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Elizabeth Eysenbach and her mom, Cynthia Lincoln, cheer on riders during the women’s pro division of The Decatur Daily Downtown Criterium on Sunday.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Elizabeth Eysenbach and her mom, Cynthia Lincoln, cheer on riders during the women’s pro division of The Decatur Daily Downtown Criterium on Sunday.

More than racing
Criterium brings activity, family fun to downtown Decatur

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com · 340-2445

Slurping, panting, shrieking, clapping.

Streaks of color whizzing by.

Those were among the sounds and sights at The Decatur Daily Downtown Criterium on Sunday, and they showed that the race was about more than who won.

It was about combating the heat by slurping on a blue iced drink.

Owners bringing their panting dogs for a Sunday stroll downtown.

Children shrieking as they slid and bounced on towering inflatables.

Spectators cheering with plastic hand-shaped clappers as bikers zipped by in team colors like red, neon green, blue and orange.

Simply, it was about bringing activity and family fun to downtown Decatur.

“There should be more of this type thing downtown,” said Alice Walsh of Decatur, whose daughter manages Goody 2 Shoes on Second Avenue. “The stores are open, and everybody is here having a good time.”

Walsh was among those handing out blue and white hand clappers printed with the words “Downtown Decatur.”

Twenty-month-old Shine Barron, his cheeks pinked from the heat, waved his clapper from his stroller and uttered, “BY-yick” for “bike” as the riders sped by on Johnston Street Southeast.

His parents, Em and Jill Barron of Decatur, ride bikes and brought Shine and his 5-month-old brother, Rivers, to see the race.

“We walked here to watch it,” Jill Barron said. “This is a great idea for the city.”

The race was the finale of the 2007 USA Crits Southeast Series, and drew more than 100 professional and top amateur cyclists to the city.

Judy Brown, who watched with the Barrons, said she hopes the race returns to Decatur and keeps growing.

That’s also the hope of a Huntsville mom whose son races throughout the Southeast.

“We don’t normally get to see him, so this is a wonderful opportunity for us,” said Pam Winstead, whose son, Matt, competed in the Men’s Category 2/3. “I mean, I am his biggest fan.”

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