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updated: 7/28/2013 5:40 PM

Hundreds of riders enjoy Winfield Criterium

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  • Danielle Krebs of St. Charles, 12, cheers on the BMX riders Sunday at the 2013 Winfield Criterium at Oakwood Park in Winfield.

       Danielle Krebs of St. Charles, 12, cheers on the BMX riders Sunday at the 2013 Winfield Criterium at Oakwood Park in Winfield.
    Michelle Jay | Staff Photographer

  • Todd Pogreba of Lombard (left) comes in second place in the Category 5 race at the 2013 Winfield Criterium at Oakwood Park on Sunday. Pogreba rides with EMC^2 Team.

       Todd Pogreba of Lombard (left) comes in second place in the Category 5 race at the 2013 Winfield Criterium at Oakwood Park on Sunday. Pogreba rides with EMC^2 Team.
    Michelle Jay | Staff Photographer

  • Riders in the Category 5 race round a corner Sunday at the 2013 Winfield Criterium at Oakwood Park. More than 300 races competed in races at the annual event this year.

       Riders in the Category 5 race round a corner Sunday at the 2013 Winfield Criterium at Oakwood Park. More than 300 races competed in races at the annual event this year.
    Michelle Jay | Staff Photographer

  • Lacy Frydrych of Chicago (sitting) gets jumped over by Lane George of Minneapolis as a part of the BMX show Sunday at the 2013 Winfield Criterium at Oakwood Park.

       Lacy Frydrych of Chicago (sitting) gets jumped over by Lane George of Minneapolis as a part of the BMX show Sunday at the 2013 Winfield Criterium at Oakwood Park.
    Michelle Jay | Staff Photographer

 
 

The annual Winfield Criterium rode through town Saturday and Sunday, sending cyclists from all over the region through neighborhood streets on the village's north side.

Organizers estimated that between 300 and 400 riders participated in the criterium, a bicycle-racing event that included courses of .9 miles and 1.25 miles. Riders were grouped according to age and skill levels.

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In addition to the races, the Winfield Criterium featured children's activities, a mayor's race on Saturday and a BMX show both days. The event, now in its 14th year, has become a Winfield community tradition, organizers said.

"The residents who live close to the race really come out and support it," said Gary Bernard, a member of Advocates of the Winfield Riverwalk, one of the agencies that helped organize the criterium. "You see people having barbecues and parties on race day."

In past years, the Winfield Criterium was held on different sides of town during its two days. This year, because of road construction, all races were held near Oakwood Park on the north end. Bernard said that was likely a factor in the lighter-than-usual turnout on Sunday, which is when the races normally would have been held on the south side of the village.

"It's too bad it worked out this way, but overall it's gone very well this weekend," he said. "Yesterday, there were people out everywhere."

Meghan O'Reilly, a 15-year-old cyclist from Hinsdale, took the top spot in the junior women's 15-16 race on Sunday. O'Reilly is a newcomer to cycling, having just taken up the sport a couple of months ago.

"I'm really happy about how I did," O'Reilly said after receiving her championship medal. "Parts of it were hard -- I didn't realize that the course would be that hilly."

When asked if she would ride in criterium races in the future, O'Reilly didn't hesitate.

"Of course!" she said.

Brian Dunlavy, a 42-year-old Arlington Heights native who now lives in Richmond, won his age group in a Sunday Category 5 race.

"It feels great," he said afterward. "I also raced yesterday and didn't do well, so I didn't know how today would go."

Dunlavy has been cycling for three years and racing for two. A former football player at St. Viator High School, Dunlavy said cycling satisfies his itch to compete.

"This is one of the best racing scenes in the country, right here," he said. "Between Chicago and Milwaukee, there are so many races to take part in. I try to do one almost every weekend."

Proceeds from the criterium will be donated to Advocates of the Winfield Riverwalk, a not-for-profit group raising money for construction of a riverwalk in downtown Winfield, part of a larger effort to enhance the town center.

Results of the weekend's races can be found at winfieldcriterium.com.

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