Opinion » The Mailbox

An Open Letter to the Community

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As many of you are already aware, two of the country's largest bicycle races will be held in Bend over the next two weeks beginning with the 30th Annual Cascade Cycling Classic, which starts on Tuesday, July 21, and continues through Sunday, July 26. Immediately following the Cascade Cycling Classic, Bend will play host to the USA Cycling Elite/U23/Junior National Road Cycling Championships, which run from July 27 through August 2.

Together, these events are expected to bring more than 1,700 participants and more than 5,000 total visitors from every state in the country. The economic impact of these two events, including lodging, dining, shopping, and entertainment, is anticipated to exceed $3 million.

This means many things to Bend, including significant economic stimulus while the tourism industry continues to struggle nationwide, and an opportunity to put our best foot forward as a community at a time when media across the country seem intent on painting a dire picture of our local economy.

It also means there will be an unusually large number of cyclists riding on the roads in and around town. Each of us can do our part to make their visit a memorable one by simply being aware of their presence, giving them a little extra room on the road, and thanking them for choosing to spend their discretionary time and money here in Bend.

There are few, if any places that are better to call home than Bend, and we are all fortunate to be able to do so. Over the next two weeks, residents from every U.S. state will be here for these races, and we have the opportunity to showcase to the entire country the charm and hospitality that also makes Bend an equally appealing destination to visit.

So please join me in welcoming the participants, spectators and support staff of both races to Bend, and in wishing all racers the best of luck during the upcoming competitions.

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