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Marymoor Grand Prix set for July 25-26 at velodrome
Next weekend, cyclists and enthusiasts alike will gather just outside of Redmond for the 2014 Marymoor Grand Prix.
As the premier event for the Marymoor Velodrome Association (MVA), the grand prix has grown to attract elite cyclists from throughout the region and country as well as those from around the world.
Annette Williams, an MVA board member, said some of the international cyclists at this year's event will include the Columbian national team and cyclists from Nicaragua and Canada.
The event will take place at 7 p.m. July 25-26 at the velodrome at Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy N.E. in King County outside of Redmond. Admission is $5 and free for kids younger than 16.
The grand prix features a number of races all at one skill level — elite — split into two categories: male and female cyclists.
This year's total cash purse is $10,000, with first-place prizes ranging anywhere between $200-$250. Williams said the cash prizes are how they are able to attract more competitors from outside of the region.
"If they think they can win a couple races, then they can get their airfare back," she said.
Williams said one of her favorite things about the grand prix is exposing cyclists to their peers from around the world.
She added that the cash prizes for both men and women competing in the races are equal, which is unusual as men typically earn more in races.
"We have always provided equal prize money for men and women," she said, adding that last year's grand prix actually had more female competitors than male.
One of the female competitors last year was Sarah Hammer (above), who — alongside Eastside native Jennie Reed and their teammates Dotsie Bausch and Lauren Tomayo — won the silver medal in the inaugural Women's Team Pursuit event at the London Olympic Games in 2012.
At last year's grand prix, Hammer set a track record in the 3K Pursuit event, which had been standing since 1985. The previous record holder was Rebecca Twigg.
In addition to the races, Williams said there will also be a Kiddie Kilo each evening so youngsters can join in on the fun.
The grand prix will also have a beer and wine garden with beer from Redmond-based Mac & Jack's Brewery and wine from O&S Winery in Seattle. Food trucks from the Seattle Biscuit Company, Mad Dawg Hotdogs, Wicked Pies and Motofish Coffee will also be parked onsite. And for the first year, the grand prix will have a number of booths set up onsite featuring local businesses.
With the athletic event being outdoors with views of Mt. Rainier and so much going on, Williams said it is a great summer activity for all ages.
"It's such a great environment for families," Williams said.