category of the Historic Downtown North Wilkesboro Criterium begins at 9 a.m. The last category begins at 4:25 p.m. Individual races will range from about 20 minutes to an hour long. Entry fees range from $15 to $30.

Several downtown streets will be closed to traffic most of Sunday, but spectators can watch the races from sidewalks and from nearby streets.

A spokesman for Talia’s Espresso on Main Street, North Wilkesboro, said the coffee shop will be open Sunday for the criterium.

For more details, go to  http://www.usacycling.org/events/?state=NC and look for Foothills Cup.Bike Race 7 2014 wm

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