Carb-loading for El Tour boosts local economy

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 11:04 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The big race for El Tour de Tucson kicks off at 7 a.m. on Saturday. And to prepare for the miles ahead, riders are hitting restaurants to load up on carbs for the race ahead.

It’s a win-win situation: energy for athletes and extra business for restauranteurs.

Before every race, cyclist Raul Romero eats a hearty plate of carbs. He has been bike riding for almost six years, and this is his fourth time returning to El Tour.

“I haven’t been riding for that long,” he said. “Prior to that, I did a lot of running, I was an endurance runner, so it wasn’t too much of a transition.”

Whether running or cycling, Romero always makes sure to pack in as much nutrition as possible.

“Typically I would start carb-loading a couple days prior; this is not too long of a race, so 24 hours prior, I would start carb-loading.”

With racers reaping the benefits of a good plate of pasta and a boost in nutrition, local restaurants are also seeing a boost in business.

Just last year, El Tour brought in over 1.2 million dollars in spending due to all the extra visitors coming to the Old Pueblo.

This year is no different.

“Right now is prime time,” said Jennifer McDaniel. She is the general manager for Caruso’s, a local Italian restaurant where many cyclists visit before El Tour.

“They called us all day yesterday and today, trying to get reservations. Some of them have gotten lucky, some haven’t. We try to accommodate as many as we can, but they definitely call and get in when they can to get that carb load up.”

After a plate full of delicious food, bikers are heading to rest for the race, which will kick off at 7 a.m. on Saturday.

Our 13 News team will be on the field to cover the event.

Be sure to subscribe to the 13 News YouTube channel: