This year’s season began on April 4 and runs through August 29 (with no race on July 4). With three races every night, the Series is a way for bike racers of all abilities to test their legs, brains, and luck against some of the fastest riders in the Seattle area. Professional racers occasionally show up to keep their legs tuned up.
The Seward Series is an integral part of Seattle’s cycling culture and to emphasize its importance is nicknamed the “Thursday Night World Championships.”
Not to be confused with the Tuesday Night World Championships, which are held at Pacific Raceways, Wednesday Night World Championships at SeaTac Park, or almost every night World Championships (but most especially Fridays) at the Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome.
In addition to bike racing, the upper loop area is quite the social scene, especially when the weather is good. This week, two newer bike teams brought popup tents where folks congregated.
Team Gerard-LaunchPad Cycling is an all-inclusive cycling club that is partnered with Kirkland’s bike designer and builder Gerard Cycles. In talking with manager Chad Nichols earlier this year, he emphasized that the team is all about supporting riders of all skill levels and interests, not just racers.
The Shots and Sprockets mobile bike repair van was also on hand to help out with last-minute repairs.
The race is held on the Park’s upper loop:
This weekly event is a perfect workout: ride to Seward Park, race, (RUN an optional lap or two around Seward Park!), then ride home (with a beverage stop) with your cycling buddies. The course has a sharp hairpin in the northwest corner, and a slight hill that results in a difficult interval workout for most competitors. From week-to-week the race is run in alternating directions–clockwise one week, counterclockwise the next. Regulars argue the merits of one direction over the other.
For riders interested in trying the course, or racing for the first time, there is a clinic at 5:00 taught by an experienced racer who talks through some basic technique, then rides the course with the participants to provide some on-the-bike feedback.
Each evening there are three races. The first race at 5:30 is for folks new to racing, as well as category 4 and 5 racers.
The 6:00 race is for category 3 and 4 racers, is by far the most popular, and usually has the largest field.
The 7:00 race is for professionals and category 1, 2, and 3 racers. The athleticism and skills of the top racers in this event are noticeably superior to those in the earlier racers, and definitely worth a look if you’ve never watched.
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