Andy Chasteen has traveled far and wide seeking the highest levels of cycling competition.
The Oklahoma City resident needs look no further.
The first Oklahoma City Pro-Am Classic is coming to Automobile Alley on Saturday. With a $20,000-plus payout and a full slate of races scheduled for pros and amateurs, the event is expected to attract some of the nations elite cyclists while giving local fans an up-close look at the sport.
Its widely accepted that you go down to Texas to race against the good guys, said Chasteen, who works as a photographer and as vice president at James Farris Associates, a local human resources consulting firm. When you go
to one of those big races in Texas or Tulsa, you say, This is
super-exciting. I wish we could have something like that in Oklahoma
City. And now its coming to fruition.
Helping the community
Hodges envisioned an OKC event that rivaled Tulsa Tough, a three-day
festival listed on USA Cyclings prestigious National Racing Calendar.
team director for DNA Racing, the local cycling team hosting the OKC
Pro-Am, Hodges said he pitched the race in 2011 to its eventual sponsor,
Both of us expressed an interest of doing something positive for the community, he said. Its just kind of grown from there.
Alleys business community has stepped up to support the race, and a
variety of vendors will have plenty of food and beverage available
during the event, Hodges said, who chose to showcase the district as a vibrant example of the citys urban development.
organizers have partnered with Norman Pediatric Associates and Safe
Kids Oklahoma to promote cycling safety by giving away helmets to the
first 200 children who stop by the Safe Kids booth.
All Pro-Am proceeds will benefit White Fields, a safe, long-term home for severely abused and neglected boys.
With more than 600 cyclists expected to participate, the Pro-Am Classic is designed to become an annual event.
or shine, the event will feature 11 criterium races in mens, womens,
juniors, masters and childrens divisions. The first race begins at 11
a.m., while the mens race will be held under the lights of downtown at
races are short-track, nonstop sprints featuring tight cornering and
lots of grueling acceleration. Its really redline, from the time they
say go, Hodges said.
start/finish line will be at 900 N. Broadway, and the .8-mile course
will traverse a figure eight between N. Broadway and N. Harvey avenues
and between N.W. Seventh and N.W. 10th streets.
unique feature of the womens pro race, set for 7:45 p.m., will be the
crowd prime, a cash prize offered for the winner of a single lap.
dont know when the prime will be announced, but typically, its toward
the end of the contest to give organizers time to work the crowd for
donations, Hodges said.
The womens crowd prime is already above $750, thanks to donations through the event website.
Hodges goal is to beat the $850 offered at last years Tulsa Tough.
first week in June figures to be a boon for cycling enthusiasts. On
Sunday, DNA Racing hosts the King of Moore Criterium, while Tulsa Tough
will be held June 8-10.
One cyclists journey
took up cycling in 2008 when he went for a weekend ride with a group of
Edmond cyclists. He won his first competitive race a few weeks later, a
45-mile event during the Oklahoma State Championship at Lake Stanley
I was hooked from then on, he said.
has advanced to become a Category 2 racer, as determined by USA
Cycling, the sports governing body. Category 1 is the highest level,
immediately below professionals.
While he specializes in time trials, hes excited to compete in the Pro-Ams criterium format.
spectator-friendly aspect of criteriums is awesome, Chasteen said,
With the [cycling] community we have here, I do think there will be a
really good turnout of people wanting to see the action.