Community benefits from growth of El Tour de Tucson

Community benefits from growth of El Tour de Tucson

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Registration for this year's El Tour de Tucson has topped 7,000 in the main event alone.

The ride's founder, Richard DeBernardis said the event has grown tremendously over the years. The first ride in 1983 had 198 cyclists.

Last year, cyclists raised more than $8.5 million for 48 nonprofit organizations. This year's primary beneficiary is Easter Seals, an agency that helps with physical and emotional health of kids, adults and families.

But it's more than just the beneficiaries that see the benefits of El Tour.

DeBernardis, said the entire community has gained a lot from the growth of this event.

"We have like a $15 to $18 million economic impact on this weekend. That impact is probably multiplied by five times the amount because people are continuing to come back. We need that in our community," he said.

Caruso's, a local restaurant on 4th Avenue, said they always see a spike in business during the week of El Tour de Tucson.

"We're grateful for the business. This time of year is kind of the lull between the summer and the holidays so we're grateful to see the business," said Andrea Motzkin, general manager of Caruso's.

She said they started seeing an increase in cyclists and others in town for El Tour de Tucson coming into the restaurant on Tuesday.

The biggest day for Caruso's is the day before the race as cyclists fuel up.

Motzkin said some customers stop by the restaurant every year when they're in town for El Tour.

As for popular dishes cyclists order, Motzkin said the "carb overload" trend has died down.

"The trend is more about balance. We're seeing a lot of the protein with the carbs together. It used to be no protein was sold the night before," Motzkin said.

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