Swarms of professional cyclists and amateur beach cruiser riders will speed around the Embarcadero loop this weekend, as Isla Vista hosts its first annual Island View Classic bicycle race.
Collegiate cycling teams from all over the state and professionally ranked cyclists will participate in the tournament. The event, which is hosted by the UCSB Cycling Team, the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) and the Isla Vista Business Association, begins at 7 a.m. Saturday with the collegiate Men’s C race and closes with the Men’s Pro 1, 2, 3 race at 3:40 p.m.
The Embarcadero loop, Pardall Road and the 6500 block of Cordoba Road will be closed during the Classic.
According the cycling team’s website, locals with beach cruisers can also participate in the day’s events by registering for the Cruiser Crit bicycle race, sponsored by the Firestone Walker Brewery. Registration for the beach cruiser race begins at 8 a.m. in the Isla Vista Foot Patrol (IVFP) station parking lot on Pardall Road and ends at 11:15 a.m. Registration costs $25 but is half price with a UCSB Student ID. Fraternity and sorority members can also register a team for the three-person Greek cruiser relay.
A street fair hosted by local businesses, the IVRPD, Firestone Walker Brewing Co. and KIST 107.7 will occupy Pardall Road, featuring music and a skateboarding demonstration. Firestone will also be hosting a promotional event at Woodstock’s during the event.
Karl Nielsen, development director for the UCSB Cycling Team, said teams from Stanford University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly Pomona, Claremont College, the University of Southern California and the University of Nevada, Reno will also participate in the tournament. Overall, he said he expects about 400 athletes to participate in the events throughout the day.
The competition between the collegiate teams, all of whom are part of the Western Collegiate Cycling Conference, is part of a battle between the schools for one of six bids for the national tournament in June.
Nielsen, a fourth-year art studio major, said he thinks UCSB’s team should do well against the competition.
“Our women’s team is going to rock it,” Nielsen said. “Our women’s team is really solid. Our Men’s A team should do pretty well, too. … We have a sprinter in our Men’s A team – his name is Rich Vasak – and he’s consistently in the top 10 during races.”
Nielsen said people should attend the last event of the day: the Mens Pro 1, 2, 3. He said the race should be exciting, as it will feature several professional cyclists, including former Tour de France rider Thurlow Rogers.
“It’ll be a really fast race and it will probably be a fairly large,” Nielsen said. “There will be a lot of attacks and counterattacks.”
According to the cycling team website, the Cruiser Crit bike race begins at 11:30 a.m. and is a four-lap derby around the Embarcadero Loop. Each racer will automatically receive a raffle ticket for a new beach cruiser, donated by A.S. BIKES. IVRPD General Manager Derek Johnson said the winner of the race will also be named “King Cruiser of Isla Vista.”
Proceeds from the event will go to the cycling team and to the IVRPD for the construction of a skate park in Estero Park. Johnson said the event cost approximately $12,000 to organize, and the park district hopes to raise around $19,000.
Johnson said he is unsure of how many people will come to the tournament, but he hopes to see hundreds of locals in attendance.
“It’s a fun, positive tradition we’re hoping to start and a great chance for students to come see skate demonstrations, listen to music and eat some great food,” Johnson said.
Isla Vista Foot Patrol Lt. Sol Linver said the IVFP is most concerned about local roadways being closed for the race. The Embarcadero loop will close on Saturday at 4 a.m. and any cars remaining on the street will be towed at 5 a.m. The IVFP will also handle security for the street fair and help keep the crowds under control.
“Since it’s the first year, we’re wondering what will happen,” Linver said. “Marshals will be placed at every intersection and we’ll have two extra deputies on duty.”
Linver said no special alcohol permits were issued for the event and standard alcohol regulations will still be enforced.
While the cycling team is still trying to anticipate any possible problems for the new tournament, Nielsen said he thinks the Classic will be a fun event for both spectators and participants.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun just to watch the fraternity and sorority Greek [cruiser] races and then the public race…” Nielsen said. “The races will be fast, and there are some tight corners, so there’s a good chance there’ll be some crashes. I know people like to see that.”
– Eden Dranger contributed to this article