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Twilight Criterium: Race Ready With a New Cause

The annual Twilight Criterium is back on track, taking place in its rightful spring season after returning in August 2021. Downtown will transform Apr. 29–30 into a family-friendly maze of cycling, running and wellness events for all ages and athletic levels.
This year’s event is marked by a new partnership between Twilight and the nonprofit Community Rocks! Corp., whose headquarters are located in New Jersey. Gene Dixon, founder of Athens Twilight, explains in a press release that the organization is “aligning with Community Rocks!’ mission to celebrate, educate and empower youth through wellness and give back.” Proceeds from the events and sales will benefit the Bikes for Kids and #WheelsWednesday programs supported by Community Rocks!.

The nonprofit’s vision is to provide low-income and at-risk youth access to creative and active outlets in addition to holistic wellness. Both organizations are committed to “collaborate with local businesses and organizations to bring win-win business and wellness opportunities to our community,” says Dixon. After the community’s experiences over the last two years, Dixon is excited to bring Twilight back with a new energy through aligning with this cause.

Emily Cameron (top l-r) Sommers Creed, Grace Anne Ingham; (middle l-r) Abby Hobbs, Alexis Ryan; (bottom l-r) Carlier Cooper and Maria Carelli

With the continued construction happening on Clayton Street, where the “traditional” course was located, this year’s course will run along College Avenue and Washington Street, as it did in the fall. Although COVID numbers are laying low, but still present, social distancing whenever possible and the use of masks and hand sanitizer is encouraged. Festivities will be spread out to limit large gathering clumps. The event will wind its way through downtown with closures on College Avenue, Hancock Avenue and Washington, Hull, Lumpkin and Jackson streets.

On Friday, the Bikes & Mics portion of the weekend will feature two stages of music and entertainment. The Live Wire Athens stage located at the intersection of College and Washington will provide a platform for stationary bike racing and the Latin-Salsa band Orquesta MaCuba. The Family Fest stage will be located in the Eco Expo block on Washington between Pulaski and Hull streets. This stage will feature performances by kids, teens, local bands, the ACC Gymnastics Academy and Explozive Elites dance and step teams.

Rise and shine early on Saturday morning for the 5K run, which kicks off at 7:30 a.m. At the finish line, participants will enjoy “beers and biscuits” courtesy of Michelob Ultra, Southern Brewing Co. and Flying Biscuit. The Gambler Ride will take place at 9:30 a.m. and end at Paloma Park for an awards party. Throughout the day, amateur cyclists will compete to qualify for the pro criterium races that night. However, there will be an ongoing kids fest including bike races, bounce houses, crafts, games, rock climbing and more for those not participating. Attendees can also enjoy a kids-only “Ball Garden” and the traditional adults-only Beer Garden.

After a long day of activities and celebrations, Twilight will conclude with the USA CRITS Award Ceremony. For more information and registration details, visit