Cycling event has big impact on Rowan

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 5, 2012

By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY — Sarah Kraxberger rides her bike every day and logs 250 miles in a week. The Fayetteville resident has been in Salisbury since Thursday participating in the Giordana Crossroads Classic.
The 5-day bike race is in its fifth year. The events began Wednesday in Concord, including three races in Salisbury, the last one concluding Sunday at City Park.
Last year was the first year Kraxberger, 28, participated in the Crossroads Classic cycle competition.
She competes pretty regularly throughout the spring and summer months, she said.
Kraxberger doesn’t just bike, she cross trains.
“I came from a triathlon background,” she said before competing Sunday.
During triathlons Kraxberger said she can basically keep her own pace, but cycling is a hard sprint.
“It’s 110 percent the whole way,” she said.
Kraxberger didn’t want to travel back and forth to Fayetteville so she stayed in a local hotel.
She’s apart of CatUP Coaching Racing Team out of Apex.
A friend got her into cycling.
It’s anticipated that cyclists like Kraxberger and many other supporters and participants have brought in thousands of dollars to the local economy said James Meacham, executive director of the Salisbury-Rowan County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
Meacham said they’ve projected the total economic impact on spending for the five days to be between $500,000 to $800,000.
The highest rate of participation was Saturday with more than 400 cyclists, family and other supporters who came into Rowan County.
“It’s a very positive event, it not only showcases downtown, but High Rock Lake and City Park,” he said.
Meacham said he is also grateful to the Salisbury Police Department, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, Salisbury Fire and other emergency personnel who provided help in some way throughout the race days.
“We wouldn’t be able to do events such as this,” he said.
Garrett Ingold, 14, of Salisbury, was competing in his first-ever bike race.
He and his father, Dana, have watched cycling competitions before, but Garrett had never participated.
The two have done mountain biking and Garrett has been getting more interested in road biking.
His parents just bought him a new road bicycle in July.
In order to get ready for this race, Garrett found a course similar to the one at City Park.
He mostly rides long distances.
Daniel Reynolds and Conor Schunk, met a cycling camp at Mars Hill College in mid-July. On Saturday Daniel’s father, Gershom, and Conor’s mother, Susan were there to cheer on the boys.
Reynolds said his son not only cycles, but he also is on his high school cross country track team. He just competed Saturday afternoon in a cross country meet and then woke early for the cycle race.
Susan said Conor is on his school’s football team and participates in other sports.
Gershom also cycles and competes.
“The city needs to know we appreciate them,” Gershom said.
He said there have been people who have been inconvenienced, but have been gracious.
“We greatly appreciate it,” he said.
Billie Rogers of Elgin, SC, was at the race to support her husband Rob, who was racing in the Crossroads Classic for the first time.
It was also his first road bike race. Rogers is more into mountain biking, which he’s been doing for about three years.
He rides 40 miles a day and some times twice a day.
“Sometimes he’ll bike for two hours,” Billie said.
The couple’s son, also named Rob, is starting to get interested in cycling.
The group left South Carolina around 4:30 a.m.
A friend of her husband’s got him into cycling and then soon after retired from the sport.
“I’m just dabbling in this,” Rob said of the race.
He’s been off regular training for about six months with a knee injury.
Cornelius resident Davis Mueller, 15, won first place in the juniors division.
Mueller has been road biking since he was nine, said his father, Chris.
Davis cycles about 75 miles a week. He also mixes in some running.
Chris cycled for fitness and to relieve stress and then Davis became interested in the sport.
The Crossroads Classic was Davis’ seventh race.
He said he just tried to keep his speed to 18 to 22 miles per hour.
Neal Boyd, of Charlotte Sports Cycling, which organizes the event, said the turnout is up from years past.
“It’s been a great five days of racing,” he said.
There have been cyclists from as far as California, New York and Texas as well as Cuba and Argentina.
Many cyclists receive travel visas for the year to race, Boyd said.
“We’re excited to be back for the next two years,” he said.
He’s also grateful to the Salisbury Police and the Salisbury-Rowan County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.