Chattanooga: A World Class City
Chattanooga was in the national spotlight Memorial Day Weekend as the US Cycling Championship descended upon the city. Cycling enthusiasts lined the streets as US professional cycling athletes battled it out on the course to be crowned 2013 National Champions. This was a year of firsts: first of three years the event will be held in the Scenic City, first time the men and women raced on the same day and on the same course.
Mayor Andy Berke declared the USPRO “a world class event with world class sponsors”, and Chattanooga “a world class city.” US Rep Chuck Fleischmann referred to Chattanooga as “the greatest mid-sized city in America.
USPRO Cycling Championship: A World Class Event
The event, which was broadcast live via Tour Tracker and, in part, on Universal Sports, featured the professional women racing on the same weekend on the same course as the professional men for the first time in the event’s 29-year history. According to estimates by the Chattanooga Police Department, crowds along the course totaled between 25,000 and 30,000 people.
The course showcased downtown Chattanooga along with the tough climb up Lookout Mountain. The men’s and women’s races started with a 5.1-mile start circuit — one circuit for the women and three for the men. The same circuit would be used for three final circuits for each group at the finish of the race. The course then took the riders on a relatively flat run along Broad Street to begin the climb up Ochs Highway, a climb of approximately three miles, which gained 1,150 feet of elevation on each lap. The race topped out at the summit of Lookout Mountain and descended on Scenic Highway to return to downtown via Broad Street. The men completed four laps up the climb, while the women did two laps. The “long lap” spanned 16.1 miles in distance.
Race organizers, out-of-town visitors and the cyclists all praised Chattanooga for its “electric environment”. The consensus among the cyclists was they were “really happy the way things came together”.
US Cycling’s CEO Steve Johnson believed Chattanooga was going to be big which is why they made a three year commitment to hold the US Championships here in the Scenic City. Enthusiasm ran high as the emcee declared this year’s event “the best US Pro Race” they’ve ever had.
Enough can’t be said about Volkswagen’s sponsorship that helped cement the three year deal between US Cycling and Chattanooga. Their #ThinkBlue campaign complimented the eco-friendly environment that the Scenic City has worked hard to project. There’s little doubt the collaboration at work between the VW, Outdoor Chattanooga and local law enforcement culminated into a fantastic event that showcased Chattanooga spectacularly.