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Despite rain and cold weather, cyclists gathered in downtown Iowa City for the Old Capitol Criterium to race and honor the founders.

Forty years ago, Bill Casey and Dan Nidey wanted to create a race for their two friends training for the
Olympics, and Nidey said they knew Iowa City had to be the location. (Disclosure: Casey has worked as the Daily Iowan publisher for many decades.)

“We really wanted to see a bike race in Iowa City,” Nidey said. “There were other bike races around in Iowa, but we felt Iowa City would be the perfect place.”

Nidey said starting and running the race, which is sponsored by River Products, took a long time and a lot of great volunteers.

“We tried and failed in 1976 [to create the race],” Casey said. “But we came back and got it done in 1977.”

Nidey said the two designed the course to be challenging for riders and downtown so the public could watch. They rode the course many times, trying to perfect it.

The route now begins at the intersection of Clinton Street and Washington Street, to Madison Street, to Jefferson Street, to Dubuque Street, and back down Washington Street. Different races cycle the route various times.

“Fast straight away, sweeping corners, really steep hill,” Nidey said. “We knew it was going to be a good course.”


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