Sunny King Criterium Turns 17

The Sunny King Criterium began in 2002 as Anniston’s signature racing event for professional and amateur road cyclist. Now in its 17th year, the Sunny King Criterium is the opening crit event on USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour.

“The King organization is so proud to be a part of the Sunny King Criterium/Noble Street Festival since its beginning 17 years ago. What started as a local fundraiser has now become a huge community partnership making Anniston and North Alabama the pinnacle for biking in our State,” said Patty King, chairman of the board of Sunny King Automotive Group.

“Relay for Life and other charities continue to benefit. The Sunny King Criterium/Noble Street Festival showcase our incredible natural beauty, as well as the generosity and determination of our amazing community. What can be more rewarding than that?” Ms. King noted. “And one more thing, it is a fun-filled day the entire family can enjoy together.”

Along with a full day of sights, sounds and tastes of the Noble Street Fetival, the Sunny King Crit offers 21 categorized races for various age groups and licensed riders, from juniors to professionals. The course crosses Noble Street, right in the middle of the popular Festival.

Spectators enjoy free admission to the festival and races. Bike races begin at 10 a.m. with junior events and finish under the lights with the pro races.

“Thanks to the economic impact study conducted by Jacksonville State University several years ago, we know that the Alabama Cycling Classic has a significant economic impact, based on lodging stays and the number of people who attend or participate in the event. An estimated 5,000 people attend the event, and a sizable number stay at our local hotels and eat at our area restaurants,” said Linda Hearn, manager of the Calhoun County Area Chamber and Visitors Center.

A portion of proceeds from all bicycle race registration fees will be donated to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life chapter of Calhoun County. Since 2002, more than $120,000 has been raised for cancer research and patient support.

Activities for the entire family take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the Noble Street Festival. Returning for 2019 will be the Taste On Noble, Mad Dash, Sunny King Toyota KidZone, and the YMCA Kids Bicycle Races.

How to enjoy the Criterium:

  • The start/finish line of the Sunny King Criterium will return to 11th and Noble streets in downtown Anniston
  • There are four turns on the one-kilometer course. From the start/finish at 11th and Noble, racers will move in a counter-clockwise direction using Wilmer Ave, 12th St., Moore Ave. and back to 11th
  • There is a sound system all around the course for fans to follow the action of the bike races
    Feel the whirl of wheels as the elite and pro cyclists pedal by, reaching speeds of 35 miles per hour
  • Tail-gaiting, well-behaved dogs (on leashes), coolers, lawn chairs and bicycles are all welcome. There’s plenty of room around the course to watch the action in style
  • Bring a camera. Not only can you take photos as the racers go by, but there is an awards stage set up near the start/finish that is accessible to all fans
  • Bring a Sharpie pen. When the pros are not racing, they are glad to sign autographs for the kids
  • Can’t stay for the full day of racing? No problem. Go to and watch the live stream powered by Alabama Power on any mobile device! Races will be broadcast online for free, from Noon to 9 p.m. with commentary by pro announcer Brad Sohner.