UPDATE: Cyclists descend on Scenic City for US Pro Championship - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Cyclists descend on Scenic City for US Pro Championship

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Hundreds of cyclists will visit the scenic city for the USA Cycling Pro National Championship this weekend.

The men and women's pro race is Memorial Day. Channel 3 was  told this will be one of the best places for spectators on Monday. 

At the corner of Market Street and MLK Boulevard, where the start and finish lines will be for the Road Race Championship.

Hundreds of professional athletes will compete and more than 25,000 people will come out to watch them. Channel 3 found out these events come with a big boost for Chattanooga's economy.

"They're staying for the weekend, kind of doing other things in town and staying for the sights and we figure it's about a 5.9 million dollar direct tourist spending," said Micah Rice -VP of National Events, USA Cycling.  

Each year USA Cycling charts the economic impact of the championship races.

Last year close to 6 million dollars was spent in Chattanooga during Memorial Day weekend and this year, Rice is hoping for even more.  

"It seems to just get bigger and bigger every year, so maybe even more this year," said Rice.  

Out of the 25,000 spectators lining the city streets about 40 percent are coming from out of town, paying for more than 4,000 hotel rooms. Even some of the athletes were bragging on the city during the kick-off press conference.

"Honestly of all of the cities I've raced in in the us this is easily one of the top three cities," said OZ Sanchez, Pro Para-Cyclist, Los Angeles, CA.

The pro athletes admit there isn't much free time for them to enjoy the city but when there is, they say you can find them check out the restaurants.  

"The food is awesome, this downtown area is great to hangout we got coffee, dinner, lunch," said Carmen Small, Pro Cyclist, Durango, CO.

This is the third year Chattanooga is hosting the national championships and it might be the last.

The city's contract ends this year and next year's host has not yet been named.  

Chattanooga is one of three cities to be a finalist for the next contract that will go for another three years

of USA Cycling Championships.

Time trials start Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. with the para-cycling time trial championships at the Volkswagen plant.

The men and women's time trial championships will follow.


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Hundreds of cyclists will descend on the Scenic City for the US Pro Cycling Championship this weekend.

Time trials begin Monday, the paracycling road race is Sunday and the men and women's pro race is Memorial Day.

One of the toughest sections of the course includes the steep climb up North Chattanooga's Kent Street.READ MORE | 2015 Volkswagen USA Cycling National ChampionshipsSchedule

Short but steep; painful but practical; frightening but ... fun?

"Kent Street is a lot of fun, especially when you're racing," Stephanie Rynas laughed. "Yes! It's fun."

Professional Cyclist Stephanie Rynas, a member of the local Taco Mamacita racing team, said the 25 percent graded hill is fun.

At least on the first loop.

The pro women will make the climb eight times Monday and the men will do it 11 times.

"Probably the 11th time up the thing, a few folks are going to be like I'm done with this," said Steve Lewis, one of Rynas' coaches, of Echelon Cycling Services. "Physically, that climb can wear on you. Tactically, it has the potential for someone to launch an attack."

Kent Street was added to the course last year. Lewis said its a great vantage point for spectators who line either side of the street.

The men's race is 102.5 miles and the women's is 64.6 miles. The women begin at 9:00am Monday and the men start at 1:30pm.

This is the third year Chattanooga has hosted the elite event, which is expected to draw more than 25,000 spectators.
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