We are counting down the days!
Sunday, June 18, 2017, at 1:00 p.m.
A Beloved Father’s Day Tradition Since 1961
Even Tour de France Racers Wishing They Could Be Here
The Nevada City Classic Bicycle Race returns to the foothills on Father’s Day, June 18th, 2017, celebrating a tradition that is older than national Father’s Day itself, and a reputation as perhaps the most challenging 1-day bicycle race in America.
“If you have the physical fitness and strength of mind to win this race, with its hills and heat and turns, you can go on to win anywhere — the Amgen Tour of California, the Tour de France or Giro d’Italia – you name it,” says Race Director Duane Strawser. “The Pro racing community knows that, and it’s why the Classic is an icon of grassroots cycling competition in the U.S.”
In the 1970s-1990s, the European-style Classic consistently drew top road cyclists to Nevada City’s narrow Victorian streets, including three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, former top-ranked NRC Series champion, Scott Moninger, former Olympian and Ironman Triathlon champion, John Howard, and Alexi Grewal, the first man to win Olympic cycling gold for the USA. At age 19, Lance Armstrong raced here in 1991, finishing second.
Today, famed WorldTour cyclists such as Tejay van Garderen, Chris Froome, and Andrew Talansky, are barred from local races in the U.S. due to regulations by UCI, cycling’s international governing body. Talansky, a top ten selection for the 2013 Tour de France, recently told Cycling News that he raced in Nevada City when he was “nobody” – and wishes he could return. “I’m a big fan of grassroots U.S. cycling, because it’s what I grew up doing,” he said. “Nevada City used to draw every big name, and now I’m not even allowed to do it.”
If Talansky had his wish, he would join the Classic’s new generation of up-and-coming racers, charging down the infamous steep section of Broad Street at speeds that in recent years have been clocked at over 60 miles-per-hour. For racer and spectator safety, the 1.1 mile course is lined with over 300 bales of hay.
An All-Family Event, Older Than National Father’s Day Itself
According to long-time resident and Nevada City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Cathy Whittlesey, the first Nevada City Classic was held in 1961 on the third Sunday in June, long before Father’s Day was nationally recognized in a 1966 proclamation by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In those early years, Whittlesey says, the prize pool for winners of the race included an outboard motor and a gold nugget.
Throughout its history, the Nevada City Classic has been an all-family event. This year, as in prior years, little ones can bring their own two wheels for a children’s bike parade at 12:15 p.m. with free snacks and drinks when they cross the finish line. Meet at Broad and Pine Streets by noon. The Kids’ Bike Parade is free for all kids 12 and under. Other children’s activities include face painting and a bounce house. Families with teens are invited to cheer on the Junior Male & Female racers, starting at 1:00pm, grab a bite to eat from local vendors like Coloma Wraps, and check out the latest gear at a cycling vendor expo.
Tips for a Father’s Day Weekend in Nevada City
For other “classic” Father’s Day weekend experiences, Whittlesey suggests stopping at a Broad Street cocktail lounge for a traditional “dad” drink – like a Rob Roy or Rusty Nail – amid authentic 19th century décor, or seeing a movie at the old-fashioned Magic Theater, complete with red velvet seats, organic popcorn with real butter, and cane sugar Coca Cola from a bottle. A few minutes from town, she says, the Yuba River beckons with guided fly fishing aboard venerable drift boats, pursuing rainbow trout up to 20 inches.
“And for the peace and quiet dads say they don’t get enough of,” Whittlesey adds, “kayak rentals are available at Scotts Flat Lake, 10 minutes from town” – offering a leisurely paddle along a pine-studded, foothills shoreline.
For more information on Father’s Day weekend activities in and around Nevada City, visit nevadacitychamber.com/classic
KNOW AND GO
Who: Presented by Ol’ Republic/SHO-AIR Racing & The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce
What: The 56th Annual Nevada City Classic Bicycle Race
When: June 19th, 2016
- Junior Male & Female 1:00pm
- Master Men 2:00 pm;
- Women Pro 3:00 pm
- Men Elite 4:00 pm
- Men Pro 5:00pm
Where: Historic Downtown Nevada City, CA. All races start/finish on Broad Street
Host Bike Shop
Tour of Nevada City Bike Shop
457 Sacramento Street
Nevada City, CA 95959
Sacramento-1 hour drive
Reno-1 1/2 hour drive
San Francisco-3 hour drive