TERRE HAUTE — Kevin Depasse has competed in 44 cycling races since February and he’ll get the opportunity to finish his season today in his hometown.
The inaugural Terre Haute Criterium begins at 9 a.m. at Fairbanks Park. The course is 6/10th of a mile and includes a total prize purse of $1,500.
Depasse is a former Terre Haute North cross country standout who competed for the Cutters while he was a student at Indiana University. He graduated from IU this year and has traveled the Midwest racing in the highest amateur division cyclists in the region.
“I’m on a Pro Development Cycling team, second year on the team, which is Bissell/ABG/Giant,” Depasse said. “It’s a really cool little development team for Bissell Pro that i’ve had the opportunity to ride for.”
Depasse looks forward to racing some Terre Haute area cyclists in an event he hopes to see grow in the coming years.
“It’s awesome that the cycling community is growing through Jerry Harnack and the rest of the J’s Bike Team,” Depasse said.
“They’ve cultivated a community that’s growing. It’s cool to watch. I got started pretty much when they were starting. When I came home to ride, I could see that group of guys developing.” Depasse was in peak form earlier in the year after helping lead the Cutters to a victory at Little 500. He also won a Pro level criterium in Indianapolis.
“My form from April to June was really good,” Depasse said. “You can’t perform at a high level the entire season, but you can still help your teammates, which is what my role has been the later half of the summer,” Depasse said.
Depasse, along with friend and former classmate at Terre Haute North John Callahan, will be among the racers in the Category 1/2/3/ division that caps off the event. It will be a fast-paced, 60-minute race.
“Criterium are my thing, short punchy sprinter kind of guy. I’m really short with short legs so I can spin them up real fast,” Depasse said.
Callahan races for Team Upland Brewing out of Bloomington. “It seems like a great opportunity for the cycling community to show itself. And a great opportunity for the rest of Terre Haute to get a close look at the growing sport that is cycling,” said Callahan.
“I think it will be a lot of fun. Definitely a highlight of my season being in my hometown.”
Depasse hopes to see Terre Haute embrace this event. The city was host to a large state criterium race 10 years ago that took place downtown. Depasse said many cities have races take place as part of a festival, and this weekend is the Downtown Block Party.
“Maybe in the future, have a festival going on around the bike race,” Depasse said. “Usually Crits are more focused on downtown city centers, this is more of a flow course. Hopefully a good trial run and get more participants. Inaugural races are usually low volume.”
Races begin with the men’s Category 4/5 race at 9 a.m. followed by a men’s masters race, men’s Category 3/4, women’s Category 4, Women’s 1/2/3 and then the men’s 1/2/3.
The race organizer Ethan Page, who is coming off a strong Half Ironman race that qualified him for the nationals in that event next year.
Page started Crossroads Events earlier this year. He is the race director for the Terre Haute Triathlon as well.
“This is just to get it started again, setting the footwork to bring cycling racing back to Terre Haute,” Page said.
“Indianapolis has all kinds of cycling racing. We can attract people from all over the Midwest to race here.”
Page said he had “wonderful help” from Billy Hubbard in the city parks department in preparing for this event and others earlier this year.
“I would like to coordinate better with the city and make the course bigger,” Page said. “The good thing about this course is it’s really easy for spectators to view. Should be exciting. These guys will just fly on this course from 25-30 miles an hour.”
Visit www.cross-roads-events.com for more information. Page will also be organizing the Oberlander 5K run on Sept. 6 that coincides with the Oktoberfest festivities at 9th and Cherry.