Two weeks ago, Durango gained statewide and national attention when the Colorado High School Cycling League’s state championships came to Durango. Our local cycling teams – Durango and Animas high schools – took the top two spots in their division. The same weekend, Fort Lewis College’s mountain bike team earned a second consecutive national title.
If this weren’t enough, the Colorado High School Cycling League plans to bring the state championship event back to Durango Mesa Park in October 2019, and Purgatory Resort will host the 2019 USA Cycling College Mountain Bike National Championships. As quoted in the Herald, it’s a “big cycling hootenanny.”
If the confluence of all of these bicycle successes do not shout that Durango has re-captured or is about to recapture its title as the Mountain Biking Capital of the World, I don’t know what does.
This past Wednesday, local cycling athletes and supporters of all ages, professional and amateur alike, along with coaches and other dignitaries in the bicycling world converged at the Animas City Theatre for a “Cycling Celebration.” The energy, as they say, was palpable.
Interestingly enough, I had just returned the day before from Vail where I had attended the Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference. While there, I participated in a workshop, “Creating Opportunity from Bicycle Tourism.”
In it, the panel asked a simple question: What makes a great cycling destination? They listed the following criteria:
Trails for all abilities and types of riders (road cycling, MTB, bike parks, gravel riders, lift-served or shuttle, etc.)Sustainable single-trackShowcase natural beautySignage and mapsCommunity support and involvementInfluencersSupport from local shopsCyclist-friendly lodgingPhotography and videographyOther amenities (coffee, beer, other activities)Packages, specialsMediaMeasurementDurango and La Plata County can check most or all of those boxes. It appears that the benefits and aims of both tourism and bicycling converge.
We have a natural marriage of an authentic visitor attraction with a special love and support for competitive bicycling found in few other places.
With the collaboration of the bicycling community and the tourism industry, Durango and La Plata County have an almost unlimited attraction potential for cyclists, their families and sports fans from around the world. Look out, Tour de France.
Contact Durango Area Tourism Office Executive Director Frank Lockwood at email@example.com.