I’m excited to invite you all to the Bicycle, Blues and BBQ Festival in Clear Lake on July 6-8.

The action starts off on Friday evening with BBQ vendors in the park and a hospitality tent for our contributing sponsors and our volunteers. BillyLee Janey (http://www.myspace.com/billyleejaney) will be performing from 5:30-7:30PM in the bandshell.  At 8:00 PM, Tinsley Ellis (http://tinsleyellis.com/) will be performing until 10:00 PM.  On Saturday, The Jimmys (http://www.thejimmys.net/) take the stage from 4:45-6:45 PM, followed by Corey Stevens (http://www.coreystevens.com/) from 8:30-10:00 PM.  Between the two performances on Saturday evening, the Clear Lake Municipal Band will be giving their weekly Saturday evening concert in a park close by.  Sunday brings more bicycle racing, but the music is over.

Our recreational rides on Saturday offer a 14-mile around-the-lake route with stops at Macintosh Woods State Park, Sisters’ Prairie Bike Trail, and Clear Lake State Park.  There will be drawings at each stop for t-shirts, water bottles, ice cream and more.  There will also be a 50+ (exact route in planning) mile route to promote “Bike Local – Buy Local” with stops at local farms.  Finally, there will be a century route for those so inclined.  Dad’s Belgian Waffles will be available at the park starting at 7 AM.

Concurrent with the recreational rides, a time trial will be held.  This is our first year for the TT, but it makes our weekend an omnium, three race event.

Back at the park, the crit starts at 11:30 AM and ends at 8:15 PM.  Each consecutive race is faster and more exciting, with the Pro-1-2 being last.  SRAM Neutral Race Support will be providing neutral wheel support for the criterium and the men’s Pro-1-2 Road Race.  Finish line service will be provided by One-2-Go Event Service, and John Lefler, Jr. will be calling the action for the criterium.  The highest finishing Iowa rider in each group will be crowned the Iowa State Criterium Championship.  It’s likely that former IBC Board members Sandy Kessler (Mercy Specialized) and Wayne Fett (Goosetown New Pi) will be racing. Watching a crit is the most exciting bicycle racing for the spectator, and City Park with music and BBQ enhances the experience.  The crit course starts and ends at the park. At 2:30 PM, there will be a kid’s race on the crit course with some riding the 0.77 mile course, while the smaller ones just race along side the park.  Every kid wins a medal!

If you’re planning to stay overnight, you may want to make lodging arrangements in Clear Lake or Mason City sooner rather than later.  Our event directly follows the July 4th celebration in Clear Lake, which is huge.  (Even Hilary and Bill, and Mitt, were there in 2008 for the parade.)  The Mayor and Chief of Police of Clear Lake have told us that our event is the second largest weekend in Clear Lake, led only by the 4th.

More information, and registration for the recreational rides and races, is available at http://www.bicyclebluesbbq.com/.  The website will be updated as the recreational rides are finalized.