High school bike championships return to Eagle this weekend
Last year, when the Colorado High School Cycling League announced Eagle would be host site for the organization’s state championships, locals were alerted that the event would bring quite a few visitors to town.
The event definitely lived up to its billing. When the final tally was announced, the event had attracted 479 competitors along with their family members and support staffs. Even more impactful than the numbers, as a whole, the visitors were high on Eagle.
During the league’s season-ending picnic, the town of Eagle captured a win of its own. Eagle was honored as the top race host community.
“The welcome we have received from the community has been incredible,” said league organizer Kate Rau.
But now it is 2014 and the question is how to top such a successful premier, in an even bigger way. This year organizers believe there will be 600 racers competing in the state championships and hotels in Eagle are already filling up for the weekend ahead.
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“The first year was really great and it was a huge learning experience for us,” said Amy Cassidy, Eagle Marketing and Events coordinator. “But having one under our belts makes planning for this year easier.”
She noted one of the biggest changes for 2014 is that local businesses have a better idea of what to expect when the event comes to town, so this year they are embracing it with even more enthusiasm than they did last year. Cassidy said that like last year, all racers will receive a special Eagle swag bag and noted that local businesses have come up with some great offers and merchandize to include in the giveaway.
“Hopefully this will be a huge economic boost to the community,” said Cassidy.
“Our biggest challenge is the (Eby Creek Road) construction and directing people through that,” Cassidy said. “Luckily though, we now have the pedestrian bridge so people can ride their bikes from the hotels to the event venue.”
Together with the Colorado state championships, this weekend will showcase Eagle to an elite group of cycling enthusiasts. The nine-member board of directors of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association will be holding its fall meeting in Eagle on Saturday, Oct. 18.
“We are talking about some of the biggest names in the cycling industry,” said Cassidy. She noted the NICA board wanted to both take in the Colorado championships and visit Eagle, which received NICA’s Community Impact Award in 2013.
The NICA board meeting is planned Saturday morning at Eagle Town Hall.
Last year’s races provided a lot of drama. The local team — Vail Valley Composite — brought home the state championship title, but a mere 36 points separated them from their Boulder rivals. Look for similar drama for the 2014 event.
“For the overall varsity race, I can’t even tell you how exciting that will be,” said Kate Rau, director of the Colorado High School Cycling League.
Although they competed as a single team last year, this year local riders have been divided into two teams. Both are in the hunt for their respective championships in addition to having a number of riders looking to win individual honors.
“We are super excited to come back to Eagle,” said Rau.
To learn more about the Colorado High School Cycling League including team and rider statistics, visit http://www.coloradomtb.org