While the Florida Grand Prix is taking place in St. Petersburg this weekend, there will also be racing on two wheels elsewhere in the area - and it will happen, rain or shine.
There’s a high chance of storms in Winter Haven this Sunday, but that won’t stop bicyclists from competing in the Chain of Lakes Cycling Classic.
The two-day event starts on Saturday at 8 a.m. with a road race and time trials in Fort Meade. That will be followed by high-speed racing in downtown Winter Haven on Sunday, even if it rains.
“The bicyclists only stop riding when there’s thunder and lightning, and they’ll even complain about that,” said Jack Cormier, communication specialist for Visit Central Florida.
The bikers will follow a “see it and flee it rule” - if they see lightning or hear thunder, they’ll stop racing and wait for the bad weather to pass before getting back on the course.
Cormier called the event “NASCAR on bikes” and explained that the cyclists are indeed risk-takers.
“Part of the sport is that the tires will slide out, they’ll jump back up and keep biking in most cases,” he said. “If you’re a NASCAR driver, you have to crash sometimes.”
There will be about 200 cyclists divided into groups. Cormier said about 3,000 spectators are expected Sunday.