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The Armed Forces Cycling Classic returns to Clarendon and Crystal City early next month

Armed Forces Cycling Classic (image via Armed Forces Cycling Classic)

The Armed Forces Cycling Classic is returning to speed around Clarendon and Crystal City for its 25th year early next month.

First beginning in 1998, the annual series of cycling races are set for Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 this year. It features men’s and women’s pro-ams, a kids’ race, and the “Clarendon Cup”, a race that follows a one-kilometer course centered around the Clarendon Metro station.

There will also be the popular “challenge ride” on Saturday morning, where “cycling enthusiasts of all abilities” are invited to bike in what’s thought to be the area’s largest non-competitive ride. The 10-kilometer, closed-to-vehicle-traffic course will take cyclists around the Pentagon, Crystal City, and Rosslyn.

There’s a three-hour time limit and everyone who finishes at least one lap gets at least a bronze medal. Those who finish 6 to 8 laps or more in the three hours will get a silver medal, while those who finish 9 or more will get a gold.

Registration remains open for the challenge race, but organizers told ARLnow they are expecting to sell out this year, with attendance capped at 3,000 riders.

If the race does sell out, that would be about a 25% increase in participation from last year, organizers said.

The pro-am races are “by invite only” with the Clarendon Cup pulling from those races. That’s a 100-kilometer race following a one-kilometer course that loops around the Clarendon Metro station.

“The Clarendon Cup is known as one of the most difficult races of its kind in the U.S. due to the technical demands of the course and the quality of the participants,” the event’s website notes.

Some 140 riders are expected to participate in that race.

“I am very proud to have the Classic stand the test of time, with our 25th Edition”, Armed Forces Cycling Classic founder Rob Laybourn said in a statement. “Cycling as a sport or for leisure continues to grow and evolve in so many ways. We are committed to evolving this event by exposing more folks to cycling as a whole, while contributing positive value to the community as well as the sport.”

The full schedule of the weekend’s events is below.

Armed Forces Cycling Classic weekend schedule of events (image via Armed Forces Cycling Classic)

A number of road closures are planned for the races

While specifics have yet to be released, organizers said the closures are set to be similar to what’s been done over the past 24 years. Course maps show that a large swath of Route 110 will be closed to vehicle traffic from Rosslyn to Pentagon City, in addition to the closure of portions of 12th Street S. and Crystal Drive in Crystal City.

2023 Challenge Ride course at the Armed Forces Cycling Classic (image via Armed Forces Cycling Classic)

As has been the case in recent years, the Armed Forces Cycling Classic will provide support to Tragedy Assistance for Survivors. The Arlington-based organization provides care and resources for those grieving the death of a military or veteran loved one.

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