The Twilight Criterium returns for 35th year of intense bike race in downtown Boise

Posted at 11:14 AM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 13:14:43-04

The Twilight Criterium is a classic event people can look forward to every summer when race organizers block of a course in front of the Idaho State Capitol for an entire day of bike racing.

A criterium is a road race on an enclosed course and it has been happening in downtown Boise since 1987.

"Basically in 1986 we hosted the National Cycling Championships and after it was over we had such an overwhelming demand for another event we created this criterium," said race organizer Mike Cooley. "So this is the 35th we have only missed one year which was the COVID year."

Racers come from all over the country to race for a purse of nearly $20,000 with $7,500 going to each the pro men's and women's race which kicks off after the opening ceremonies at 6:00 p.m.

The races draw a big crowd as fans line the gates around a one block by four block course to cheer on these riders.

"They love to come down and watch and the riders love the fact that the spectators are here it is kind of a give and take," said Cooley. "The riders show their love for the event by the amount of trouble they go through to get here we are only a one day event they are traveling in on their own dime to spend two days and race."

The Twilight Criterium used to be on Main Street, but ever since race organizers moved it in front of the Statehouse with access to Cecil D. Andrus Park that has helped this become a much more family friendly event.

"I like that part of it, I like the fact that you can bring your kid down and they can get a little dose of bike racing or at noon they can do the Kristin Armstrong Kids Ride," said Cooley.

Parents can register for the kids ride at 11:30 a.m. or they can do it online, it's not every day that kids get to ride with an Olympic gold medalist and both Armstrong and Muffy Davis will spend time signing autographs during the event.

Racing will start soon after with the novice racers beginning at 2:00 p.m. The Masters 40 and over will get going at 3:00 p.m. The main event will start at 6:30 with the women and the men will follow.

Drivers need to be award that a full road closure will start at 10:00 a.m. and be in effect until after the last race ends.

"We are expecting a pretty big crowd," said Cooley. "Come down have a beer, eat some ice cream and watch some great cycling."

This year the Twilight Criterium kicks things off on Friday night from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with a free party at Jump featuring live music and french fries from Simplot.