written by Troy Oldham, race director, Cache Gran Fondo and Logan City Marathon

You may have seen bicyclists or runners moving through your neighborhood or town, or shuffling between towns and neighborhoods on public streets or trails. You may have heard about the Cache Gran Fondo, the new Logan City Marathon, the Tour of Utah, LOTOJA, or the Top of Utah Half Marathon happening in our Valley again this summer.

Whether your first reaction is “What is this race all about?” or “I wonder if that street will be closed,” it’s highly unlikely the benefits these races bring to Cache Valley are often discussed. Let’s take a minute to ponder some of the benefits these events bring to our community:

New Visitors

Many event participants do not live in Cache Valley. While there are many local runners and bike riders, almost 50 percent of the 1,500 riders from the Cache Gran Fondo are from outside the Valley, for example. These outsiders register for a race, but many also book hotel rooms, eat at local restaurants, shop local stores, buy fuel, and have broken bikes fixed at local bike shops.

Highlight Our Communities

Having these events in Cache Valley means everyone benefits when racers from across the country and world come to Logan. Held in prominent business locations (i.e., Downtown Logan, Logan Regional Hospital, North Logan, and the RSL Training Center), the events create a reason for visitors to participate, watch, support, and enjoy a healthy and festive atmosphere. We work hard to use local vendors for our events. For example, we stuff our support stations with local-purchased food and drink from Lee’s Marketplace, Natural Grocers, Newton Market, Woodward’s in Weston, and Thomas Market in Malad.

Bring People Back

While these events happen only once a year, the events grow and return year after year: 26 years for LOTOJA, 21 years for the Logan City Marathon (previously the Top of Utah), nine years for the Cache Gran Fondo, and the Tour of Utah will make its third appearance this year. Also, riders and runners are active year-round and love to return to discover new locations, multiple challenging routes, great open roads, welcoming locals, and interesting things to do before and after the event.

Free Activity for Locals

All the races are free to watch, and most events have great finish line activities. For example, the venues are held on closed-off city blocks, highlight multiple food vendors (who are open to spectators and finishers alike), and highlight local merchants offering services and products.

World-class Exposure

In 2019, the Cache Gran Fondo will host both the Gran Fondo National Series and the UCI Gran Fondo Worldwide Series, which means people are already planning their summers so they can visit Cache Valley from around the world. It is an honor that our beautiful community has been selected to host these world-class events. We all benefit when visitors experience the many reasons why we love living here, and they benefit when our community shows their hospitality and welcomes them to stay and enjoy what makes Cache Valley such a great place to live and play.