I've never raced in a criterium. The repetitive laps and greater odds of crashing in those tight 90-degree corners do not appeal to me. But I've attended a handful, including this weekend's The Matrix Challenge. Since the racers ride multiple laps on a closed course, it's ideal for spectators. (Update: You can catch my photos and a different writeup over at CentralTrack)
The Challenge is held each year in the Wilson Historic District, the home of The Meadows Foundation in downtown Dallas. It's a phenomenal spot with a great park and some of the nicest and oldest homes in the city. There's also an excellent burger spot — Stackhouse Burgers — in the neighborhood. Boasting a solid beer selection (plenty of Rahr and Deep Ellum Brew) and one of the nicest rooftop patios in the city, it's worth checking out. However, the veggie patty was very bland and the sweet potato fries were awfully salty. I still wolfed them down (dude, I was 'ungry); but I will opt for the Grilled Portobello Sandwich and French fries next time.
If a crit sounds like something you'd like to check out, definitely make plans to attend Bike the Bricks on May 25 in McKinney. Set in the square, there are great places to dine and drink while watching the night-time competition. Until then, here are a ton of pics. Enjoy!