Drew Irwin, Marco Colbert, Deb Dintruff, Dr. Deborah Gulson, and Nick Christofalos
On Friday, June 1, the inaugural Lake Bluff Twilight Criterium presented by Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital (NLFH) will be held. The criterium is a competitive cycling event consisting of high-level amateur cyclists and professional men and women cyclists from across the United States and many foreign countries. For the first time, this race will take place in a course mapped through downtown Lake Bluff. A block party will take place on the Village Green to celebrate the end of the races, featuring fabulous local food and musical acts.
A uniquely American style of bike racing, criteriums, or “crits,” are fast and intense. Crits are run on a closed-off course often in and an around the central business district of a town. They’re usually about a mile or so long; the Lake Bluff racecourse is nearly 0.75 miles. This type of short course gives cycling fans a chance to see the riders come around every few minutes. This is a professional event, not a participatory race that local cyclists can sign up to ride in.
“For most people, this will be the first time they ever experience a professional cycling event,” explains Marc Colbert, the race director for the criterium. “Given Lake Bluff’s history with the parade, and rallying people for a village event, Lake Bluff is the perfect setting,” he adds.
Marc’s partner in planning the June 1 event is Deb Dintruff, the chair of the Lake Bluff 4th of July parade for the last several years. “Lake Bluff is known for throwing a great 4th of July,” explains Deb, who’s devoted countless volunteer hours to Lake Bluff’s signature event. “But it was time to change things up a bit. And we realized that we’ve squeezed a lot into the 4th of July holiday in recent years. So by moving the Block Party from the 4th of July to this first weekend in June, we’re spreading out the summer fun,” she adds.
NLFH is the title sponsor for the Lake Bluff Twilight Criterium. “Our mission is to help people of all ages live better, healthier lives,” explains Thomas J. McAfee, NLFH President. “Sponsoring this event gave us the opportunity to promote a sport that everyone can enjoy.”
The criterium is also a wonderful way to spotlight the hospital’s helmet initiative. Dr. Deborah Gulson, pediatrician at Lake Shore Pediatrics and Director of Medical Education, Department of Pediatrics at NLFH, has visited local schools, sharing the important message of wearing a helmet when bicycling. “As a physican, I have encountered countless injuries over the years, many of which are preventable with slight changes in behavior. For example, wearing a bicycle helmet,” she says.
Knauz Automotive Group will provide the official pace car for the event, the all-new Mini Roadster. “We’re delighted to be part of the inaugural Lake Bluff Twilight Criterium. The Mini Roadster is a perfect match for the criterium; like biking, it’s agile, provides a lively ride, and handles brilliantly,” says William Madden, President & CEO of Knauz.
The criterium will begin at 2:30 p.m. on June 1. Activator Cycles and CROYA will be coordinating races for kids ages 4 to 10 later in the day, sponsored by Lake Forest Bank & Trust Company. And the Lake Bluff Park District is taking the lead with CROYA on introducing loads of fun new activities for children during the block party.
“This is a must-attend event for everyone this summer,” says Deb.
For more information on the Lake Bluff Twilight Criterium presented by Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, visit lakeblufftwilightcriterium.com.
— Ann Marie Scheidler