Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Fitchburg Longsjo Classic

Fitchburg has a lot of problems. Nobody really disputes that. However, it also has one thing that very few communities have, and that's one hell of an impressive bike race.

The Fitchburg Longsjo Classic in its current incarnation is a four-day stage race attracting roughly 800 entrants. It's currently in its 48th year, and still going strong. It was started as a memorial to Fitchburg native Art Longsjo, who was a spectacularly talented athlete and the first American ever to compete in the summer and winter Olympics in the same year. (See here for more history on Art Longsjo). The Longsjo Classic is also the second-oldest race in the country and one of the few races to be designated a "classic", and it may be the one thing about Fitchburg that can actually be called "world-renowned".

If you look at the American winners of the Tour de France (easily the most prestigious bike race in the world) you see three American winners: Greg LeMond, Lance Armstrong, and Floyd Landis. All three have raced in Fitchburg. LeMond raced here as a Junior (under 18), Armstrong actually won the race spectacularly in 1992 (pre-cancer), and Landis was here a couple of years that I'm too lazy to look up.

Actually, if you look at pretty much any international-caliber American cyclist you'll find that at some point they probably raced in Fitchburg. It extends beyond Americans, as well. Fitchburg has been host to Olympians and world champions from across the globe. We've hosted teams from New Zealand, Australia, Norway, the Bahamas, Canada, Switzerland, and numerous other countries. In any given year, there are probably 15-20 different countries represented (though not all by formal teams).

In short, it's a hell of a race, and something that people in Fitchburg should be proud of. It's also going on right now and runs through Sunday. Visit for more information if you're interested. This is something that definitely deserves everyone's support.


Anonymous said...

My dream for Longsjo Sunday would include:
Family entertainment, activities. We have a good start with Donna Featherstone's ballon sculptures and the Waste Management recycle toss but we can probably do more, and we'll need to as the 50th gets closer.

Longsjo is a magical weekend in this city and I'm always pleased to see the local turnout as well as out-of-towners.....

I enjoy your page!

Anonymous said...

I did a search on Ted DeSalvatore and came across the blog.