Photo by Steve Wampler on Flickr.

A criterium is a cycling race held on a closed short course. Unlike the Tour de France, where you stand alongside the road and see all the riders pass by only once, at a criterium you can stand by the road and watch the riders pass by a number of times. You can also easily move to different locations so you can see the riders in turns, on straightaways, and on an upslope. The turns are tight, and you can typically stand very close to the action.

Washington, DC is hosting the the first Capital Criterium next Sunday, September 21 around Pennsylvania Avenue. Here’s a course map with annotations.

I (Michael) will be watching the children’s race at 10:30 and then going to lunch at Gordon Bierch during the Men’s race. If anyone is interested in meeting up at the race, email me

to get my cell; if you want to join for lunch, post a comment so I can arrange the right size table. More details on Infosnack.

Michael Perkins blogs about Metro operations and fares, performance parking, and any other government and economics information he finds on the Web. He lives with his wife and two children in Arlington, Virginia.