Last June I had just moved to Laramie and still hadn’t realized how prevalent outdoors recreation is in this high plains town with mountain ranges to either side, trails galore and many athletes. Walking downtown, I saw a flyer for the upcoming Dead Dog Classic, a road bike stage race with a long history. I was only able to watch the criterium stage because of work. I was blown away by these talented racers.
Like short track mountain bike racing, a road bike criterium is held on a short course, and competitors ride as hard and fast as they can for an allotted time.
Once the racers form a peloton they start flying through the streets, maintaining high speeds by drafting. Top racers were completing a circuit of the eight-tenths of a mile course in about two minutes — and they maintained this pace for 40 minutes.
The Dead Dog Classic dates back to 1984. It ran from 1984-1998 then went on hiatus for four years. The local bicycling club, Laramie Bicycling Network, resurrected the Dead Dog in 2002 and the race has lived ever since.
The road race stage offers either a 53 or 86-mile jaunt over Snowy Range Pass with altitudes ranging from 8,400 to 10,800 feet above sea level. The weather is the biggest wildcard. Racers could face rain, lightning, hail, high winds or even snow. Wind is virtually assured.
Finally, the time trial stage in the Laramie Mountains east of town may be one of the toughest in the Mountain States due to altitude and sometimes adverse weather conditions.
Registration closes on Wednesday, June 20 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Register here.
Hopefully this year I’ll be able to go check out these amazing road bike racers in the time trail and road race stages as well as the criterium and get photos.