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24-hour endurance bike ride event coming back to GIHP
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The Conyers MainStreet program, Georgia International Horse Park and local promoters are looking to bring back a signature trail-biking event that could potentially attract thousands of participants from across the nation, according to organizers.

The event, a 24-hour endurance bicycle race, had been previously held at the GIHP starting before the Olympics and ran for more than five years, according to Brent Taylor, chair of the Conyers MainStreet Program Committee for Trails and Biking, who spoke to Conyers Downtown Development Authority on Tuesday.

The MainStreet program, while applying for Bicycle Friendly status from the League of American Bicyclists, had been recommended to bring back the event.

Taylor came to the DDA to request a one-time grant of $8,000 for assistance with national marketing for the event.

“If you want to this to be successful and provide hotel revenue, gas revenue, restaurant revenue, you need participants in the thousands, and you’re not going to get that from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia,” said Taylor.

He estimated the event could potentially bring about 3,000 racers, plus their supporters and spectators.

The DDA board granted $5,000 and requested the GIHP reduce the normal steeplechase field fee of $1,500 to $500 plus $1 per participant up to $1,500.

The board also discussed the cost of providing traffic assistance as bicyclists crossed the road in the form of either Conyers police officers or volunteers, and the potential cost of clearing out a tunnel passage, but left that for further discussion with the event organizers and the city.

Taylor said the event was tentatively scheduled for Oct. 8, 2011.


In other DDA business:

The board voted to give a $3,000 grant to the Rockdale Youth Soccer Association for one-time startup costs of bringing a professional league soccer team to Conyers. As previously reported by the News, RYSA is creating a franchise with the National Premier Soccer League on a level reportedly comparable with minor league baseball.

The NPSL currently has 33 teams in seven conferences spanning the country in cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee and Sacramento. The RYSA team will be joining the five-member Southeast Conference, which consists of the Atlanta FC, the Rocket City United in Huntsville, Ala., Chattanooga FC, FC Tulsa and Pumas FC in Birmingham, Ala.

The teams can either be made up of amateurs such as current collegiate players or some players who are paid per game. RYSA is looking to go the former route, giving collegiate players another outlet.

RYSA is looking at using its own fields to house the new team and hoping to start by this summer.