First of five USA Cycling events held in Charleston was a success

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston officials say it was a successful first ride for the around 500 cyclists that took the city by storm over the course of last week.

The USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships wrapped up Sunday for its inaugural year of a five-year stint in the Capital City.

Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Tim Brady told MetroNews that the six-day event, which was held May 14-19 brought in hundreds of athletes and fans from around the country, a projected hundreds of thousands of dollars in economic impact, and two winning cyclists who are now bound for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games.

Brady said eight months of planning and logistics went into hosting the event and the success it brought is only encouragement for next year.

Tim Brady

“You saw tons of community enthusiasm, you saw people really embracing this event, which is great for us because we have it for five years and I think as we look forward to year two, all of this enthusiasm from the community now we have a year to build it and grow it and make it even bigger and better next year.”

Brady said with the chance for some small modifications here and there, ultimately all of the race routes should remain the same for next year, which inluded the focal point being the Kanawha Boulevard, the downtown area, as well as the last two of days of the event being from the Bridge Road area to Greenbrier Street and Oakridge Drive areas.

He said while the road closures had been a main concern for many residents leading up to the event, they found with clear communication and direction, they were not problematic.

“It took a lot of effort by a lot of people but we made it work and I think that people now understand that yes, there’s a lot of street closure when this race is taking place, however, the majority of the time it’s a rolling closure and you can still get to and from just about anywhere in Charleston,” he said.

Brady said while it will still take a couple more weeks to figure up the numbers the race brought in, he said the economic impact it had on the city should be significant.

He said they look into a lot of different data when calculating it including cell phone data and zip codes from credit card transactions, which gives them information on exactly where everyone was coming in from.

He said but by the way the event looked, it had quite the impact.

“Hotels were full, restaurants were running out of food, we estimate a significant economic impact, I’m hesitant to put a number on it until we get all of the data, but you know, you saw big crowds, you saw a lot of people in from out of town,” Brady said.

He said this event was successful due to a collaborative effort from the city and all of its departments, along with Charleston Area Medical Center who covered all of the medical needs of the athletes.

Brady said however, they were a little light on the number of volunteers for the event, and he said next year they hope to be able to recruit more.

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