Ramble On

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Big Impact from Page Valley Cycling

Early this winter, I was visiting Chris and Rob down at the Hawksbill Bicycles shop.  It was around the time that Chris was preparing to give a couple of presentations to the Luray Town Council and the Shenandoah Town Council about the economic benefits that come from Page Valley Cycling events over the course of a year.

I should make a note about community economics for a moment here, as it has been a favorite blog topic in the past.  Page County has an agricultural sector to its economy, an industrial one, and a tourism one.  In the tourism sector, Luray Caverns and Shenandoah National Park are heavyweights, but there is an emerging “active tourism” sector here, anchored by retailers on Main Street and several outdoors outfitters, which partners with groups like Page Valley Cycling.

Looking back on past posts, I’ve written about one of the Page Valley Cycling events before, in August of 2009.  It turns out this race starts at the Hawksbill Recreation Park in Stanley, which is close to Hawksbill Cabin.  We took a walk down to watch the cyclists at the starting line (post linked below).  I also posted about the Luray Caverns CX, which Mary and I missed this year but I am looking forward to next December!

This year, Chris tells me that four events are planned:
  • June 30-July 1: The Luray 200th Anniversary Edition of the Tour of Page County Stage Race
  • July 28:  The Shenandoah Time Trial
  • August 4:  Page Valley Road Race
  • December 9 (tentative):  Luray Caverns CX

Noteworthy is the Tour of Page County Stage Race – this is a new race with three events, and it has the distinction of being Virginia’s only true stage race, according to Chris.  There is a road race, a time trial, and the Luray criterium, and the routes are focused around Luray in commemoration of the town’s 200th anniversary. 

Photo by Major Nelson:  Action at the Luray Caverns CX.
These races have a substantial economic impact and they are all growing in popularity.  About 1,100 racers and friends visit Page County during the events, and the estimated monetary impact is around $80,000 in spending around the county.  The events draw from communities within two to four hours’ driving distance, so there is a high likelihood that our “natural beauty and friendly atmosphere” will bring them back for additional visits during the year. 

Chris reminded me that Wisteria Farm and Vineyard and Page County Grown are race supporters, and their local products are included in the prizes.  Here’s one of those times where the agricultural and tourism sectors come together to make something great.

Here are a couple of URLs to follow-up with: 
I'll revisit this active tourism idea soon with posts about the adventure races and the triathlons.

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