Downtown Idaho Falls was the venue for some very interesting traffic flow in early August 2009. The term is “criterium”—a buzzword for a special brand of fast-paced cycling, which was first showcased here in 2007.
The event, dubbed the Allan Butler Memorial, is so named in memory of Allan Butler, an Idaho Falls native who rose through the cycling ranks to become a national caliber rider and winner of the 2005 Utah Cycling Association race series in the elite class. (Allan was struck and killed by an automobile in the fall of 2005 while attending a bicycling industry trade show in Las Vegas.)
Covering about 0.7 miles in length, this fast-paced type of race is the most spectator-friendly of all road racing events, as competitors race in a tight pack, only inches from each other, at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Criterium races, particularly twilight events like this one, are extremely popular with both riders and spectators. Twilight criteriums throughout the country routinely draw thousands of spectators to downtown areas; the Twilight Criterium in Boise, now into its third decade of existence, draws over 20,000 spectators to watch Olympic, professional, and world-class cyclists.
Because of the high speeds of criterium racing, the course was closed to traffic at 4 p.m. and free of parked cars during the races which did not begin until 5:30 p.m. The race course features a starting/finish line right in the heart of downtown.
Special thanks to the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation for helping with the setup of this video, particularly the boom setup on the corner of A and Captial.
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