Cycling group prepares for Tour de Champaign this weekend

As the only cycling group in the area, Wild Card Cycling ride year-round.

This weekend, some members will be competing in the Tour de Champaign, a bike race with two courses around downtown Champaign and Research Park.

The event is bittersweet, said Karl Crapse, founder and managing director of Wild Card Cycling.

“It is the first race in Champaign in years, but some of us will have to run it and won’t be able to race,” he said.

The group started in November 2007 when Crapse formally named the group Wild Card Cycling.

“We’ve been riding together for much longer than that,” said Larry Fitz of Oakwood, Ill.

The group meets throughout the week for training rides and then travels to races around the region on weekends.