Sports Commentary 9/20/13
A Big Cycling Event comes to Hartford this weekend…
THE CYCLE OF HARTFORD
It’s one of those events with family appeal that can become an annual attraction with a year round impact on a city in need of a boost. The first Connecticut Cycling Festival gets underway Sunday morning at eight in downtown Hartford, utilizing what promises to be an exciting eight corner course for seven events, including a “Citizen’s Ride” at 11:30, open to all cyclists of all levels. The festival includes professional and amatuer competitions, the pros competing for $10,000 in prize money. On assuming management of the XL Center over the summer officials of Global Spectrum expressed a determination to transform Hartford’s downtown region, slumbering since the exodus of the Hartford Whalers, into a combined indoor-outdoor mall with events designed to bring a new vitality to the area between the city’s two primary entertainment centers, the XL Center and the Bushnell. With the rapid development of Adriean’s Landing, with a number of restaurants and a theater complex already in place, soon to be joined by the expansion of Infinity Music Hall from Norfolk, a schedule of outdoor activities encompassing the downtown and Bushnell Park districts would pull all three entertainment complexes together. Credit Beth Shluger and her Hartford Marathon committee for their annual contribution to the revitalization of the city, bringing thousands of runners from around the world to experience a weekend in Hartford. Now credit Travelers, Aetna and the Metro Alliance for supporting another event that will turn another fall weekend into a showcase for the city that will impact year round activities beyond the Cycling Festival. While generating excitement within the cycling community, bringing many of the top competitors in the world to Hartford for their own look at the charms of an autumn weekend, the Connecticut Cycling Festival will support the effort to create a high school cylcing league in the state, which, in turn, will give young people the chance to compete on Connecticut’s first junior travel team. The event has already garnered support from some of the top cycling organizations in the country led by such well known figures in the sport as Aidan Charles and Richard Fries. Local celebrities, led by Hartford mayor Pedro Seguerra, are putting their support and time behind the festival to give it a strong sendoff and insure it becomes an annual event. It’s events like these, family friendly with something for everyone at every level, that can become the catalyst for returning a vibrance to downtown Hartford that has been missing far too long. It’s worth your support. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.