AROUND TOWN: It’s bike week in Las Vegas

It’s not everyday that you run into a professional athlete. In most sports, people have to wait outside locker rooms hours before or after a game to catch an up-close glimpse of a pro. But in cycling, there’s a chance you could pass a pro on the road and not even know it, especially this week in Las Vegas.

It’s bike week in Vegas, and hundreds of professionals are in town to visit the Interbike Expo and to compete in the CrossVegas Cyclocross tonight and the USA Criterium Finals Thursday, Sept. 25.

With bike week on our minds, my husband and I hopped on our bikes after work last night to get a short ride in before sundown. On one of our frequented routes near Seven Hills, two cyclists sporting their team jerseys (Richmond Pro Cycling), matching socks, shoes, helmets and bikes rolled up next to us at a stoplight. The two men said they weren’t from the area and were looking for a good bike route. My husband, Aaron, has been road cycling for about three years, and I just started two months ago, so I let him pass on his 2 cents on local routes.

One of the cyclists took his own route and the other, Craig Dodson, opted to ride with us. We found out the two were in town to compete in the USA CRITS Finals, a race where 125 of the world’s best cyclists power around a 1-kilometer track for an hour.

For about 20 miles, between heavy breaths, Aaron and I took turns asking Craig about his experience in the world of professional cycling. The 29-year-old said he rides full-time and writes freelance articles for Road, a popular road cycling magazine. His last race of the season is the CRITS finals Thursday.

Catch Craig Dodson and other cyclists, including Las Vegas’ own category one rider Andy Bestwick (pictured right), at the USA CRITS Finals. The women’s 40k race begins at 7:20 p.m., and the pro men’s 60k race begins at 9:30 p.m. at Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South.

Bestwick also will ride in the CrossVegas Cyclocross race tonight, Oct. 24, at Desert Breeze Community Park, 8275 Spring Mountain Road. The pro-women’s race is at 7:30 p.m., and the pro-men compete at 9 p.m. And if cycling isn’t your cup of tea, the race’s beer garden should keep you entertained.

To get a sneak peek of what will happen at tonight’s Cyclocross, check out this video of a previous race.

— Danielle Nadler/File Photo

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