Born and raised in Lake Bluff, remembers cycling through areas that are now occupied by houses.
On June 1, the owner of will watch cycling races through the streets of his hometown with the inaugural Lake Bluff Twilight Criterium.
“It’s cool to have a big race in downtown Lake Bluff,” Christofalos said. “This has always been a place to ride and train, but no one has ever stepped up to do a race.”
Since becoming village administrator in Lake Bluff five years ago, Drew Irvin has harbored the idea of bringing a cycling event to Lake Bluff. Last summer, he accompanied Christofalos and Marco Colbert to last summer's , where Colbert served as an assistant race director in 2010.
“We got to see how they were running the event, how the course flowed, vendors, the crowd," Christofalos said.
Irvin saw several factors coming together to create the type of event that would attract a cross-section of people.
“Located at the crossroads of major cycling trails (The Robert McClory Trail and The North Shore Bike Path), a frequent destination of countless Chicago area cyclists, and home to two bicycle shops (Activator and ), Lake Bluff is the perfect location for a bike race.” Irvin said. “Our charming central business district and beautiful residential homes will make the perfect back drop for the race.”
With talk about possibly eliminating the block party from Lake Bluff’s Fourth of July weekend, the criterium race offered the opportunity to keep it going but attached to a new venue.
“Moving the block party to this date just made sense with all of the events occurring on and around the Fourth of July,” Irvin said.
Last year’s Fourth of July weekend included the Block Party on July 2, the Fireman’s Ball on July 3 and the village’s century old parade on July 4.
Even in moving the block party, Lake Bluff resident Deb Dintruff will once again lead it. The party will follow the races, which start at 2:30 p.m., and continue into the evening.
“We are planning some great musical entertainment not to mention plenty of good food, beverages and fun activities for kids of all ages,” Dintruff said. “The Village Green will be a prime viewing spot for the bike racing. A kids race is also planned for the younger kids – with or without training wheels.”
The cycling will attract high-level amateur racers followed by professional men’s and women’s cycling teams with top pro riders from across the United States and foreign countries.
“Criteriums are a uniquely American style of bike racing,” said Colbert, who will direct the Lake Bluff Crditerium, “and they are really fast and intense. Crits are run on a closed-off course often in and around the central business district and are usually a mile or less in circumference. Our racecourse in Lake Bluff is about three quarters of a mile long. This will give the cycling fans a chance to see the riders come around every few minutes.”
will be the title sponsor and health care partner for the event.
“We are pleased to support this premier local event,” said Thomas J. McAfee, president, Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. “Bicycling is a great sport that promotes exercise for all ages, and encourages residents in our community to remain active. As a partner with the Village of Lake Bluff in this event, we look forward to promoting safe cycling as means to good health.”
Christofalos said he would recruit volunteers from the Activator Cycling Club to help monitor the course.
“I’m happy to be part of it," Christofalos said. “There is a lot of work to be done.”