Thursday, July 09, 2009

Tour of the Valley highlights gems of the region

this weekend there will be an uber-abundance of activities going on: SlovenFest XVIII with its multi-stage polka blast in Lawrence County PA, GreekFest in downtown Youngstown with its pastries and dancing along Walnut Street, SummerFest of the Arts with its performances and ethnic food on the YSU campus, Forte on the Fifty with its music and fireworks at Stambaugh Stadium, the Smoky Hollow 5K with its perspiration and breakfast near the MVR...

but one new event in particular is tying together the region - both physically and cooperatively - in exciting ways.

The next four days will see the first ever "Tour of the Valley", a multi-day, four-stage bicycle race that is sanctioned by the U.S. Cycling Federation.

the official site is at

In its first year, the event is already the largest multi-stage bicycle race in the state of Ohio.

AND the event is being presented as the first certified “carbon neutral” bike race in the Midwest, reducing energy usage at this event by advising athletes to carpool, recycle, package materials with reusable materials, instituting a litter control program and tire recycling, etc.

with many different levels of competition (you can still sign up for some of the $12,500 in prize money), the race will be jumping all around Mahoning and Columbiana counties and there are multiple places to watch the various components of the race.

The stages/events include:

Thursday July 9th, 5-8pm: meet the racers dinner and wine tasting at Mastropietro Winery in Berlin.

Friday, July 10th, 8am-12pm: a 5.6 mile course over country roads in Berlin Township.

Friday, July 10th, 1pm-6pm: a repeated 1 mile course through Canfield for the timed criterium.

Saturday, July 11th, 8am-3pm: a 66 mile course starting and ending in downtown Columbiana.

Sunday, July 12th, 8am-2:30pm: a repeated 1 mile course through the historical architecture of downtown Youngstown, with restaurants open for breakfast and lunch to watch the cyclists zoom through the city streets at 30mph. Awards ceremonies to follow.

kudos to the folks at Carbon Racing, Energy Detectives, the Mahoning County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the other sponsors for the effort it takes to bring together an event like this.

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