A Memorial Day tradition will be back in the Quad Cities. You can catch the 51st Quad Cities Criterium on Monday.
Before the big day, some local families are making sure out-of-town-racers feel at home. While housing the competitors has happened in the past, this is the first year an official program has been put in place.
The program started after the race organizer and his family hosted a team in need, after their accommodations fell through last year.
Having an official “Host family” program this year, makes it easier for riders to get connected with welcoming homes.
Quad Cities Criterium Organizer John Harrington said, “We’re cyclists, so we like to help out other cyclists. And then once we’ve hosted the riders here, then we get to enjoy the races.”
That help comes in the form of air mattresses, pull out couches, hot showers, and a place to make some food. Local families are opening their doors to the criterium racers, making their time in the Quad Cities off their bikes a little more comfortable.
Host Housing Coordinator, Janette Harrington said, “For them to have a home to sleep in, maybe home cooked food, a nice hot shower after the races, that’s really all they’re looking forward to.”
Missey Andrews experienced that same kind of hospitality while she was riding Ragbrai the last seven years. She became a Quad Cities Criterium host this year to pay it forward.
“When I was on Ragbrai we loved the hosts,” said Andrews.
While feeding the racers you’re hosting isn’t required, some host families say it can really make a person feel at home.
Andrews said, “Well, the houses we’ve been to they have fed us[…] they had the whole works for us, and it’s like why? Why are you doing this? this is so nice. And I found that to be much appreciated, and I’d like to, you know, be able to pay that forward.”
Organizers hope the host program can draw even more cyclists to the Quad Cities Criterium.
Janette Harrington said, “Most of these teams don’t have a big budget, so this just kind of helps offset their expense.”
Host families say the best part of giving the competitors a home is having someone to cheer for at the finish line.