By Claire Aiello
VP, Marketing & Communications
Huntsville/Madison County Chamber
We are excited to host more than 350 of the world’s fastest para-cyclists in Cummings Research Park (CRP) over May 26-29, and we hope you’ll join us along the course! Yes, that is Memorial Day weekend and this will be an incredible event to attend – so please make it part of your plans.
This is Huntsville’s third year to host a Para-cycling road event with U.S. Paralympics Cycling and Medalist Sports, and this will be a much larger race with international prestige and teams of athletes from 30 to 40 countries. The UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup is the first World Cup to be held on U.S. soil, and athletes are buzzing about coming to the Rocket City.
“We are thrilled to welcome these amazing elite athletes to Huntsville and know the Rocket City will welcome them openly,” said Erin Koshut, CRP’s Executive Director. “We encourage everyone to come out to the races and be part of this fun international event.”
Visit huntsvilleparaworldcup.com for course maps, parking information, a volunteer signup link, the schedule, and more. Individual Time Trials will be held Friday and Saturday, and Road Races will be on Sunday and Monday. You will see different types of events each day, including handcycling, tricycling, cycling, and tandem cycling. There will be a handcycling relay race on Monday.
The organizers want to provide a safe course for the athletes, and they’re able to do that with the help of volunteers. The biggest need is for course marshals over the four days of racing, and training will be provided. Everyone who signs up for a shift and shows up to work will be entered in a drawing for prizes including Team USA gear, a hotel stay, restaurant gift cards, and a $500 Breeze Airways voucher. You can select your day and time slot. Volunteers also get a free t-shirt, plus a meal if your shift is around lunchtime.
Volunteers must be 16 or older, but if you have younger children, it’s fine to bring them. They can sit next to you on the grass and cheer!
Overall, we expect to see about 50 athletes representing Team USA, and we also expect teams from Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, Mexico, Japan, and more.
The Westin is the official race hotel, and other teams will stay at nearby hotels. You will see them practicing on the roads in the week or two leading up to the races. We ask that you please use caution around these riders. You will see and hear more safety messages in the coming weeks.
Parking & Spectating
No tickets are needed for this event, so we encourage you to bring family and friends to come watch the races. The start/finish area is on Explorer Boulevard, in front of Columbia High School. Parking is available at the school and at a number of businesses in CRP, and you are welcome to bring blankets or chairs and spectate around the Explorer Blvd. ring. This year, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology will host the Athlete Village and is also the location for the awards stage.
Memorial Day Plans
A special ceremony is planned for Monday, May 29 (Memorial Day) to honor athletes with military ties. About 30 percent of Team USA’s athletes are Veterans, and several international athletes have also served. This year, the Paralyzed Veterans of America team plans to return to compete in the races. Additionally, the Department of Defense helps with funding for the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup.
We are also planning celebratory fireworks on Monday evening to officially close the four days of racing!