Tour of Walla Walla bike races just around the bend

The annual tour of Walla Walla gets under way in the Waitsburg area Friday afternoon.

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The Tour of Walla Walla takes to the streets of Walla Walla as Criterium Category 4 Women racers speed past the old Liberty Theater during Saturday afternoon racing.

WALLA WALLA -- Bicycle races are coming our way.

The annual Tour of Walla Walla will be in and around Walla Walla and elsewhere starting Friday, so motorists will need to be on guard for traffic interruptions.

According to organizers, the races on Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and Sunday should not cause any major delays. Races on Saturday afternoon and evening in Walla Walla will cause some traffic diversions due to streets being closed.

During the Friday and Sunday races, traffic in the lane being used by bicyclists may be asked by a sheriff's deputy to pull over to the shoulder and wait until racers pass. One group has permission to use both sides of the road.

Free bicycle races for children younger than 10 years old will be at 1 p.m. Saturday in downtown Walla Walla. Helmets are required and a parent or guardian must provide a signature for a child to ride. Bicycles must be in safe operating condition with working brakes and secure handlebars. Participants should come to Spokane Street between Rose and Main streets by 12:15 p.m.

A full schedule will be posted in various locations downtown and is available at Allegro Cyclery, 200 E. Main St.

Information is available from Allegro Cyclery, 525-4949, during shop hours.

Tour of Walla Walla: www.tofww.org

Race Schedule

Race routes and times for this year's Tour of Walla Walla:

FRIDAY -- Races will begin in Waitsburg and follow Coppei Avenue, Middle Waitsburg Road, Ferris Road and Lower Waitsburg Road. Racers will continue on Highway 124 over to Bolles Road, and then return to the city along Main Street, Eighth Street and Coppei Avenue.

Racing will begin about 3:30 p.m. and finish at approximately 7 p.m. There will be three groups competing in separate races but riding simultaneously.

SATURDAY MORNING -- Cyclists will be on Isaacs Avenue at Walla Walla Community College, on Mill Creek, Five Mile and Russell Creek roads and on Berney Drive. The racers will be on the road from 6:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.

LATER SATURDAY -- Roads in downtown Walla Walla will be closed to traffic and parking from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for a closed-circuit race. Shoppers may cross the course to get to parking lots between races, but there may be some delays.

Roads closed for racing will be Main Street between Second Avenue and Palouse Street and Alder Street between Second Avenue and Park Street. First Avenue and Colville, Spokane and Palouse streets will be closed between Rose and Birch streets. Park Street will be closed between Baker and Alder streets. Poplar Street between Second Avenue and Park will also be closed during that time.

SUNDAY -- Racers will be on roads north and east of Waitsburg. They begin at 10th Street and Coppei Avenue in Waitsburg, then head west on Bolles Road to McKay-Alto Road. The route will then head north to a loop consisting of Whetstone, Thorn Hollow, Eager, Kellogg Hollow and McKay-Alto Roads. Some groups do multiple laps on the loop. The finish line is on McKay-Alto at Lower Whetstone Road. Racing will begin at 8 a.m. and continue through early afternoon.

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