Breckenridge businesses, officials laud Pro Cycling Challenge |

Breckenridge businesses, officials laud Pro Cycling Challenge

Caddie Nath
summit daily news
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge finance director Brian Waldes held up a comment sheet, intended for community feedback on the recent USA Pro Cycling Challenge, which rolled through Breck Aug. 31.

But instead of comments, the submitter had drawn two large overlapping hearts. Inside one were the words ‘Ember and all employees.’ Inside the other, ‘USA Pro Cycling Challenge.’

“This summarizes pretty (well) the results general tenor,” Waldes told the town council of the hearts at a meeting Tuesday night.

The vast majority of the 80 businesses that responded to a town survey on the race’s Stage 5 finish in Breck last month were enthusiastic about the event’s impact on the community and their business, prompting town officials to begin looking toward bringing next year’s race back to town.

“We were tickled to be part of this,” Mayor John Warner said of the race. “This community’s crazy about cycling and it showed. I think we’re all enthusiastic about hosting in the future.”

He went on to suggest the town create a year-round committee of some kind to work on bringing the race back to Breck and ensuring that, if it does return, that future events are as successful as this year’s race finish.

Lodging companies indicated the race spiked business by as much as 63 percent over the same weekend the last two years. Retail saw a 76 percent increase in business this year from Aug. 26-28 in 2009 and 2010 and restaurants in town reported a 39 percent increase due to the race.

Ninety-nine percent of respondents to the town survey said they thought the race had a very positive or somewhat positive impact on the town overall and 67 percent said the event had a very positive or somewhat positive impact on their business. Even those who said the race negatively impacted their business – 12 percent of responders – largely indicated it was good for the town overall.

“This was the biggest ‘wow’ to me since I’ve lived in this community,” Councilman Mark Burke said, summing up the feelings of many in town.

But not everyone was thrilled with the impacts of the race. Road closures following the teams as they passed through the county caused complications for the Breckenridge Golf Club, keeping patrons from being able to come and go freely throughout the day. Some retail stores also failed to see any positive trends in business over the weekend, according to some reports.

Breckenridge hosted the Stage 5 finish – the only Saturday finish – of the seven-day, 500-plus mile bike race through the Rockies, drawing as many as 100,000 people to Summit County. The race will return to Colorado next year from Aug. 20-26 though where the starts and finishes will be located is yet to be determined.

Breckenridge officials and local organizers are in the early stages of looking into bringing the race back again next year.

“We want to make sure that … it really is the right thing to be doing with public dollars,” Breckenridge spokeswoman Kim Dykstra-DiLallo said. “It’s really evaluating the impact and the value of the (race) this year in order to move forward and look at what we want to do next year.”

The town invested somewhere in the neighborhood of $120,000 in the race finish this year, slightly less than the $150,000 initially allocated for the event.

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