CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s just about two weeks away until thousands of cyclists and fans hit the Capital City.

Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Tim Brady told 580 WCHS that they are working hard to prepare for the first-of-its-kind event to the area, the USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships.

For six-days, May 14–19, various routes will be opened up throughout the city to welcome in professional and up-and-coming athletes from across the country and around the world to make their mark in the pro cycling industry, with some even vying for a spot in the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics.

Brady said the main aspect of what the prep work has entailed has been finding enough volunteers to help monitor the crowds along the race routes.

Tim Brady

He said the volunteers will be known as Course Marshals and they will be placed throughout the race course routes during the week of the event. Brady said their sole role will essentially be maintaining a safe environment for everyone involved.

“The Course Marshals will help to block intersections to make sure no one is trying to cross the street when the race is coming through, they will be at certain points where vehicular traffic is blocked and make sure people don’t try to drive out on the course,” Brady said.

The race will take place across four different categories: Time Trials on Tuesday, May 14 and Wednesday, May 15; the Criterium, Thursday, May 16 and Friday, May 17; and the U23 and Elite Road Races on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19.

Brady said each race will begin and end at Haddad Riverfront Park along the Kanawha Boulevard.

The Time Trials, while they are the Olympic-qualifying race, will just make a circle from the boulevard to Patrick Street, Daniel Boone Park and back, with each participant racing against the clock.

The Criterium will be a little more in-depth course, making its way throughout the downtown district of Charleston, but the biggest, most challenging event will be the 13-mile weekend Elite Road Races.

For its course, competitors will go across the South Side Bridge, and ride up Bridge Road and down Louden Heights and back to the boulevard. They will then make their way to Wertz Avenue, then onto Oakridge Drive and Greenbrier Street before once again returning to the boulevard.

The U23 category will make the same route but without the Bridge Road, Loudon Heights portion.

Brady said this event is going to have a huge impact on the city, from the thousands of visitors it will welcome in for the week, to helping to raise the city’s profile as a cycling destination, and volunteers will get a chance to play a big part in that.

“To me, volunteering is a point of community pride,” Brady said. “We want to show Charleston in the best possible light, we want everybody that comes to enjoy themselves, have a great time and see great cycling, and those volunteers are a key component to that.”

Brady said they will also need spectators to help in supporting the participants and the race, as well.

He said the Road Races, with similarities to the Tour de France, will be the primetime to come out and watch the event.

Brady said the main areas to watch from are City Center at Slack Plaza, the Shops at Bridge Road, and the start and finish line at Haddad Park.

He added that any of the climbs and decent areas will also be an exciting place to watch– such as the Bridge Road climb and the Loudon Heights decent, and the Wertz Avenue climb decending down Oakridge and Greenbrier. Brady encourages people who live in those areas to really show their support.

“Decorate your yard, invite your friends over, decorate your house, be a part of the event, contribute to the environment that we’re creating for the cyclists and fans when they come to town,” he said.

Detours will be in place for every race route.

Brady said the main areas of concern for traffic jams are the weekend race courses, but he said rolling closures in those areas will help traffic flow smoother and should only hold drivers up for a few minutes as the race passes through.

“If you think about it, with Bridge Road and Loudon Heights, when the race is on that side of the river we can flow traffic on the Wertz, Oakridge, Greenbrier side and then vice-versa, so while there will be some closures and there will be some delays, there won’t be as many hard closures that I think people are worried about,” Brady said.

Those interested in being a Course Marshal volunteer for the event can register here. You can also visit USA Cycling to learn more about the event, as a whole.