Racing cyclists rolling through the River City delights, frustrates

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) –Rolling through the River City might be tough this weekend.

Roadblocks, traffic cones and detours will be the norm as the USA Cycling Collegiate Road Championships opens Friday for the three day event.

More than 400 cyclists from 46 states are racing through Richmond. This will be a precursor to the Road World Championship in September of 2015.

“We would like to thank the people of Richmond for welcoming us as we bring cycling from the backyard to the front yard on this center stage,” says Steve Johnson with USA Cycling.

Several workers in downtown Richmond spent their lunch hour watching the cyclists race by.

Billy Nguyen took more than 7,000 photos of the racers. “This is great. I love cycling. Plus, it gives me a chance to practice my photography skills.”

George Gagnon says, “This will reflect well on Richmond. It will expose a lot of people to cycling in America.”

While most people were excited about the races some business owners say the race is leaving them in the red.

Natalie Gordon owns Avenue 42 Studio on a stretch of East Main Street closed for the race. Normally she would have 40-50 customers on a Friday. On this day she had eight.

“It is like a ghost town. It is tough to have an event downtown and overcome it on a weekday,” says Gordon.

This race is a precursor to the 2015 UCI Championship races, a chance to work out the kinks ahead of a massive event.

The mayor’s office said they will have a debrief after this three-day event concludes, to see what worked and what didn’t.

The closures will run throughout the weekend. A full list, with maps, is available here.