Year after year, cyclists from all over the state of California and elsewhere converge on the city of Dana Point for the annual Dana Point Grand Prix cycling competition. All walks of life, from the top cyclists in the country to amateurs in search of an excellent challenge, eagerly take part in this spectacular event. The Dana Point Grand Prix is held each May in the heart of the downtown area, using the city streets as a competitive yet safe race course.
The Dana Point Grand Prix is an all-day event that offers just about everyone, from amateur riders to professional cyclists, the opportunity to race around the downtown area on what is considered the best race course in America. The six-turn course starts and ends on the Pacific Coast Highway (Del Prado), with a long finish sprint and plenty of wide turns. The event starts with the Category 5/Public race at 7 am, with cycling events hosted for women, kids, and those over the age of 50. Kids from the ages of 4 and 12 can take part in the free youth races sponsored by the Dana Point Community Cycling Foundation. This event gives families and kids the opportunity to engage in a fun activity as well as learn about the healthy and safe aspects of cycling.
USA Cycling named the Dana Point Grand Prix the top-ranked bike race in 2011 after attracting the most licensed racers for a single-day criterium event with 803. The 90-minute pro race is fast and furious, typical of crit racing around tight corners. Speeds will average about 28 mph with top speeds around 38 mph. This race is the one to watch. It starts at 4:10 p.m.
As a part of the Dana Point Grand Prix, sponsor Amgen features the Breakaway from Cancer Walk. The 30-minute walk honors cancer survivors, caregivers, family and advocates of cancer treatment and research. The Breakaway from Cancer Walk occurs just before the Amgen Pro 1 NCC race,
the last event of the Dana Point Grand Prix. This spectacular professional race pits seasoned pro criterium cyclists against one another for all-cash prize purses of up to $15,000.
In 2007, Executive Director Russell Ames approached city officials with a unique five-year business plan, one that quickly led to the Dana Point Grand Prix. The cycling event was billed as one that would not only bring the community together but also eventually become a top one-day criterium in the nation. From the event’s humble beginnings on a course dubbed “dead-man’s alley,” the Dana Point Grand Prix grew into a major event with an estimated 12,000 spectators.
The race isn’t the only event that spectators can look forward to. The race itself serves as a scenic backdrop to an all-day festival that features great food, live entertainment, a specially designed kid’s zone and a beer garden. With both the race and the festival located within the heart of the downtown area, residents and travelers have a spectacular opportunity to engage in the many festivities available.
Brad Huff of Jelly Belly p/b Kenda enjoyed a well-deserved spot on the winner’s podium at last year’s race, coming out ahead of riders Devan Dunn of Cash Call Mortgage Cycling and former U.S. pro criterium champion Rahssan Bahati of Pista Palace. Dunn broke out of the pack in the last three laps, before being overcome by a late-breaking effort by Huff during the last few hundred meters of the event. Bahati enjoyed a second-place finish while Dunn sunk back into ninth place.