The Sequoia Cycling Classic Criterium is back for a second year in a row and has partnered with Fresno-based nonprofit Off The Front Omnium to make this year’s event bigger.
The Classic will take place May 28-29 (Memorial Day weekend), starting with two races in Fresno on Saturday, before going to Visalia for the main event Sunday.
Saturday’s races include a 1.9-mile circuit race and a 1.2-mile uphill time trial held inside the Granville Homes Ventana Hills community on Auberry Road.
The courses were designed by OTF Omnium race director Steve Grusis, who joined forces with the Budweiser Sequoia Classic to create a series of races expected to draw hundreds of cyclists. Last year, the Sequoia Classic had more than 330 riders, and the coupling with OTF is only expected to draw even more for the holiday weekend, Grusis said.
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Sunday’s criterium is a 0.7-mile counter-clockwise course starting in front of Visalia City Hall at Acequia Avenue. The criterium will have 11 separate races, including a free kids race.
Pro races begin at 3:05 p.m. with the women and the men following at 4:15. The first race begins at 8 a.m. with the Elite 5 category event. Each race offers cash prizes and there is a $12,000 total cash purse for the three-stage event.
To register for a race or the full omnium, visit bikereg.com/otf-omnium-registration. Online registration closes on Thursday, May 26, at 11:55 p.m.
BioBlitz – Be a “citizen scientist” at Sequoia and Kings Canyon on Saturday, as the national parks celebrate the Centennial BioBlitz. Participants ages 5 to adult are invited for a treasure hunt alongside park rangers, scientists and other park staff as they observe, photograph, capture/release and otherwise discover critters and plants in the park.
Groups will gather at the parking areas of the Potwisha and Lodgepole campgrounds, Moro Rock, Hospital Rock and the Ash Mountain Recreation Hall starting at 9 a.m. Survey targets include butterflies, reptiles and amphibians, plants and raptors. There is also a 7-10 p.m. session to survey bats and owls.
Each survey site has space for 20 people. Sign up at exploresequoiakingscanyon.com/centennial-blitz.html. The BioBlitz is a free event for the public. Admission to the parks is free, with a printed and signed volunteer agreement that can be downloaded from the website.
▪ Crystal Cave opened Saturday in Sequoia. Tickets for cave tours can be purchased at www.recreation.gov.
▪ The Big Trees Transit and connecting external shuttle will run Friday, May 27, through Sept. 5. The intrapark shuttle travels daily along Grant Grove loop. External shuttle tickets cost $15 and have six stops starting from the central San Joaquin Valley (Fresno Greyhound and Amtrak stations, Fresno State at Shaw and Maple avenues, Fresno Yosemite International airport, Sanger City Hall, Squaw Valley at Clingan’s Junction and Grant Grove Market). From Fresno, the ride takes 2.5 hours. Reservations are required and can be made at www.bigtreestransit.com or by calling 1-800-325-RIDE (7433).
▪ Tioga Road through Yosemite National Park opened to all vehicle traffic Wednesday.
▪ Kaiser Pass Road is expected to open Friday, as will the Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake. The resort’s store will be open for boat rentals and more, but the restaurant won’t be open until Memorial Day weekend.
National Trails Day – The country’s national celebration of trails is set for Saturday, June 4 with events held at Camp Pashayan in Fresno and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
- Camp Pashayan: The Watershed Stewards Program and San Joaquin River Parkway Conservation Trust will lead a team of volunteers to help clean up the river by picking up trash and removing invasive scarlet wisteria. The day will start at 8 a.m. with a nature walk followed by a geocache hunt. Gloves, tools, water and food will be provided.
- Sequoia and Kings Canyon: The parks will be waiving entrance fees for National Trails Day, with ranger-led programs held at Grant Grove, Lodgepole and Giant Forest.