Air Force presents pro cycling event

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mitch Gettle
  • Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs
The inaugural Crystal City Classic cycling event presented by the Air Force June 16 is an effort to build an Air Force signature sports event in the Washington, D.C., area.

The idea for the Air Force to sponsor a cycling event began last year after the Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, or RAGBRAI, where more than 100 Air Force cycling team members rode for purposes of recruiting and as ambassadors for the service.

"Following RAGBRAI, the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force developed a vision for a world class Air Force cycling event in the Capitol Region," said William Anderson, assistant secretary of the Air Force Installations, Environment and Logistics. "Plans are already in the works for next year's event, and our goal is to make it bigger and better every year to expand its reach and tell the Air Force story."

The event included youth and amateur races, a celebrity tricycle race, pro women's 50K and pro men's 80K races, which took place over a 2K enclosed course in the Crystal City shopping and business district. The 60th Anniversary of the Air Force and Air Force history were addressed by speakers and announcers throughout the one-day event.

"One thing that made this special is the parade lap that took the riders past the Air Force Memorial, and next year we plan on having the race expand to include the memorial on every lap of the race," Secretary Anderson said.

Volunteers from the Air Force District of Washington and Pentagon helped make the day a success, he said.

Maj. Gen. Robert L. Smolen, Air Force District of Washington commander, presented the winners of each the women's and men's races with a trophy and also rode in the celebrity tricycle race.

"The AFDW is a new organization, and we're delighted to partner with the community and Arlington Sports and hope this will become the signature event for the Air Force cycling community," he said. "Cycling exhibits some Air Force attributes -- technology, speed, endurance, precision and teamwork . We think it is a perfect match and look forward to the opportunity to involve all levels from young Americans to professional riders."